After serving only one year of his prison sentence, former Alabama Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard is asking for an early release.
Hubbard is a felon. He did the crime and now must do the time — all of it.
If the court grants his plea to truncate his sentence, then the people of Alabama will have proof positive that there is one law for the powerful and well-connected and another for everyone else.
The court must deny Hubbard’s request or betray the very foundation of our criminal system, which judges are sworn to uphold.
The state’s courts have shown Hubbard extraordinary deference affording him every measure of leniency. Not because Hubbard wasn’t guilty, but because he was a feared politician with even more fierce friends.
Justice should never be meted out with favoritism, but it was in Hubbard’s case.
Hubbard was arrested and charged with 23 felonies in 2014. He continued to wield unprecedented influence over the state until he was convicted on 12 felonies in 2016, and even then, the court showed Hubbard unheard of indulgences because of his status.
Later the Court of Criminal Appeals struck down one charge, leaving 11 and the original sentence.
Under the sentence imposed by Lee County Circuit Court Judge Jacob Walker, III, Hubbard was set to serve four years in prison and eight years of probation. That sentence was structured so that it all but assured that Hubbard would do all his time unless the entire verdict against him was overturned.
In a stunning move, the Alabama Supreme Court tossed out many of the original felony counts against Hubbard, whittling it down to six but still left his sentence in place.
However, in a remarkable reversal, Walker reduced Hubbard’s jail time from 48 months to 28 months.
Now, Hubbard wants another break.
Hubbard’s filing states that he “poses no danger to the public” and that his offenses were not “violent in nature.” The reason Hubbard is behind bars is that he broke the law. He didn’t hold up a liquor store at gunpoint. He robbed the people of Alabama. He didn’t violently assault an innocent child. He fouled the office of the speaker and assaulted the institutions of government.
Hubbard is in prison because he deserves punishment.
Hubbard betrayed his office, made a mockery of the judicial system, and destroyed anyone in his path in his rise to power. Now, all that is to be forgiven and forgotten?
Are the people of Alabama safe from Hubbard’s corruption? Perhaps, but currently, no law would prevent him from becoming a lobbyist and make millions swaying state policy again.
At the time of his arrest, Hubbard’s riches were estimated at some $7 million, yet he wanted more. Does anyone sincerely think that this leopard has changed his spots?
Hubbard was an ungracious, unforgiving tyrant while in office. He oversaw an orgy of greed and corruption unparalleled in state history. He maintained his innocence and defiance even after his sentence.
If Hubbard was shown the same mercy he showed others, he would remain behind bars forever.
After Hubbard’s jail time was cut in half, even Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall was outraged, saying: “Even as he sits in state prison as a six-time felon, Mike Hubbard continues to deny any guilt or offer any remorse for his actions in violation of the law.”
Marshall also stated, “Reducing his original four-year sentence sends precisely the wrong message to would-be violators of Alabama’s ethics laws.”
In his latest request for mercy from the court, Hubbard apologizes to “everyone affected,” as first reported by WSFA. He also acknowledges he “damaged the public trust placed in elected officials,” as well as saying he will work to “rebuild trust with those who have lost faith in and the entire political system.”
Don’t believe him. Hubbard is a liar, a cheat, and a bully who only regrets being caught.
If the courts once again bow to Hubbard and his friends, it will forever bear the mark of illegitimacy.