TUSCALOOSA , Ala. (WBRC) - Circuit Judge Robert Vance ruled Thursday the Tuscaloosa City Council candidate and winner in the District 7 election is ineligible to hold the office to which he was elected.
Court records show Cassius Lanier has been convicted of five criminal offenses, including a federal felony and four felonies under Alabama law. As of March 2, 2021, the date of the election, he had not been pardoned for any of these offenses. Lanier received a pardon from the Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Parole only after the election, on April 13, 2021.
Judge Vance ruled because of that reason the election for District 7 of the Tuscaloosa City Council is declared to be void. The vacancy is to be filled in the manner prescribed by law.
Tuscaloosa city councilor for District 7 and the incumbent Sonya McKinstry filed a complaint in Tuscaloosa County Circuit Court saying Lanier was ineligible.
Tuscaloosa City spokesman Richard Rush said, “The city is currently reviewing the judge’s order and the city’s own internal code. We will be providing further guidance later today.”
Lanier said he can run in a special election.
According to Councilwoman McKinstry, with less than a year left in a term the council could have appointed someone but since it’s a full 4-year term they need a special election.
McKinstry said she will run.
Incoming council president Kip Tyner said the new sworn-in council is going call for a special election on May 18. That special election is tentatively set for August 3.
This is a copy of the judge’s final order: