SEGUIN, Texas – Cibolo Mayor Stan “Stosh” Boyle pleaded guilty to two felony charges Tuesday in exchange for a deal that could allow him to avoid conviction and complete his second term as mayor.
This, despite also acknowledging as part of the deal that he wasn’t eligible under state law to hold the position in the first place because of a federal drug conviction in his 20s.
“I feel like it’s a victory for the community,” Boyle said after his appearance in the 25th District Court in Seguin. “You know, they -- the citizens of Cibolo -- have stood behind us all the way. And you know, we’ve been able to do a lot of great things...and so, you know, we get to move on...I continue to serve as the mayor of Cibolo, and the state can get back to doing state things.”
Boyle was accused of aggravated perjury and tampering with a government document with intent to defraud because of his application for a spot on the ballot in Cibolo’s November 2019 election.
Despite pleading guilty in 1998 to a federal charge of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute M.D.A., or ecstasy, Boyle swore on his application that he had “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.”
The state election code requires a candidate for elected office not to have “been finally convicted of a felony from which the person has not been pardoned or otherwise released from the resulting disabilities.”
The phrase “resulting disabilities” is not defined in law, though. Boyle has previously said he believed he had been released from them, which would have made him eligible to run.
“There’s a lot of work to do with that law,” Boyle said Tuesday.
PLEA DEAL DETAILS
As part of the plea deal with the Attorney General’s Office, though, Boyle had to acknowledge his previous felony conviction barred him from running for office. He must also pay a $2,000 fine and participate in 120 hours of community service.
However, the deferred adjudication he received as part of the deal means he won’t be convicted on the felony charges to which he pleaded, as long as he successfully completes four years of community supervision or possibly less.
Originally, Boyle was not required to plead guilty as part of the deal -- just a no contest, or “nolo contendere,” plea. Though both types of pleas have similar results, Boyle’s attorney said a “no contest” plea could shield against civil cases.
However, Judge Dan Mills, a visiting judge covering the case, said he does not take nolo contendere pleas, and that, based on his conversations, the local judges who recused themselves from the case don’t accept such pleas in felony cases either.
The prosecutor for the Attorney General’s Office also said they would dismiss a separate misdemeanor case of tampering with a governmental record related to Boyle signing the same sworn statement on his 2017 ballot application.
The plea deal requires Boyle to step down as Mayor of Cibolo, but only at the end of the year. That’s more than a month after his term is expected to end, finishing once the city council canvases the votes of the Nov. 8 election.
So, despite having agreed he is ineligible to run for office and having pleaded guilty to charges based on that ineligibility, Boyle will still be allowed to finish his term, rounding out five years in office.
Asked after his court appearance why not step down immediately, Boyle said, “It’s a good question. I don’t really have an answer for that. You know, the real answer is the citizens elected me in, and I’m going to finish the term that they elected me for. They obviously chose to have me represent them, and hopefully I’m doing it in a manner that’s making them proud.”
Since the prosecutor for the Texas Attorney General’s Office, Joshua Somers, appeared in court Tuesday via Zoom, KSAT emailed the agency’s communications team to ask why its plea deal allowed Boyle to stay in office instead of requiring he step down immediately.
As of publication time, the agency had not responded.
GUILTY PLEAS, BUT NOT GUILTY FEELINGS
Boyle told KSAT he does not regret signing either the 2017 or 2019 ballot applications.
“The City of Cibolo, like I said -- the citizens, my family, everybody stuck by us. And you know, it’s...No, there’s no regrets. Look at what we’re doing in the City of Cibolo,” Boyle said.
“I don’t feel guilt or remorse over it,” he said of signing the applications. “You know, I did what my heart told me to do and what I was told at the time.”
Boyle’s issues first came to light in July 2019 after Brian Byrd, who was then the District 3 city councilman, alerted the Secretary of State’s office to Boyle’s 1998 conviction and signature on the 2017 application for a place on the ballot.
That ultimately resulted in Boyle’s arrest on July 26, 2019, three days after he signed the same document for the 2019 election.
Boyle though, did not step down as mayor, and, in August, the city council declined to remove him from office.
He was arrested again in September 2019 for the newer application for a spot on the ballot.
Despite his well-publicized legal issues, voters gave him a second term in November 2019, choosing Boyle over two other candidates.
Byrd was in the courtroom for Boyle’s guilty pleas on Tuesday. He told KSAT afterward the case wasn’t about Boyle’s decades-old conviction. It was “about the lying and deceit that occurred in 2019.”
“Nobody’s debating that Stosh Boyle is a bad guy. Nobody’s saying that he hasn’t tried to do good things for the city of Cibolo. What I’m saying is, is that he was never eligible because of a previous felony conviction,” Byrd said.
“At the end of the day, the behaviors, the lies, the deceit that have taken place undermined the local elections -- the integrity of local elections. And that is the true crime.”
Byrd said he no longer lives in Cibolo because of pressures and threats he received “largely because of this case.”
Byrd and his wife were also part of a group of Cibolo residents who, in 2020, sued the city, Boyle, and several council members in federal court over various allegations, including restrictions of free speech and retaliation.
Federal court records show the parties reached a settlement, and the lawsuit was dismissed in February.