Tue. Apr 23rd, 2024

Texas woman’s prison sentence for attempting to vote illegally is thrown out

By 37ci3 Mar29,2024


The Texas appeals court overturned the woman’s 5-year prison sentence illegal voting On Thursday, the years-long saga that drew national attention came to an end.

It was Crystal Mason was convicted He was sentenced to five years in prison in 2018 after he testified that he did not know he was ineligible to vote because he was convicted of tax fraud in 2011.

In Thursday’s decision to overturn Mason’s conviction, Second Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Wade Birdwell wrote that “a finding that Mason is not credible — and not believing his objection to actual knowledge — is insufficient evidence of guilt.”

Mason testified that while in prison he was not informed that he would not be able to vote after his release, Birdwell detailed. He also “vehemently denied” after reading the provisional ballot endorsements explaining the voting restrictions, according to Birdwell, stating that he did not know he was not allowed to vote because he was under supervision from prison.

Mason’s votes were not counted when officials determined he was ineligible to vote because of a conviction in 2011, the ruling said.

“In the end, the State’s key evidence was Mason’s reading of the words in the statement,” Birdwell said.

“But even if he did read them, even in the context of the remaining evidence in this case, it’s not enough to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he knew he was on supervised release after serving his entire federal sentence. His incarceration disqualified him from voting provisionally,” he said.

The Court of Criminal Appeal has announced it will hear an appeal by Mason, who is out on bail in 2021.

His 2018 sentencing captured the nation’s attention, and so did his critics gathered against the decision of the lower court.



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By 37ci3

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