Now here is a prosecutor who is a mega asshole. SEE my Letter to Prosecutor!
Excerpts from the Article:
A North Carolina prosecutor accused of using a racist law to prosecute an African American woman for voter fraud has now doubled the charges against her, the Guardian has learned.
The case involves Lanisha Bratcher, a 32-year-old woman who voted in 2016 while on probation for a felony assault charge (North Carolina prohibits those on felony probation from voting), as the Guardian reported in December. Bratcher says she had no idea she was ineligible to vote, but the district attorney in Hoke county, where Bratcher voted, decided to charge her with a class I felony for voting while serving a criminal sentence. She faced up to 19 months in prison.
The case has been pending since late last year and Bratcher has since begun working at a beauty store and is expecting her third child in December. But in early June, the district attorney’s office brought new charges against Bratcher. Prosecutors told her attorney they intended to dismiss the original charge against her, but provided two new grand jury indictments against Bratcher under a different provision of the same law that makes it a felony to knowingly swear a false statement in an election.
It’s a small tweak that allowed the district attorney to double the charges against Bratcher, who was arrested last year but is out on bond. She was initially just charged with a single felony for illegal voting, but because Bratcher swore she was eligible to vote on both her voter registration and early voting form, the district attorney is now pursuing charges on two felony counts. She now faces a maximum of 19 months in prison for each count, her attorney said, though a judge could sentence her to less or probation of she is convicted.
“It feels like in some ways she’s being punished or targeted for fighting back,” said John Carella, Bratcher’s lawyer. “She’s certainly upset this is still going on. She is trying to move on with her life.”
The original decision to bring voter fraud charges against Bratcher and three other African American people in Hoke county was unusual. Prosecutors across the state chose not to pursue many cases of illegal voting in 2016, a Guardian review of state data last year found. And nearly a year before she was charged, investigators from the state board of elections wrote a letter to the Hoke county district attorney, Kristy Newton, saying that many felons are not told about restrictions on voting that it was possible Bratcher and the three others just made a mistake, according to documents obtained by the Guardian. The investigators told the prosecutor they did not have the resources to investigate the circumstances of Bratcher’s case. Newton, the district attorney, chose to bring the charges anyway. After the charges were announced, mugshots of Bratcher and the other defendants appeared on the local news. One of the three other men has since pleaded guilty, Carella said, and charges against the two other defendants are still pending.
Carella disputed the original charge by arguing that the law prohibiting those with felony convictions from voting was unconstitutional and racist. In a court filing, he noted that North Carolina’s felon disenfranchisement statute dates back to the late 19th century, when white lawmakers used it openly as a tool to disenfranchise African Americans and diminish their political power after the civil war. A North Carolina Democratic handbook from 1898 speaks of rescuing the “white people of the East” from “negro domination”. In 1903, Charles Aycock, the state’s governor, said the solution to the “negro problem” was to “disenfranchise him”.
Since the 19th century, North Carolina lawmakers have adjusted the law, but its core practice of disenfranchising all felons until they finish their sentence remains intact. Of the 441 people with felony convictions the state suspected of voting in 2016, 68% were black. At the end of 2016, African Americans made up 46% of the 52,000 people on parole or probation and 22% of registered voters in the state.
Voters cast their ballots in Charlotte, North Carolina, in 2016. The state’s felon disenfranchisement statute has been used as a tool to prevent African Americans from voting.
“In response to being made aware of the explicitly white supremacist history of the law and the unconstitutional way in which it was applied, the DA decided, rather than to dismiss or back off those charges, to essentially double down with more felonies and try to prevent that history and that unconstitutional challenge from being aired in court,” Carella said.
“The prosecutions serve the same purpose as the original law – to intimidate black voters in North Carolina,” he added.
It’s unclear why the district attorney changed the charges against Bratcher. Michael Hardin, the prosecutor handling the case, declined to comment on the case because it was pending.
The new charges will require prosecutors to show that Bratcher “knowingly” made a false statement about her eligibility to vote. Even though Bratcher says she had no idea she was ineligible, prosecutors could rely on the fact that she signed the voter registration and early voting applications, both of which contain warnings that you cannot vote while serving a felony sentence, Freedman said. Having the documents with Bratcher’s signature, Freedman said, bolsters the prosecution’s case.
Still, Freedman said it was surprising that the prosecutor in the case was continuing to pursue the charges against Bratcher. “Singling somebody out for this does not seem proper. It doesn’t seem like that’s justice,” he said. “I don’t know why the prosecutor is still pursuing this, with everything else going on.”
The new charges against Bratcher were brought amid protests across the country focused on systemic racism after the death of George Floyd. Floyd was born in Hoke county and the district attorney secured the new charges against Bratcher just two days after his family, some of whom still live in North Carolina, held a memorial service there.
“To basically try to silence the argument and increase the punishments and just move ahead with this is just really kind of stunning, that it’s happening right now,” Carella said.
Ken Abraham Letter to Prosecutor – Sent on my CCJ letterhead
To: Ms Kristy Newton – PERSONAL 7/24/20
Hoke County Annex Bldg.
PO Box 668 PO
Raeford, NC 28763
Dear Ms. Newton,
I write to you concerning your prosecution of Ms. Lanisha Bratcher. I simply let you know that most prosecutors in America clearly recognize that you are one who gives the profession a bad name.
You are, in simple English, an asshole. That’s right, an asshole, and a racist one at that.
It was plain to me on day one of my term as a prosecutor that my job was to be fair, to do justice; not just to charge people with crimes, ruin their lives, and lock up people. You miss the point entirely, thus disgracing yourself and your office.
That’s really all I have to say. “Stick that up your butt and smoke it”.
my signature block.