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Judge reduces former Ala. House speaker’s sentence by half

Former Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard's prison sentence was reduced by a judge.
Former Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard's prison sentence was reduced by a judge.(Alabama Dept. of Corrections/WSFA)
Published: Nov. 25, 2020 at 4:40 PM CST
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Former Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard will now serve 28 months in prison for six felony ethics convictions.

In 2016, Hubbard was sentenced to four years in prison for 12 ethics convictions. Only half those counts withstood a lengthy appellate battle. Despite the reduction in counts, Hubbard’s four-year split sentence, which is not subject to parole eligibility, did not change.

Lee County Circuit Judge Jacob Walker weighed Hubbard’s motion to reconsider his sentence with the state’s motion rejecting any departure from the four-year term.

Walker also considered a concurring opinion by Justices Wise and Bryan.

“Finally, although a jury could have found Hubbard guilty of the crimes he was charged with in count 6 and counts 10 through 14, given my concerns about the current version of the Ethics Code, I am not entirely convinced that the sentences Hubbard received were the most appropriate form of punishment. The length of Hubbard’s sentences, in comparison to his conduct, has been a concern since my initial consideration of this case.”

Walker did not change the two-year concurrent sentences for counts 6 and 10. However, he reduced counts 11-14 to a 4 month split sentence each, which will all be served at the same time. That 4 month sentence will run consecutively to the 2 year sentence which adds up to a total of 28 months.

“While we were hoping for a more substantial reduction of sentence, we welcome this decision. We are grateful for Judge Walker’s recognition of the issues that prompted his action today,” said Hubbard’s defense attorney, Lance Bell.

Hubbard is currently serving time in protective custody at Limestone Correctional.

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall expressed disappointment at Walker’s decision.

“Mr. Hubbard was convicted of the intentional violation of Alabama’s ethics laws, the same laws he championed in the legislature only later to brazenly disregard for his personal enrichment,” Marshall said in a statement. “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. Reducing his original four-year sentence sends precisely the wrong message to would-be violators of Alabama’s ethics laws.”

The state maintained during the trial that Hubbard used his powerful position as House speaker to solicit investments for his personal business and consulting work from company executives and lobbyists.

At the time of Hubbard’s conviction he was still heralded as one of the most powerful elected officials in the state. He was first elected to the Alabama House of Representatives in 1998. In 2010, he orchestrated the largest fundraising endeavor in state GOP history while serving as chairman of the state party.

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