Mike Hubbard probably isn’t going to jail anytime soon.
The former Alabama House Speaker who was convicted on 12 counts of misusing his office for personal gain, and who recently had the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals uphold 11 of those convictions, remains free on an appeals bond.
While most other convicted felons find themselves carted off to jail in handcuffs — with even most white-collar criminals allowed only a small window post conviction before reporting to prison — Hubbard has been free for more than 26 months.
And he’s likely to remain so until the Alabama Supreme Court either rules on his appeal or declines to hear it.
According to the Alabama Attorney General’s Office, which responded to questions from APR about why Hubbard remains free, the appeals bond which keeps Hubbard free doesn’t expire until his appeals expire.
The AG’s office refused to comment specifically on Hubbard’s case, but it did provide guidance specifically about appeals bond.
“An appeal bond does not expire until the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals issues the certificate of judgement, which occurs when the appeal becomes final,” AG’s office spokesman Mike Lewis wrote in an email. “In most circumstances, an appeal becomes final in one of three ways: 1) the time for seeking review in the Alabama Supreme Court expires; 2) the Alabama Supreme Court denies cert.; or 3) the Alabama Supreme Court affirms the lower court’s judgment.”
So, the ball is now in the Alabama Supreme Court. And it often moves at a snail’s pace, particularly on issues dealing with political scandal and great public interest.
However, one thing that could speed the process along is the lengthy opinion from the Appeals Court upholding those 11 Hubbard convictions. Many attorneys familiar with the opinion believe it was written in such a way that it did the ALSC’s work for it, examining myriad avenues and pulling together several different legal arguments, and would prevent the ALSC from having to dig through the voluminous file.
On the other hand, one thing that could slow the court down is that there’s a new appeal in the case — this one from the AG’s office, which is prosecuting the case.
It has appealed the Criminal Appeals Court’s overturning of one count. That’s new ground for the ALSC to cover, and that could take more time.
And all the while, Mike Hubbard, convicted felon, will remain a free man.