By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—In a Supplemental Brief in support of a sentencing recommendation filed Friday, the State is asking that disgraced former Speaker Mike Hubbard be ordered to pay, $1,125,000.00 in restitution for his criminal acts.
In July, Hubbard was convicted on 12 felony counts of public corruption, sentenced to four years hard time and sixteen years probation. The State had asked trial Judge Jacob Walker, III, to order restitution for Hubbard’s acts. However, Judge Walker said he couldn’t find statutory grounds for the State’s request, but allowed the State time to present additional case law.
In its response, the State argues, “In the context of a white-collar crime case, justice requires public officials to be forbidden from keeping ill-gotten gains obtained as a result of breaching the public’s trust.”
Citing an Eleventh Circuit opinion in which it reasoned, if a “white-collar criminal could steal millions of dollars, place the money in an off-shore bank account, serve his probationary sentence, and then be free to start a new life with his newly-acquired fortune, this court sees little incentive for that person to think twice before concocting such a scheme.”
In its 12-page brief, the State contends that monetary restitution serves the dual purposes of rehabilitation and deterrence.
During Hubbard’s sentencing hearing, Judge Walker said he couldn’t find where the State was considered a “victim” under State criminal code. The supplemental brief cites several instances where courts found the state was the victim.
“Pennsylvania’s restitution statute, like Alabama’s, does not explicitly name the State as a potential victim,” reads the brief. “But Pennsylvania courts have interpreted “victim” to include the State, considering the purposes of its restitution statute.”
The particular case cited was one where Pennsylvania’s “House Speaker, John Perzel, was convicted based on a course of conduct like Hubbard’s. The Pennsylvania court concluded that the State was a direct victim of Perzel’s use of government staff, equipment, and facilities for personal gain. Com. v. Perzel.” It further finds that in the plea agreement between the State and former Rep. Greg Wren the court ordered Wren to pay restitution to the State of $24,000 because the State was the victim of his “dishonest services.”
The State claims Hubbard’s sentencing should include restitution based on the same theory.
The State’s position is, unless the court orders restitution, “Hubbard and his businesses will continue reaping the returns from his sale of his office as Speaker even after he serves his prison sentence.”