The sentence handed down Tuesday to Brandon Hall demonstrates without a doubt the disparities in the (in)justice system. The 27-year-old from Grand Haven was convicted in November on 10 felony counts of election fraud. This was after admitting that he and a friend conspired to forge countless signatures on the petition to get attorney Chris Houghtaling on the ballot in 2013.
Hall, a young white man, enjoyed his freedom over the past four years, during which he ran for a state House seat and volunteered for Donald Trump's campaign--which has raised more calls for a recount of Michigan's presidential votes. In 2010, Hall was convicted of stealing from a school fundraiser to benefit the American Cancer Society, while serving on the Grand Haven school board.
Yet after admitting to blatantly and intentionally forging signatures on a ballot petition, Hall was sentenced to only 30 days in prison. The Michigan State Police investigator, Lt. Greg Poulson, said he thought Hall's sentence was "appropriate."
In contrast, Rev. Edward Pinkney of Benton Harbor, a Black community organizer for racial and social justice, was convicted of five felony counts of election fraud and sentenced to two-and-a-half to ten years in prison. He maintains his innocence to this day and continues to fight to overturn his conviction. The district, appeals, and supreme courts of Michigan refused all petitions for bond pending appeal for Rev. Pinkney, despite acknowledging that he posed no flight risk whatsoever.
Hall and his friend Zachary Savage (who was not charged in exchange for his testimony) both maintain that the would-be judicial candidate Houghtaling was aware of the forgeries, but Houghtaling has not been charged and continues to practice law in Ottawa County. A commenter wrote: "Houghtaling should be in jail for more than just this one crime, lawyers don't go under oath unfortunately."
For more: Grand Haven Tribune: "Hall Gets 30 Days in Jail"
Grand Haven Tribune: "Jury finds Brandon Hall guilty of election fraud"
Michigan Radio: "After long legal battle, GOP blogger gets 30 days in jail for forging voter signatures"