In yet another surprise move, the Alabama Supreme Court has decided to hear oral arguments in the public corruption appeal of former Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard.
Oral arguments will be June 4, the court said.
Hubbard was convicted in 2016 on 12 felony violations of the Alabama ethics code — mostly for using his status as one of the most powerful men in state government to obtain lucrative “consulting” contracts with companies that he later used his influence to help.
The conviction and initial appeal have been lengthy, time consuming affairs that left no legal stone unturned. The Alabama Criminal Court of Appeals’ decision to uphold all but one of the charges against Hubbard, and wrote a lengthy, 154-page decision describing its reasoning and attacking the Hubbard team’s arguments.
Most attorneys around the state who followed the appeal believed that the decision, because of its thoroughness, would be quickly upheld by the ALSC.
Instead, just after last November’s election, the justices agreed to review the case, despite Hubbard’s defense team making no new arguments for the court to consider.
The ALSC justices requested briefs from both sides, and again, the Hubbard team made essentially the same arguments that it had in the initial trial and the appeal — that Hubbard didn’t knowingly violate the ethics laws and believed what he was doing was legal.
The Alabama Attorney General’s Office, in a response, pointed out the same problems with that argument — it doesn’t line up with his actions or common sense.
“Hubbard asserts that he was just trying to ‘make a living as other citizens do,’ AG Steve Marshall wrote. “But private citizens cannot earn a living through jobs that involve minimal work and training over scotch. They cannot collect hundreds of thousands of dollars for occasionally calling a legislator. They cannot email lobbyists and expect riches. In short, private citizens cannot use a ‘public office … for private gain.’”