A county Circuit Court judge may have paved the way for an ousted Anne Arundel County Council member who was jailed on tax charges to return to his seat.
On Friday evening, retired Circuit Court Judge Arthur Ahalt issued his written judgment that the bill removing former Councilman Daryl Jones from his seat is null and void because the council improperly removed him.
"He was at all times domiciled in the First Councilmanic District in Anne Arundel County, Maryland," wrote Ahalt. "And further ... Anne Arundel County Council Bill 85-11 is null and void ab initio."
Jones was effectively removed from his council seat in January 2012 by a 6-0 vote after Jones recused himself from the voting session. The council declared Jones' seat vacant on grounds that while incarcerated in South Carolina, serving out a five-month sentence for not filing federal income taxes, Jones would not be living at his residence in the First District.
Jones sued the county after the removal, arguing that his legal residence remained and would remain in Severn—within the First District.
Ahalt's conclusion sides with a June opinion issued by the Maryland Court of Appeals, which voted 4-3 that Jones' removal was "improper" and remanded the case back to the Circuit Court.
The Capital-Gazette reports that County Council Chairman Jerry Walker had no plans to take action at the council's Monday meeting as a result of the judge's conclusion.
Walker told Patch that it's still "too early to say."