New Birmingham councilman sorry for pot conviction


The newest member of the Birmingham City Council says he is sorry about a misdemeanor marijuana conviction in 2003 but has no plans to resign.

Jonathan F. Austin expressed remorse for the conviction during a news conference Wednesday. But the 29-year-old Austin said he wasn't ashamed of the case, which he said stemmed from his days in college.

Austin was sworn in Tuesday after being named by the council to fill the vacancy of William Bell, who joined the Jefferson County Commission last month.

Council President Carole Smitherman said members did not conduct criminal background checks on people who applied for the position.

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