By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter
On Oct. 5, 2016, former House Speaker Mike Hubbard, two months removed from being found guilty of 12 felonies, officially filed an appeal in his case with the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals.
Thirteen days later, in a Baldwin County Circuit Court, Justin Shawn Miller went on trial for robbing the Courtyard Marriott Hotel in Gulf Shores. Like Hubbard, Miller was convicted, sentenced and subsequently filed an appeal in mid-March 2017.
The difference between the two: The Court of Criminal Appeals issued an opinion on Miller’s appeal in October.
Hubbard is still waiting. Still a free man. Still no closer to serving the four-year sentence handed down.
Why that is, no one seems capable of answering publicly. But privately, sources close to the Appeals Court judges told APR that the judges want to wait and see how the primary elections play out this June before issuing a ruling because they fear political backlash no matter which way they rule.
One thing is certain, however: It is becoming impossible, even in Alabama’s underfunded court system, to blame the delay in ruling on Hubbard’s case on a backlog.
Each announcement of opinions from the Court only highlights the obvious.
For example: the case of Patrick Edward Arnold, who was convicted of third-degree burglary in March 2017. Arnold filed his appeal with the Court in May, more than seven months after Hubbard’s was filed.
The Court issued an opinion in Arnold’s case on Dec. 15.
In that same list of opinions was a case remanded from the U.S. Supreme Court in May and another case appealed in May.
So, the Court has apparently moved on to May’s appeals, except for one.
The guy, convicted of 12 felonies for misusing his office for personal gain, is still waiting.