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July 19, 2013

Local judge gives poll worker five-year prison term for voter fraud

A colleague alerted me to this notable sentencing story from the Cincinnati area about a woman who received what seems to be a quite severe sentence for voter fraud.  The piece is headlined "Illegal voter gets 5-year prison term," and here are the details:

Calling her a common criminal who abused her authority as a poll worker by violating the principle of “one person, one vote,” a judge sent Melowese Richardson to prison Wednesday for five years following her illegal voting conviction.

“This is not a little thing. It’s not a minor thing. This is what our country’s based on – free elections,” Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Robert Ruehlman told Richardson.

In a case watched around the country, Richardson was a Hamilton County poll worker from 1998 until her arrest earlier this year when she was charged with eight counts of illegal voting. In May, she accepted a plea deal and was convicted of four counts in exchange for the other four being dismissed.

She was convicted of voting twice in the 2012 election and voting three times – in 2008, 2011 and 2012 – for her sister, Montez Richardson, who has been in a coma since 2003.... Richardson told the judge she was bothered that Amy Searcy, the Board of Elections director, had criticized her moments before the sentencing....

The conservative, outspoken judge responded with scathing comments, blasting Richardson for suggesting she was being prosecuted because she was a black Democrat helping a black Democratic presidential candidate. “It has nothing to do with race. It has nothing to do with politics. It has nothing to do with disrespecting you. You did this to yourself,” Ruehlman told her.

“You’re very selfish, self-centered. I really believe President Obama, if he were asked about this today, he would be appalled. He would not want anybody to cheat to get elected.”

Ruehlman noted that two others convicted of illegal voting before Richardson got much lighter sentences but stressed their cases were different. The judge noted Richardson deserved a prison sentence, which was one year less than the maximum possible, because she has a lengthy criminal record, schemed repeatedly over five years to cast several illegal votes and used her training and expertise as a poll worker to try to evade detection.

“‘I’m Melowese Richardson. I can take the law into my own hands,’” the judge said, mocking what he believes is Richardson’s attitude.

Richardson previously was convicted of threatening to kill a witness in a criminal case against her brother, of stealing, of drunken driving and of beating someone in a bar fight.

Anything short of a prison sentence, Assistant Prosecutor Bill Anderson told the judge, would be an attack on the voting system. As a poll worker, “her job is actually to protect the integrity and sanctity of the voting system,” Anderson said. “(She) is an ideologue who was hell bent on stuffing the ballot box with as many Obama votes as possible.”

Bill Gallagher, Richardson’s lawyer, suspected she would be sent to prison but was surprised by the sentence. “I thought prison was a real possibility because of her record of 25 years ago,” Gallagher said. “I don’t think that the length of it was any where near what we expected.”

July 19, 2013 at 12:11 AM | Permalink

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Comments

very nice comment!

"Anything short of a prison sentence, Assistant Prosecutor Bill Anderson told the judge, would be an attack on the voting system. As a poll worker, “her job is actually to protect the integrity and sanctity of the voting system,” Anderson said."

Now if he'd just get off his ass and use the same ideal when prosecuting lieing cops! and his fellow DA's!

Posted by: rodsmith | Jul 19, 2013 3:51:25 AM

And I do find her comments amazing.

Didn't anyone tell her that in her current position it is best not to do or say anything that could be seen as trying to deflect responsibility for any of the events surrounding the acts she was admitting to having committed?

Posted by: Soronel Haetir | Jul 19, 2013 8:14:59 AM

wonderful news...lets hope more judges sentences illegal voters to similar sentences...we know there are thousands out there...

Posted by: DeanO | Jul 19, 2013 11:08:13 PM

RISK:REWARD

Posted by: Just Plain Jim | Jul 20, 2013 5:00:37 AM

Has anybody heard "The conservative, outspoken" judge's equally harsh criticisms of efforts around the country by Republican governors and legislatures to restrict voting by mostly poor, mostly black and brown, mostly Democratic citizens? No? Neither have I.

Posted by: JohnK | Jul 20, 2013 2:57:56 PM

JohnK,

Even if there were such efforts underway it wouldn't be any business of a judge to make any sort of comment on it without a live case in their court.

Posted by: Soronel Haetir | Jul 20, 2013 3:04:51 PM

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