Special election for Tuscaloosa council seat to be held following ruling against man’s past convictions

Local News

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — A judge ruled against an ex-felon who won a seat on the Tuscaloosa City Council claiming his past convictions disqualified him from running for office.

Circuit Judge Robert S. Vance made the ruling Thursday that Cassius Lanier‘s win for the District 7 council seat on March 2 is now void. Lanier defeated incumbent Sonya McKinstry for the seat.

Lanier, owner of Lanier Automotive in Tuscaloosa, had previously been convicted of one federal felony and four felonies under Alabama law. He received a pardon from the Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Parole on April 13, one month after the election.

McKinstry filed a complaint to the circuit courts after the election to overturn the results. Alabama law prohibits those convicted of felonies from running for public office.

Lanier said he plans to run again in the special election.

“Of course the ruling was disappointing, but you have to respect the judge’s decision and I do plan on appealing,” he said. “But on top of that, I plan on running in the special election and winning again.”

A date for the special election has yet to be determined. The seat will become vacant starting May 17, according to the city of Tuscaloosa.

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