By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—Trial Judge Jacob Walker, III stated at Tuesday’s hearing, that he will not grant Speaker Mike Hubbard another continuance in his felony public corruption case. Judge Walker has ordered the trial to begin March 28, as scheduled. However, he did speculate that an appeal on pre-trial motions to a higher court might cause a delay.
This tactic was employed in the perjury case involving State Rep. Barry Moore (R-Enterprise), in Which Moore’s attorney, Bill Baxley, filed a petition for Writ of Mandamus, appealing several pretrial motions, and asking the court to stay the trial. The writ was filed with the Court of Criminal Appeals, but was lifted to the State Supreme Court, in an agreement between Criminal Appeals Presiding Judge Mary Becker Windom, and Chief Justice Roy Moore.
The Supreme Court denied the petition on September, 5, 2014, in time for Moore to stand trial in October.
Moore was acquitted of all charges.
A petition for Writ of Mandamus, also known as an “extraordinary writ,” is designed when a lower court decision would cause immediate harm to a defendant. It is used when a defendant, “seeks emergency and immediate appellate review of an order that is otherwise interlocutory and not appealable.” However, in Hubbard’s case, he would have sufficient time and a legal right to an appeal after the completion of his trial in Lee County.
There are some two-dozen defense motions still pending. Judge Walker has indicated he will rule on all of these matters in the near future.
If Hubbard, as expected, files a writ on some of the pretrial motions, the Supreme Court could rule immediately, or drag the process out over a period of months, according to a legal expert speaking on background. He also said, that having a firm trial date of March 28, should motivate the higher court to move forward in a timely manner.