Politician receives suspended sentence in vote fraud case - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Politician receives suspended sentence in vote fraud case

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    Friday, October 4 2013 3:43 PM EDT2013-10-04 19:43:45 GMT
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Former Bolivar City Council member Brenda Woods was sentenced Tuesday to two years of community corrections for her convictions in March of procuring illegal voters in the city's 2009 municipal elections, Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich said.

MORE: Former Bolivar City Council member convicted for voter fraud

Woods was sentenced to concurrent terms of two years in prison on each of three counts, but McNairy County Circuit Court Judge J. Weber McCraw suspended the sentences.

Community corrections allows a judge to divert a defendant from the prison system and order intensive community-based supervision and treatment provided by agencies that contract with the state.

As a result of her convictions, Woods can no longer vote or run for elected office.

In her trial in March, three witnesses, including two who are related to Woods, said she took them to the polls at separate times to vote for her in early elections in May of 2009 when she was running for mayor of Bolivar and for city council.

The witnesses said they told Woods about their previous felony convictions, but that she assured them they still could vote.

Woods lost the mayor's race, but won the council seat.

A subsequent investigation by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation showed that the three voters had cast their ballots illegally because their voting rights had not been restored.

By law, the three witnesses were granted immunity from prosecution because they testified against Woods in the voter fraud case.

The case was handled by Shelby County assistant district attorneys Kirby Mays and Marques Young. The case was tried in McNairy County after the judge granted a change of venue request from the defense. She was convicted in 2010, but was awarded a new trial on appeal two years later.

In 2011 Woods pleaded guilty to three counts of theft of property under $500 for shoplifting incidents in several stores in Shelby County. She was given suspended sentences of 11 months and 29 days.

Woods also has a pending shoplifting case and a criminal simulation case pending in Madison County.

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