Roy Moore and I agree: Alabama’s prisons need help

By Rep. Darrio Melton
When Judge Roy Moore and I are on common ground, you know there’s a big problem.

Last week, the Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice said something I agree with: we need to look at our sentencing and fix our prison system.

In the United States–the land of the free–we lock more people in prison than any other nation in the world. Alabama’s incarceration rate ranks third among the states.
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New Year Promises To Be Interesting

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Both Alabama and Auburn play in bowl games on Thursday to start the New Year off right…with football and more football.  That said, 2015 is already shaping up to be a huge year in Alabama politics and your Alabama Political Reporter is already hard at work covering the stories that shape your world.  With 2014 coming to a close, we are looking ahead to what we expect to be the highlights of the New Year.
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What To Do About Alabama’s Overcrowded Prisons

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Alabama houses a lot of dangerous criminals and it is struggling to come up with a plan to lower prison overcrowding without seeing a massive spike in crime.  In a perfect world, we would simply double our number of prison beds. But, with a projected $25 million gap in funding for the troubled State General Fund, it is impossible for the State to fund a $200 million bond issue to build modern prisons. The existing prisons are already dangerously understaffed and are facing lawsuits of alleged sexual harassment of prisoners and potential human rights violations.  The threat of a Federal takeover to deal with prison issues remains a possibility.
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Byrne: Year in Review

Bradley Byrne

By U.S. Representative Bradley Byrne (AL-1) 

When I was elected to Congress last December, I vowed to hit the ground running from day one to make Southwest Alabama a better place to live, work and raise a family. In honor of the New Year, I wanted to take this opportunity to look back at some of the highlights from my first year in Congress.

My first legislative action was to cosponsor H.R. 3121, the American Health Care Reform Act, which repeals ObamaCare and replaces it with common-sense, market based reforms. Throughout the past year, I have repeatedly supported legislation designed to repeal and reform ObamaCare and actually make health care more affordable and accessible for middle class families.
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McClurkin Campaigns For ALGOP Chair

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

The 2014 elections are over and the Presidential primaries are still over a year away, but Alabama politics never takes a holiday.  The ALGOP Chair race is already well underway.  Current Alabama Republican Party Chairman Bill Armistead has announced that he will not seek another term.

Already, two candidates have come forward publicly seeking the position:  Mobile County Republican Party Chair Terry Lathan and former State Representative Mary Sue McClurkin from Indian Springs.
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Education Matters: Elvis Has Now Left the Building

Education Matters
By Larry Lee

It was near the end of last school year when the note on the corner of the principal’s desk caught my eye. I was at Elberta Elementary school in Baldwin County.  The writer said that he had enjoyed school that year and he had learned a lot about Elvis.

Whoa.  Since when did Elvis become part of the third-grade curriculum?

I immediately asked principal Hope Zeanah to tell me more.  This brought a big laugh and a story.
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Hubbard Files Yet Another Motion

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—On Monday, Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard asked that the State provide a more “definite statement” of the 23 Felony charges against him.

Monday’s motion, added to the three that Hubbard filed last Friday, brings the new total to four filings with around 400 pages of motions and exhibits just days before the holidays.

In a motion filed on Monday before Lee County Circuit Judge Jacob Walker III, Hubbard’s attorneys said,  “Each count of the indictment is vague to the point where Hubbard cannot prepare his defense and is unable to determine whether each count states a prosecutable offense. While the indictment does use the  language of the statute, after reading the indictment, Hubbard is left wondering exactly what criminal act or acts he allegedly committed.”

(See motion here.)

In other words, the defense wants the State to spell out, in detail, the who, what, when, where and why of each of the 23 felonies with which he has been accused.

According to two prominent Montgomery defense attorneys who spoke on background, this is not an unusual request in a criminal trial. And certainly not an abnormal request from Hubbard’s lead white collar criminal defense attorney, J. Mark White, who is better known for his skills outside the courtroom than within, according to a fellow attorney.

It is believed that not only is White requesting the information to prepare a defense, but it is also a ploy to postpone the case and give the prosecution “a lot of homework” over the holidays, as one lawyer put it.

Hubbard’s attorneys complain, “Every count of the indictment merely tracks the language of the cited statutory provisions, leaving Hubbard to draw his own conclusions as to how the statute might apply to him.”

However, this is not only what is required under State statute, it is all that is permissible unless requested by the defense.

According to Rule 13.2. (a) “IN GENERAL. The indictment or information shall be a plain, concise statement of the charge in ordinary language sufficiently definite to inform a defendant of common understanding of the offense charged and with that degree of certainty which will enable the court, upon conviction, to pronounce the proper judgment.”

Under Rule 13.2. (e) “A motion for more definite statement may be made at any time prior to entry of the defendant’s plea, which motion shall be granted for good cause shown. A statement filed in compliance with a motion for more definite statement may be thereafter amended at any time subject to such conditions as justice requires.”

In its response filed Monday, the State asked for an extension so it could respond to the motions to dismiss and answer the motion for more definite statements. The State also said that it intends to oppose the motions, but needs more time to prepare an adequate response  “beyond the default seven days guaranteed by Rule 34.1.”

There is reason to wonder how a more definitive narrative of the charges against Hubbard will play into the media campaign being conducted by Hubbard and company. Hubbard has hired one of the State’s most gifted PR firms to handle what has been described as a media blitzkrieg. The billable hours before the holidays must surely be mounting for White and his firm.

 

Wallace Announces Candidacy For ALGOP Vice Chair

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

The Alabama Republican Party is selecting new officers to lead it forward and to build on the spectacular successes of the last 34 years that has seen the party rise from being a non-factor in State politics to the dominant party in the State.  Don Wallace, the President of the influential Alabama Republican Assembly, announced in an email to members of the Alabama Executive Committee, that he was seeking the position of Vice Chair of the Alabama Republican Party.
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GBYRs Select Jack Williams Favorite Elected Official

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

On Thursday, December 18, the Greater Birmingham Young Republicans (GBYRs) met at the Wine Loft in Birmingham for their annual Christmas Party. While feasting, networking, and fellowship were the primary focus of the evening, the GBYRs also voted on their favorite (Republican) elected official of the year by secret ballot.

GBYR Chair Jackie Curtis announced that State Representative Jack Williams (R from Vestavia) was voted as this year’s winner.

Rep. Williams said on Facebook, “Thank you to the Greater Birmingham Young Republicans for selecting me as their 2014 Elected Official of the Year. I am honored by your confidence and continued support.”
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