By Joey Kennedy
Alabama Political Reporter
Former Speaker Mike Hubbard’s attempt at getting a new trial in Lee County ended with little noise. Lee County Circuit Judge Jacob Walker pretty much ignored Hubbard’s request, allowing the 60-day window to expire without note.
That means Hubbard will have to take his case to the Court of Criminal Appeals, as he certainly will, and then the Alabama Supreme Court, as he certainly will. Hubbard, convicted on 12 of the original 23 counts of corruption against him, was sentenced to four years in a state prison. But he’ll do all he can to delay the start of that sentence.
While the smart move would be for Hubbard to go ahead and start marking his time, he knows the state prisons are notoriously underfunded and a terrible place to have to live. When he was speaker, the Legislature did very little to improve state prisons. They’re a disgrace. He eventually will likely experience this first-hand because he doesn’t have much chance of winning his appeals. Because he’s guilty.
Hubbard is simply stubbornly delaying the time he has to report to prison, but he’ll eventually have to report, as he should. And he will.
Now, as being reported by Alabama Political Reporter Editor in Chief Bill Britt, there may be an effort to weaken the state’s ethics laws. There was nothing but fanfare when, in a 2010 special session, the Republican Legislature strengthened ethics laws – the laws that caught Hubbard in overt corruption. Whoops! Apparently that was never supposed to happen, right? These laws were just for show, right? Well, guess what? They led to quite the show.
But kudos to the Republican-led Attorney General’s office for aggressively prosecuting Hubbard, who is no doubt guilty of violating those laws.
So the Hubbard mess continues to fester, and it will for awhile, because Hubbard is doing whatever contortions he needs to do to keep out of state prison. In the end, he’ll fail, but he’ll stay out as long as he can.
Meanwhile, the Luv Guv, Dr. Dr. Robert Bentley, will see his impeachment case head to the House Judiciary Committee on Sept. 27, as reported by APR’s Brandon Moseley. “The committee is reportedly looking into two articles of impeachment against Gov. Bentley: Corruption and neglect of duty,” Moseley writes.
Too, a grand jury is looking into Bentley’s actions, along with former top aide Rebekah Caldwell Mason, who Bentley, at the very least, has a history of groping. That’s not illegal, just immoral. But how Mason was paid with dark money has attracted the attention of law enforcement officials.
And Alabama’s political embarrassments don’t end. The third of the state’s Three Stooges, suspended Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore goes on trial this month on judicial ethics charges after the Alabama Court of the Judiciary last month denied Moore’s request to dismiss the charges against him.
Moore could very well be kicked off the court for the second time. The first involved his obnoxious, copyrighted Ten Commandments statue he refused to remove from the state Judicial Building. This time, Moore is in trouble for not following the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling legalizing marriage equality.
A longtime homophobe and far-right religious zealot, Moore just doesn’t believe he has to follow the law in a secular nation.
So Hubbard, Bentley, and Moore continue embarrassing Alabama. They continue serving themselves, not Alabama residents.
Alabama would be so much better off if they had never been elected to public office. But, as we’ve seen time and again, Alabama voters often decide against their interests.
It’s a pretty good bet they’ll do it again.
Joey Kennedy, a Pulitzer Prize winner, writes a column for Alabama Political Reporter each week. Email: [email protected]