ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — A judge says an ordinance that removed former Anne Arundel County Councilman Daryl Jones from office in 2012 is invalid, and his lawyer says the ruling clears the way for Jones to return to the council.

The Capital of Annapolis reports the ruling from Anne Arundel Circuit Court came Friday.

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The council unanimously voted to remove Jones after he pleaded guilty in federal court to failing to file a tax return. In his plea agreement, Jones acknowledged not filing more than three dozen tax returns between 2002 and 2006.

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He was sentenced to five months in prison and has since paid what he owed.

The council voted to remove Jones on the grounds that he wouldn’t be living in his district while incarcerated. Peter Smith was appointed to fill Jones’ seat. Smith has said he would abide by the court’s decision.

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