Black Texas Woman Sentenced To 5 Yrs For Voting

Crystal Mason(left) was sentenced to 5 years in prison for voting in Texas

We’ve all heard about or should have heard about by now, the case of a Black Texas woman who was sentenced to five years for voting in the 2016 general election. The woman, Crystal Mason, was on parole after a felony tax fraud conviction at the time she cast her vote. Mason’s defense was that she did not know her felony conviction precluded her from voting–an argument Texas prosecutors totally refused to entertain

Well, according to CNN’s Brianna Keilar, there are two White Texas women who engaged in similar conduct, but only got probation. One of the women apparently voted twice for Trump.

This report by Keilar fits what many in Texas have long thought–that Mason’s Black race had a lot to do with the harsh 5 year sentence she received. Many also believe her prosecution and harsh sentence was intended to scare minorities away from the ballot–a subtle voter suppression tactic if you will.

Mason’s case is yet another illustration of the growing public sentiment that the criminal justice system only “works on” people of color. Yours Truly has raised this issue on several occasions.

The systemic racism that belies the criminal justice system resulting in dramatically different and harsher consequences for people of color is something that has to be addressed. It is quite encouraging to see some Democrats running for President in 2020 addressing criminal justice reform. Almost all the talk about criminal justice reform by Democrats however is centered on uniformed officers on the street–police brutality, profiling etc.

Rarely do they address those that sit on top of the criminal justice system pyramid–prosecutors and judges. We need to have a frank and honest debate about the systemic racism in the criminal justice system and how it affects prosecutorial decisions and sentencing (DAs & Judges).

Bottom line folks, any serious criminal justice reform initiative must address this question; Why are poor people of color more likely to get criminally prosecuted and upon conviction(a near certainty), end up with harsher sentences than their White counterparts for similar conduct? Yeah, that’s for you Kim Kardashian.

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You may reach the author via email at author@grassrootsdempolitics.com or author@emolumentsclause.com

Mnuchin Faces Prison Time For Not Releasing Trump’s Tax Returns

An interesting editorial by a Pulitzer winning journalist David Cay Johnston says there’s a U.S. law currently on the books that exposes Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin , the IRS Commissioner and others to as many as 5 years in prison for failing to release Trump’s tax returns to the various congressional committees requesting them.

The editorial cites 26 U.S. Code § 7214 titled “Offenses by officers and employees of the United States”. Section 7214(a), of this statute says “Any officer or employee of the United States acting in connection with any revenue law of the United States… who with intent to defeat the application of any provision of this title fails to perform any of the duties of his office or employment… shall be dismissed from office or discharged from employment and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than $10,000, or imprisoned not more than 5 years or both.” –see 7214(a)(3)

An even more interesting revelation is that Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and others could still be in legal jeopardy even if they finally decide to furnish Trump’s tax returns to the various congressional committees. This is because a subsection of the same law–7214(a)(4)–makes it criminal for tax officials to conspire or collude to hide tax returns from Congress. Mnuchin is on record as saying his office has been in contact with the White House over Trump’s tax returns. If it can be shown that Mnuchin, the IRS Commissioner or their subordinates conspired with White House officials (including President Trump) to hide the tax returns from Congress, they are in violation of the clear text of 7214 (a)(4).

Bottom line , this is a very important revelation that deserves a lot of mainstream media attention. House Democrats also need to pursue this new avenue brought to light by this Pulitzer winning journalist. Simply put, no stone should be left unturned in the quest for Trump’s tax returns.

For those of you very happy with @Emolclause’s activism don’t shy away from the “tip jar” below on your way out. 

You may reach the author via email at author@grassrootsdempolitics.com or author@emolumentsclause.com