By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
Howard “Gene” Sisson always does things the right way, at least that is what he kept telling his boss Attorney General Luther Strange.
According to his termination letter, Sisson admits he wanted to discredit Chief of the Special Prosecution Divison, Matt Hart, but didn’t want to undermine the Lee County Grand Jury.
He admits to secretly recording Acting Attorney General W. Van Davis, but says, that’s o.k.
He broke the chain of command in his office, even going so far as to file Ethics Complaints against a co-worker and refusing to turn over State property that may have been used illegally. But, that’s o.k. too, because Gene Sisson always does things the right way, according to Gene Sisson.
However, his boss calls him a liar, his co-workers do too, and yet Sisson wants us to believe that they are all ganging-up against him, and Henry T. Sonny” Reagan because they are the good guys and Hart, well, he’s just a big, bad bully.
Sisson says that he will fight his firing because his honor is at stake. He says he has been wronged, and he wants his day in court.
In Sisson’s termination letter, Strange wrote, “Your actions over the past year have made it impossible for me to trust you. Specifically, I cannot trust you to safeguard State property entrusted to you; I cannot trust you to follow Office policies and to be faithful to the rule of law; I cannot trust you to keep the work-related confidences of your co-workers; and I cannot trust you to conduct yourself with honesty and integrity in the workplace.”
“I cannot trust you… to be faithful to the rule of law,” said Strange, this is not a statement that would be applied to a man of honor who always does things the right way, (In his own mind).
Sisson appears to be every law abiding citizen’s worst nightmare; a cop who will fabricate evidence, lie on the witness stand, and rig the system in his favor. No one is safe when the lawless are lawmen.
A January 2015 poll conducted by Reuters and the Ipsos polling organization found that thirty-one percent of Americans believe police officers “routinely lie to serve their own interests.” These numbers rise to “45 percent among African-Americans, 41 percent among young people and 39 percent among Democrats. Republicans reject that charge three to one (60 to 20 percent),” according to the poll.
But, in a State that prides itself on a belief in law and order, the allegations against Sisson strike at the very heart of who we are. How could a career police officer and Special Agent with the Attorney General’s Office be so, corrupted?
Thomas Sowell, economist, social theorist, political philosopher, and current Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution said, “One of the common failings among honorable people is a failure to appreciate how thoroughly dishonorable some other people can be, and how dangerous it is to trust them.”
In Sisson’s many letters protesting his innocence and Hart’s guilt, he expresses his “love and respect” for his former boss, Troy King.
King allowed Sisson to rise to the pinnacle of his career as Chief Investigator at the Attorney General’s Office. After serving for 20 years at the Montgomery PD, Sisson had only obtained the rank of corporal. Being so highly promoted by King would certainly give him a reason to appreciated his former boss. Sisson, would lose that high office when Strange defeated King, which perhaps caused Sisson to not only resent his new commander, but also the “new hires.”
Sisson’s job was given to former FBI agent, Tim Furman. In an email, Sisson referred to FBI agents as “F**king Retards,” an email Strange called “offensive, profane and unprofessional.” If this was, in fact, Sisson’s true feelings about federal agents, then no doubt he harbored resentment against not only Strange but Furman as well.
If Sisson truly loved King as he said, then hiring Hart had to be a double blow, as it was Hart who investigated King in 2009.
In his letters, Sisson also expresses great appreciation and admiration for Henry T. “Sonny” Reagan, who also left the Attorney General’s Office after it was discovered that he had aided the defense in the Hubbard case by trying to undermine the Lee County Grand Jury. Sisson said he considered Reagan a friend.
Demotion, being supervised by a perceived, inferior man, having to tolerate a man who had investigated someone he loved and having lost his good friend companionship on the job may have been too much for Sisson. Perhaps this is the reason, he betrayed his office as Strange has stated.
What would Sisson gain if the case against Hubbard was derailed…a promotion?
Perhaps Sisson believed if Hubbard was exonerated, he would become governor and that his reward would be a return to Chief Investigator. Perhaps Reagan believed he would rise from his middle management position to division chief. Of course, all of this is speculative.
The author James Bernard Frost said “The saddest thing about selling out is just how cheaply most of us do it for.”
Benedict Arnold committed treason in-part because he wanted advancement. Judas sold out Jesus for 30 piece of silver. What did Sisson or Reagan gain by disloyalty to their oath of office?
Perhaps we will never know.
Perhaps a criminal trial will open a window into these events.
Whatever the outcome, they have been exposed, and the picture is a disgusting look in to the shallow souls of men who ultimately, are failures. It also confirms the belief that lawless men hide behind badges, seeking personal gain and even personal vendettas.
In this, Sisson did not always do things right, but did them inexcusably wrong.