Maryland county councilman seeks job back after tax crime time

There's a song that offers up the line, "Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone." This can be a dilemma that many who face criminal tax charges in the Washington, D.C., area may face if they're convicted. It can become especially obvious if a person has never been convicted of any crime previously and winds up going to prison.

Protecting your interests in the face tax fraud or evasion charges is likely to be much more successful if you have the aid of an attorney with experience specific to this area of the law.

This comes to mind because of a story out of Anne Arundel County. According to the Baltimore Sun, there's a dispute under way in that Maryland jurisdiction that has a former county councilman at its center. The dispute is over the definition of residency.

Before he was convicted of one misdemeanor count of failing to pay federal taxes, this wasn't a problem. But then the councilman spent five months in an out-of-state prison. After that, the county council made the call that their fellow public servant was no longer a resident and voted to remove him from office.

The action came despite the fact that at the time there was no ordinance on the books regarding how the council should deal with removing a council member convicted of certain crimes.

The councilman is now fighting to protect his interests and his job. He's asking the Maryland Court of Appeals to reverse the council's vote and reinstate him.

In arguments before the court recently, attorneys for the county defended the council's vote. They said lawmakers were well within their rights to take action that they believed was necessary to uphold the integrity of their body.

It's not clear when the court will issue its ruling. And it's not clear whether a ruling in favor of the ousted councilman will address other aspects of his case, such as salary or benefits.

One of the things the councilman's attorney argued was that unless the court takes this opportunity to set some boundaries, it could open the door for other councils across the state to take action against opponents arbitrarily.

Source: The Baltimore Sun, "Court of Appeals hears arguments as ex-councilman seeks reinstatement," Andrea F. Siegel, Dec. 3, 2012

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