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Court of Criminal Appeals denies requests for rehearing on Hubbard appeal

Chip Brownlee

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Alabama speaker Mike Hubbard stands in Judge Jacob Walkers courtroom before the start of Hubbards ethics trial on Tuesday, May 24, 2016 in Opelika, Ala. (Todd J. Van Emst/Opelika-Auburn News/Pool Photo Todd Van Emst)

The Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals has denied requests from former Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard and the Attorney General’s Office for a rehearing on his appeal.

Hubbard asked the court to reconsider its ruling on his 12 felony ethics convictions from July 2016. The court upheld 11 of the convictions last month, and struck down one of them.

State prosecutors also asked for a rehearing on the one count that was overturned.

The request from Hubbard for a rehearing is a common step toward getting the case in front of the Alabama Supreme Court. Hubbard now has two weeks to file a petition asking the high court to consider his appeal.

Under Alabama law and appellate rules, a person must seek a rehearing before appealing their case on to the Alabama Supreme Court, which would provide a final ruling in the case, should they choose to hear it.

The court issued a one-page decision today that contained no opinion justifying its decision to turn down the applications for a rehearing. That’s not uncommon.

Hubbard’s appeal argued that prosecutors used an overly broad definition of the state’s ethics laws, engaged in prosecutorial misconduct and misused former Ethics Commission Executive Director Jim Sumner’s testimony to get the speaker convicted.

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While the court in their opinion largely upheld the state ethics laws Hubbard was convicted of violating, the jurists also criticized the state Legislature for what they said were ambiguities in the law, calling on them to make urgent clarifications.

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The only count overturned was Count 5. That’s the count the state sought a rehearing on.

Though he was sentenced to four years in state prison, Hubbard remains free on bond until his appeal is complete. If the Supreme Court takes his case, it could be two more years before he serves jail time, at which point it would have been four years and he could have completed his sentence.

Hubbard maintains his innocence on convictions that he misused his office for personal gain.

 

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