By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
Sentenced to prison over a year ago on 12 felony counts of public corruption, former Republican Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard remains free awaiting a ruling from the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals. If his appeal is turned down by the court, he will most likely be filing with the State Supreme Court.
Even before his indictment on October 20, 2014, on 23 felony charges of ethics violations, Hubbard launched an expansive publicity campaign to deny, deflect, delay and derail all attempts to hold him accountable under the Ethics laws he and the Republican supermajority passed in 2010.
Most famously, Hubbard said in an email to former Republican Gov. Bob Riley, “Those ethics laws. What were we thinking?”
Hubbard was convicted by a jury of his peers and sentenced to prison, but has spent only a few days behind bars. He continues to host a morning classic rock show on his station, WGZZ 94.3 FM, in Auburn. He attends political functions and recently weighed in on the U.S. Senate Special Election, encouraging friends not to vote for Senator Luther Strange, whom he sees as one of his many enemies. According to a report by Howard Koplowitz for al.com, Hubbard sent an email to friends saying, “I am not going to try and sway you to vote for any particular person, but since you are my friend you already know who I hope and pray you will VOTE AGAINST [emphasis original].”
A few months ago, Hubbard attended a fundraising event where he berated the candidate for pointing out in a campaign ad that Hubbard was convicted of using his office for personal gain. Hubbard even threatened the candidate with “payback,” once he was exonerated by the appeals court.
Generally, an appeal will take between four months and a few years depending on the complexity of the case. On average, court watchers say the appeals process averages around nine months. Even if the court of criminal appeals finds against Hubbard, he may seek relief from the Supreme Court, which could take another year or so. If Hubbard’s friends continue to finance his appeals, Hubbard could turn to the Federal court saying Alabama violated his federal rights.
Adding to the drama of Hubbard’s case, criminal appeals court Presiding Judge Mary Becker Windom recused herself from Hubbard’s case. Judge J. Elizabeth Kellum reportedly has health issues. Judge Liles C. Burke is awaiting confirmation on his appointment to the Federal bench. Judges Samuel Henry Welch and J. Michael Joiner are seemingly unencumbered.
On July 8, 2016, Hubbard was sentenced to four years in State prison, eight years on supervised probation and ordered to pay $210,000 in fines.