The Tennessee prosecutor who went after Pamela Moses for alleged voter fraud lost her race Thursday night. Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich was unseated by a progressive challenger Steve Mulroy.
Mulroy had 56.13 percent of the vote, beating Weirich by over 15,000 votes. She has held the seat since 2011. Local community and national progressive groups wanted Weirich gone and found a challenger in Mulroy.
According to the Daily Memphian, Mulroy said he wants to diversify the prosecutor’s office to reflect the large Black population of Memphis better. He also reportedly wants to adopt alternative programs for dealing with juvenile offenders instead of simply charging them as adults. A former criminal defense lawyer and federal prosecutor, Mulroy has served as a county commissioner and law professor at the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law.
Weirich’s defeat comes almost six months after Moses was granted a new trial and close to four months after she declined to recharge the voting rights advocate. Moses was granted a new trial after evidence came to light that the prosecution had previously withheld, showing the probation department’s internal review of the signing of the voting restoration certificate.
Weirich insisted on prosecuting Moses despite an email outlining the probation department’s error and wrong information given. As previously reported by Bolts, Weirich became a symbol of malicious prosecution for going after Moses over a probation officer’s mistake.
Despite Moses’ sincere belief that she was eligible to vote and the complicated rules around rights restoration, Weirich pursued an aggressive prosecution to bolster conservative claims of voter fraud.
Her insistence on being “tough on crime” did little to change the crime rate in the greater Memphis area. The Shelby County prosecutor serves eight-year terms, and in the prior eight years, crime did not budge with Weirich at the helm.
Also, Weirich’s defeat in a “red state” is a resounding victory for people advocating a criminal justice reform agenda. But unlike the recent coverage of the San Francisco, her race has garnered little coverage.
If former San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin’s narrow loss during a recall election sent a message, the larger Shelby County electing a reformer as a prosecutor should also be seen as sending a message.
Moses’s case became a lightning rod for voting rights advocates, particularly those working to restore the rights of formerly incarcerated people, about the persisting inequity in rights restoration.
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