CIBOLO, Texas - In front of a packed crowd, the Cibolo City Council voted to keep Mayor Stan “Stosh” Boyle in office during a special meeting Tuesday night.
The council voted 3-3 on whether Boyle had forfeited his office over a lack of qualifications, with apparent confusion over a legal phrase playing into council members’ decisions. Five votes were needed to remove him from office.
The crowd, some of whom were wearing “#StandWithStosh” T-shirts, broke into cheers and applause when the final vote was cast.
“I’m glad the way it turned out,” Boyle said, taking a break from hugging a line of supporters. “It’s back to business here in the city of Cibolo, and I was just very proud of our community and the way they’ve stood behind me all this way.”
Boyle's qualifications came under fire after District 3 Councilman Brian Byrd revealed the mayor had pleaded guilty and been convicted of a federal felony drug charge in 1998. A federal plea agreement shows Boyle admitted to obtaining "slightly less than 100 grams" of MDA/Ecstasy with the intent to distribute it to others.
Court documents show Boyle was convicted of "conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute" and sentenced to four years of probation.
Byrd contended that Boyle’s conviction made him ineligible to hold office in Texas as the state election code requires a candidate for elected office not have "been finally convicted of a felony from which the person has not been pardoned or otherwise released from the resulting disabilities."
While Boyle did not deny his criminal history or produce any evidence of a pardon during the meeting, he said he believed he had been released from the “resulting disabilities.” When asked after the meeting why he believed that, Boyle said he could not go into further detail.
Confusion over what the “resulting disabilities” line meant appeared to help Boyle pull through, with each of the three dissenting votes citing it as part of their reasoning.
“This law is not finalized. It’s not clear. There is the gray area and in that case ... I had to make the decision I did,” District 1 Councilwoman Jennifer Schultes said after the meeting.
The phrase is not defined in law, and City Attorney Frank Garza said there is confusion over what it means.
Though Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton issued an opinion in May that the restoration of voting rights does not restore a convicted felon’s ability to run for office, Garza noted the opinion is only advisory.
“But there is no case law whatsoever on this issue,” Garza told the council.
A bill to remove the “resulting disabilities” phrase from the election code didn’t pass during the legislative session.
The only thing that could remove Boyle from office now would be a judge’s order, Garza said.
When KSAT asked Byrd if he planned to file a lawsuit in pursuit of such an order, the councilman wouldn’t answer directly, citing the advice of his attorney.
“This isn’t the end. I’ll put it that way,” Byrd said.
Meanwhile, Boyle said he will continue to seek reelection in November.
Garza said it would also take a judge’s order to keep Boyle off the ballot.
However, the mayor still still faces other legal trouble over his past.
Investigators with the Texas Attorney General’s Office say that in his 2017 bid for mayor, Boyle submitted an application for a place on the ballot, which included a sworn statement that "I have not been finally convicted of a felony for which I have not been pardoned or had my full rights of citizenship restored by other official action."
After investigators determined Boyle had not been pardoned for the crime and there was not a "deferred" option in the federal system; they arrested him for tampering with a governmental record, a Class A misdemeanor.
The mayor signed that same document for his 2019 reelection bid, though KSAT has not yet found any record of him being charged for that instance.
Copyright 2019 by KSAT - All rights reserved.