On May 5th, 2015, Attorney Josie Holland filed a notice of intent to withdraw a guilty plea on behalf of Pamela Moses in the 30th District Shelby County Criminal Court. On April, 29th, 2015, Pamela Moses appeared on a number of pretrial motions prepared by the defense. After the motions to dismiss were presented to the court, Prosecutor Bryce Phillips of the District Attorney’s Office, without notice, filed a motion to place Moses on Administrative Segregation, which would have removed her from the jail’s general population (i.e. placed her in solitary confinement). At that time, Moses had been in custody for five months on a bond Judge James Lammey initially set at $500,000.00 for a single indictment. Those charges related to Facebook posts, allegedly written by Moses, advocating for civil rights charges brought against General Sessions Judge Phyllis Gardner. The District Attorney’s Office alleged these Facebook posts constituted stalking and harassment.
Prior to her arrest, Moses sued Gardner in federal court for defamation, slander, and RICO violations per that complaint filed in the United States District Court for the Western District of Tennessee. On March 4, 2015, while in custody, Judge Sheryl H. Lipman granted Moses subject matter jurisdiction. Moses’s arrest for the Facebook charges came only 10 days after Moses filed a petition against the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations (TBI). Beginning December 18, 2014, Moses was held in the county jail for 35 days without arraignment or bond. Grand jury proceedings, which allegedly occurred on the same day that Moses was arrested, included Ryan Fletcher of the TBI who served as both the Shelby County District Attorney’s prosecutor (even though Fletcher is not a licensed attorney) and sole witness for the State of Tennessee.
On February 9, 2015, Moses, shackled and dressed in orange prison garb, appeared before Nashville’s Honorable Senior Judge Paul Summers, former Tennessee Attorney General, who was appointed by the Administrative Office of the Courts. The dispute between Moses and Gardner began when Moses, represented herself and sued Comcast telecommunication provider, in the General Sessions Court of Shelby County. Judge Gardner then requested she preside over the Comcast case. On February 19, 2014, Judge Gardner demanded to see Moses’s driver’s license, which Moses produced. Gardner held Moses in contempt of court without stating the grounds for the contempt and without a hearing. After being held in custody unlawfully, Moses was charged with escape of misdemeanor incarceration 2 days later.
On September 8, 2014, Gardner, filed for an order of protection against Moses, after unsuccessfully battling against Moses in ancillary civil matters. After a series of recusals by local judges, Judge Summers traveled to Memphis for the escape matter and Gardner’s petition for order of protection. At the hearing’s conclusion, Judge Summers dismissed the escape charge for the unnecessary delay caused by the District Attorney’s Office, finding Moses had been prejudiced by the prosecutor’s’ lack of diligence.
Four days after Judge Summer’s dismissals, the District Attorney’s Office indicted Moses for evading arrest. Local judges of Shelby County Criminal Court, Judge Lammey, followed by Judge Lee Coffee, and Judge Robert Carter, recused themselves from the Facebook case. Judges Gardner, Lammey, Coffee, and Carter are all former prosecutors from the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office. Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Sharon Lee appointed Judge Weber J. McCraw of Somerville to preside as special judge over the Facebook case. Judge McCraw reduced Moses’s bail to $205,000.00. Despite the reduction, Moses still could not post bail.
Threatened with solitary confinement and frightened by what Moses views as an abuse of power, she involuntarily pleaded to charges alleged in the Facebook indictment. “I was terrified by the continual abuse of power and lack of due process in Memphis courts. I was retaliated against for my personal beliefs and making valid complaints against judicial and administrative officers. There are others also being held illegally. I am blessed. Each and every day I pray for those individuals, just as I pray for the government officials who brought false criminal charges against me for exercising my First Amendment rights. Memphis has terrible injustices, but I know God will right all wrongs. I know he will protect those who choose to help me fight these injustices,” Moses stated upon release. The Court of Criminal Appeals recently overturned convictions of Ashley Wheeler for prosecutorial misconduct involving District Attorney Amy Weirich and Bryce Phillips. As stated previously, Phillips now leads the charge on the Facebook prosecution against Moses.
Moses seeks to withdraw her plea based in part upon the improper coercion brought upon by the District Attorney’s threat of solitary confinement and confusion. When Moses pleaded, she was not aware, nor informed by the court, that her plea might affect her pending federal litigation. “I just want to be free and treated fairly,” Moses said. A press conference is scheduled, pending a hearing on the withdrawal of the plea.
For Release 9:00 am CST, May 15, 2015