By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard is asking for a continuance in his felony criminal trial. The trial has been set for Mid-October, almost a year-to-date of Hubbard’s arrest on 23 counts of felony public corruption. Hubbard’s legal team, led by J. Mark White, has made a last minute plea to Lee County Circuit Court Judge Jacob Walker III, to delay the trial. The “deny-deflect-delay” tactic has been a continuous pattern for Hubbard’s criminal defense.
Judge Walker is widely known for keeping to a tight schedule in such cases, and proved that in the Rep. Barry Moore perjury trial, by refusing excessive delays.
Despite the charges against him, Hubbard still holds the most powerful constitutional office in the State. Hubbard is also the State Representative from Lee County. These facts should cause the court to want a more swift and fair hearing for Hubbard, because if he is in truth guilty of the crimes with which he has been charged, the State could be further injured by him remaining in power.
Many have questioned whether the State can get a fair trial in Hubbard’s home district, because of his political connections. Rumor’s have been floated on several occasions that Hubbard’s indictments would be quashed, because of his political ties in the State and within his community.
The Magna Carta of 1215, clause 40 reads, “To no one will we sell, to no one will we refuse or delay, right or justice.”
But, in Alabama, there is a distrust of the justice system, when it comes to equal treatment for politicians, the wealthy, or the well-connected.
Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill wrote, “The imbalance between court privileges obtained by attorneys for the wealthy and for the person of modest means, the use of delay and ‘blizzards’ of unnecessary paper by large law firms, and judges who fail to cut through the underbrush of procedure all erode justice.”
There is real fear that Hubbard will use his influence in Lee County to have his case delayed for another year. This brings to mind the legal maxim “Justice delayed is justice denied” which surely applies to Hubbard’s trial, because of the consequence for the State as a whole. Hubbard’s guilt or innocence carries grave consequences, not only for him, but for every citizen of the State.
Hubbard sits atop the government influencing actions that directly affect the public good. How can the people have confidence in government without knowing his guilt or innocence?
Hubbard wants more time, and that will ultimately be decided by Judge Walker. All eyes should be turned to Lee County to witness if justice will be delayed and denied.
While addressing the American Bar Association in 1970, Chief Justice of the United States Warren E. Burger stated, “A sense of confidence in the courts is essential to maintain the fabric of ordered liberty for a free people…”
Such confidence is being questioned in the Hubbard case as he continues to deny, defect, and delay.