In light of the recent social unrest that is prevalent in the United States and globally, I am reminded of the effort and battles that my forefathers and ancestors endured to allow me to sit behind the desk of the District Attorney for the Fourth District of Mississippi. When you look across our Country, many people are upset, angry and feel a sense of displeasure with our Country.
In times like this, a statement made by Tuskegee Airman Colonel Benjamin O. Davis often comes to mind, “There is no greater conflict within me than how I feel about my country and how my country feels about me?
Student Non-violence Coordinating Committee (SNCC) was founded on the principles of nonviolent social justice with a mind towards gaining voter rights for all people. Somewhere along the way, citizens have lost sight of one of the most important ways that you can impact policy and procedures within your community. VOTE!!!!
For many Americans, they think they have lost this right to vote due to previous transgressions, but they are misinformed. Under the laws of the State of Mississippi, convicted felons maintain the right to vote unless they have been previously convicted of one of the 22 Disenfranchising Crimes. If an individual has been convicted of any crime outside of the enumerated 22, they still maintain the right to vote in the State of Mississippi. This holds true whether the election is for local office, statewide office, or even a national office such as the 2020 Presidential election. The 22 felony convictions for which you lose the right to vote in Mississippi include the following:
2. Armed Robbery
7. Felony Bad Check
8. Felony Shoplifting
12. Obtaining Money or Goods via False Pretenses
15. Receiving Stolen Property
18. Timber Larceny
19. Unlawful Taking of Motor Vehicle
20. Statutory Rape
22. Larceny Under Lease or Rental Agreement
The biggest threat to progress in life is ignorance. I implore all citizens, whether completely law abiding or those that have had previous transgressions to know their rights and not be afraid to stand up for their God given rights in this country.
Beginning on August 1, 2020, you will be able to review and utilize sample documents to expunge any charges, arrests, and in some cases a conviction where the law allows. See msdeltada.com for more details.
Pursuant to Mississippi Code sections 99-15-26 and 99-19-71, defendants can have their records expunged for various reasons. Some of which include being arrested or charged but never convicted; having completed court ordered conditions where the defendant was never adjudicated guilty such as completing a drug court program, a non-adjudication program or a diversion program; or for even having a felony conviction for a crime that is expungable under Mississippi law.
In the State of Mississippi, citizens are allowed expungement of one conviction after five years has passed since being convicted on the condition that all court imposed terms are met and as long as that crime was not one listed in Mississippi Code 99-19-71 (2)(a) which explicitly lists which crimes are not allowed to be expunged under Mississippi law. Those crimes include:
(i) A crime of violence as provided in Section 97-3-2;
(ii) Arson, first degree as provided in Sections 97-17-1 and 97-17-3;
(iii) Trafficking in controlled substances as provided in Section 41-29-139;
(iv) A third, fourth or subsequent offense DUI as provided in Section 63-11- 30(2)(c) and (2)(d);
(v) Felon in possession of a firearm as provided in Section 97-37-5;
(vi) Failure to register as a sex offender as provided in Section 45-33-33;
(vii) Voyeurism as provided in Section 97-29-61;
(viii) Witness intimidation as provided in Section 97-9-113;
(ix) Abuse, neglect or exploitation of a vulnerable person as provided in Section 43-47- 19; or
(x) Embezzlement as provided in Sections 97-11-25 and 97-23-19
On my website, msdeltada.com, you will be able to review the relevant laws and documents necessary to achieve an expungement of their record when allowed under the laws of Mississippi. It is my hope that every citizen who desires to clean their record will do so and that every citizen that desires to vote will do so in every election.
America declared itself an independent nation on July 4, 1776. African Americans were finally notified of their freedom on June 19, 1865 even though the Emancipation Proclamation was signed on January 1, 1863. In 1870, the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guaranteed that no one could be denied or abridged their right to vote by the United States nor any state based on race, color, or previous condition of servitude.
With that said, if any citizen truly wants to be the Change Agent that they consider themselves to be, then they should do what is necessary and exercise their God given right to vote. As Barack Obama stated at the 2016 National Convention, “Don’t Boo, VOTE!”
Contact: W. Dewayne Richardson District Attorney, Fourth Circuit Court District | 662-378-2105