By Chip Brownlee
The Alabama Political Reporter
AUBURN—Former House Speaker Mike Hubbard will not get a new chance to try his case in front of Lee County Circuit Judge Jacob A. Walker.
On Tuesday, Walker explicitly denied a motion — which was automatically denied early last month — from Hubbard requesting a retrial based on juror misconduct allegations.
Hubbard’s defense attorneys in August submitted an affidavit from a juror who said other jurors were biased and failed to follow Walker’s orders to not discuss the trial outside of deliberations.
In his order, Walker said not every instance of juror misconduct warrants a new trial.
In June, a Lee County jury found Hubbard guilty of 12 out of 23 felony ethics charges.
Walker said the jury’s issuance of a split verdict showed they had the ability to carefully weigh and consider evidence without unnecessary influence. He said they didn’t decide the case prematurely through bias.
“[A split verdict] suggests that they were not unduly prejudiced and carefully considered the evidence before them regarding each count and rendered verdicts consistent with those deliberations,” Walker wrote in his order.
Walker held a hearing in early September on the new trial motion along with two other motions from the defense and a motion for restitution from the prosecution.
At the hearing, Hubbard’s attorneys refused to call any witnesses in support of their jury misconduct allegations. Instead, lead defense attorney and former Lt. Gov. Bill Baxley suggested the Lee County Sheriff’s Department should investigate and interview witnesses to decide if there had been misconduct.
Walker wasn’t having it. He denied the Lee County Sheriff access to investigate the Court trial.
Walker and the Court did call witnesses though, three to be exact: two bailiffs and Lee County Court Administrator Patricia Campbell.
The operation of law automatically denied Hubbard’s motion for a new trial on Sept. 6, as APR was first to report. But even with that automatic denial, Walker said he felt it necessary to address the issue of juror misconduct.
Earlier this month, Hubbard filed appeal paperwork with the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals. Walker’s denial of a new trial does not affect Hubbard’s current appeal to the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals or the Alabama Supreme Court.
Hubbard was indicted in October 2014 on 23 felony ethics violations. In June, he was convicted on 12 of those charges for violating the same ethics laws he himself helped push through the Alabama Legislature in a December 2010 special session.
He faces four years in an Alabama penitentiary.