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Libertarians call for end to “civil rights violations” against Lee County candidate

Lee County Commission candidate Lance Farrar said he is being unfairly blocked from attending commission meetings.

The Libertarian Party of Alabama is back on the ballot after 20 years. Alabama Libertarian Party

The Libertarian Party is calling on a Lee County judge to “end the egregious civil rights violations and discriminatory treatment” of one if its candidates for a Lee County Commission seat.

Lance Farrar is running as the Libertarian for Lee County Commissioner in District 4, which is currently held by Commissioner Robert Ham. 

On October 13, 2020, Farrar spoke out during a Lee County Commission meeting, prompting a sheriff’s deputy to remove him from the building. Farrar spoke out to call certain comments made by Lee County Revenue Commissioner referring to property tax notices as “love letters” and joking about using a dog to enforce masking compliance at the courthouse.

When Ham asks if the commission has any further discussion, Farrar can be heard saying “I have further discussion …” before beginning to criticize the comments and the commissioners’ laughter and calling them shameful.

“He needs to be put in jail,” Ham said as Farrar was removed from the premises.

Judge Russell K. Bush sentenced Farrar to 12 months in jail for violating Alabama law by bringing a gun into the courthouse, concealed under his shirt. The jail sentence would be immediately suspended though if Farrar complied with the requirements of the order, allowing for 12 months supervised probation and 12 months unsupervised.

Farrar said he had worked out a plea deal to serve three months probation for the offense, but that the terms of the deal were thrown out when Ham “perjured himself” in court by saying that he was afraid of Farrar and “looking for a corner” to hide from him.

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“You can see in the video, he was angry, not scared,” Farrar said.

Farrar was nominated and elected as the Libertarian candidate for Lee County Commission District 4 on May 15, a decision he says he made in response to his treatment by the commission. Since then, Farrar has been trying to have his courthouse ban lifted, saying it prevents him from hearing the public’s concerns.

Judge Bush denied Farrar’s motion on Sept. 6 due to Farrar failing to show up, but Farrar said notice of the hearing didn’t get to him until 4 p.m. on the day of the hearing, nine hours after it had been decided.

Farrar was granted a new hearing date, and set forth his arguments again before Bush on Tuesday. He said he doesn’t expect Bush to grant his motion.

“So what began as a citizen engaging in protected speech that was critical of public officials in a public meeting has now become a near two-year long fiasco where an official candidate for the Lee County Commission that is on the ballot for the November 8 general election is not allowed to attend the meetings of the very County Commission to which he is seeking to be elected,” Alabama Libertarian Party chair Gavin Goodman said in a statement. “It is apparent that Mr. Farrar’s protracted abuse has been in direct retaliation to his criticism of public officials. Furthermore, it is apparent that those same public officials have maliciously abused both their power and the judicial process out of petty spite in order to conveniently disenfranchise candidate Farrar until just a month after the general election.”

A disorderly conduct charge simultaneously brought against Farrar was noll prosecuted. In protest of his perceived discrimination, Farrar has suspended his campaign for the District 4 seat.

Jacob Holmes is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can reach him at [email protected]

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