Friday Mike Hubbard appeared before Judge Jacob Walker in Circuit Court in Lee County to be sentenced on 12 felony ethics convictions. According to reporting by Alabama Political Reporter and AL.com’s John Archibald, he was sentenced to a split sentence of four years (without the possibility of parole) followed by 16 years of probation. The judge also ordered Hubbard to pay fines totaling $210,000. Hubbard, his lawyer, and his character witnesses acted as if Hubbard, rather than the state of Alabama, was the victim. Bill Britt at APR wrote:
Hubbard’s criminal attorneys have argued for years, that his indictment was a political prosecution, without merit in the law. Even at sentencing, Hubbard’s attorney, Bill Baxley, said Hubbard didn’t need to show remorse or apologies for his actions, “because he has done nothing wrong.”
Testifying as a character witness, Congressman Mike Rogers also impugned, not only the prosecution, but the Grand Jury as well. Rogers admitted he had not looked at any evidence, nor heard testimony at trial, but said he didn’t need to because his friend Mike had been railroaded by an ambitious Attorney General, and a rogue prosecutor.
Hubbard’s defense, from the beginning, has been based on alleging that the justice system is corrupt. Even at sentencing Baxley said of Hubbard, “He is one of the very few who has been mistreated” by the system.
Unlike Bill Baxley, a jury of 12 ordinary citizens thought Hubbard did 12 things wrong, so Baxley is saying the jury failed in its duties. He’s the only one I’ve heard say that about an attentive jury that mostly got it right. Mike Rogers, cheerfully and professedly ignorant of the facts, parroted the shopworn Hubbard refrain that he was railroaded by overzealous prosecutors. And Baxley’s statement that Hubbard was “mistreated” is laughable. The people of the state of Alabama were mistreated for years of having a Speaker who used his post to line his pockets to the detriment of the citizens who elected him.
Archibald reports that Hubbard’s minister chimed in on the “poor Mike” story:
Dr. George Mathison, pastor of Hubbard’s church, told the judge that Hubbard is “a godly man.”
“I don’t think incarceration for a man like Mike serves any purpose,” he said.
A man like Mike — meaning a white man of influence, a good ole boy, a bully, a corrupt official, and a liar.
The lesson is that justice is reserved for ordinary people, for thieves and drug users and weed-smokers, but “a man like Mike” should be above such petty matters as the rule of law.
The invocation of God is spectacularly inappropriate for Hubbard. Far from being “a godly man,” Hubbard along with the boob-grabbing Love Guv Robert Bentley, stripped many thousands of Alabamians of the chance to have healthcare access by rejecting Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. That was the least Christian thing I have ever witnessed. Repeating God’s name as an adjective to describe felon Mike Hubbard is truly taking His name in vain.
Hubbard’s conviction is clearly not going to be a catalyst for change in Montgomery. The corrupt gravy train will roll on and the only lesson other corrupt officials will learn is to be a little more careful about getting caught like Hubbard did.
With an Ethics Commission that functions as a rubber-stamp for corruption, a long-obsolete constitution that was designed to foster corruption, and a conservative electorate that turns a blind eye to corruption as long as the corrupt ones spout Bible verses and oppose abortion and gun control, the only force against corruption in this state is literally state and federal prosecutors like Mark Hart.
To these Christians, these men and women standing for “family values,” these opponents of providing any help to the poor and sick, public service is not a service at all. It is a financial opportunity. And all that keeps them from robbing the state at gunpoint in broad daylight on the streets of downtown Montgomery is the fear of going to prison like Mike Hubbard is about to.
Alabama deserves better than leaders whose corruption is limited only by their fear of going to jail.