By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
Mike Hubbard’s witness list for the October 26 hearing on prosecutorial misconduct looks less like a serious judicial inquiry and more like a three-ring circus.
When the circus comes to town, it’s all about entertainment. This circus is no different. Its sole purpose is to entertain by embarrassing and humiliating Judge Jacob Walker in Lee County.
Let me explain.
Hubbard’s witness list includes a hefty 40 names, including members of the media, elected officials, and prominent businessmen. The headlines will be sensational in the days before the hearing. “HUBBARD CALLS 40 WITNESSES TO SHOW PROSECUTORIAL MISCONDUCT.”
The headline and accompanying article will be a veritable poster for the circus coming to town for the October 26 hearing. Locals will be awed by the size of the witness list. Hubbard has 40 witnesses? Where there’s smoke there’s fire, right?
The only thing missing from the circus-poster-turned-front-page-article will be a little-known fact about the October 26 hearing: Judge Walker has limited the scope of the hearing to the standard set out in Bank of Nova Scotia v. United States, a United States Supreme Court case dealing with prosecutorial misconduct.
In short, Judge Walker is limiting the inquiry into prosecutorial misconduct to the Nova Scotia standard, which is whether violations of grand jury proceedings had an effect on the grand jury’s decision to indict. That means Judge Walker won’t look at anything that took place after Mike Hubbard was indicted. It also means Judge Walker won’t look at anything that took place outside of the grand jury.
What it really means is that most of the witnesses on Mike Hubbard’s witness list aren’t going to testify.
And that’s the point.
Hubbard knows they won’t testify. The prosecution knows they won’t testify. And Judge Walker knows they won’t testify. They won’t testify because they never went before the grand jury. Hubbard will try to use them to show some misconduct that took place outside the grand jury.
And that’s why they’re on the witness list. Hubbard knows Judge Walker will apply the standard he said he would apply. He needs Judge Walker to apply that standard and strike his witnesses because that’s where the circus really gets going.
Imagine this headline from the local press: “JUDGE WALKER BANS 35 OF 40 HUBBARD WITNESSES FROM TESTIFYING ABOUT PROSECUTORIAL MISCONDUCT.”
Sounds bad, doesn’t it? Hubbard is no longer the bad guy. He’s the victim, and Judge Walker is leading the charge to cover up misconduct and make sure Hubbard gets a raw deal.
And that’s the point. This case used to be the State of Alabama v. Mike Hubbard. Hubbard’s witness list makes it Judge Jacob Walker v. Mike Hubbard in a circus-battle for King of Lee County.
Hubbard has 40 witnesses on his witness list because he needs the public to believe the whole system is rigged against him, starting with Judge Walker.
Judge Walker needs to turn the tables and strike Hubbard’s entire witness list and make him re-file a witness list that justifies each and every witness under the Bank of Nova Scotia standard. Force Hubbard to state, in a few words, how each witness could testify about how the grand jury was improperly influenced.
As much as this publication dislikes filings made under seal, allow Hubbard to file it under seal and release a redacted version for public consumption.
Make Hubbard take down his own circus tent.
Make Hubbard strike his own witnesses.
Mike Hubbard wants a circus.
Judge Walker should make him call the bearded lady and tell her not to bother making plans to travel to Lee County on October 26.