Court Battles

Woman given 5 years in prison for voting hits ‘unfair’ system after Felicity Huffman sentencing

Crystal Mason, the black Texas woman sentenced to five years in prison for casting a provisional ballot in the 2016 presidential election, said Felicity Huffman’s 14-day jail sentence in the college admissions bribery scandal illustrates how “unfair” her punishment is.

“I don’t wish this for anyone, but a sentence to 14 days for actual serious fraud just shows how unfair my sentence is. I’m hopeful the Justices will see that under the law, I shouldn’t have been convicted in the first place,” she said in a statement reported by HuffPost.

Huffman, the former “Desperate Housewives” star, pleaded guilty to mail fraud and honest services fraud charges in May after paying an SAT proctor to alter her daughter’s scores. She was sentenced to 14 days in jail on Friday. 
Mason’s story received national attention in the wake of the college admissions bribery scandal, as many argue her sentencing was unfair and those given to celebrities are lenient.
Mason was convicted of casting a provisional ballot in 2016 while she was on supervised release for a 2011 tax fraud conviction. In Texas, convicted felons are not allowed to vote until they finish out their full sentence.{mosads}
Her name was not on a list of registered voters, but an election judge allowed her to cast a provisional ballot instead.
Mason said she did not intentionally break the law and, in fact, she “didn’t even want to go vote”.

“I was happy enough to come home and see my daughter graduate,” she told the Star-Telegram at the time. “My son is about to graduate. Why would I jeopardize that?”

She was sentenced to five years in prison, but faced between 2 and 20 years. 

She is now out of prison on an appeal bond, but the conviction resulted in her losing her job, and her family nearly losing their home to foreclosure. 

“As I depend on others to help me stay afloat with my gofundme account now…I can’t help but to wonder if I had money would this be a topic today,” Mason said in the statement obtained by HuffPost.

Huffman was one of dozens of defendants in the college admissions bribery scandal, called the “largest college admissions scam ever prosecuted by the Department of Justice.” Former “Full House” star Lori Loughlin is also a defendant in the case. 

Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, pleaded not guilty in April. She has yet to be sentenced, and her next court date is set for early October. She faces a sentence of up to 40 years.

Tags criminal justice system Crystal Mason Felicity Huffman Sentencing
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