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Thursday, November 19, 2015

Alabama woman pleads guilty to violating grand-jury secrecy laws, while AG Luther Strange ignores apparent violations by powerful political, legal figures


LaToya Ware
(from MySpace)
A Montgomery, Alabama, woman this week pleaded guilty to attempting to reveal confidential grand-jury information. LaToya Ware is black, and the charges against her stem from proceedings related to a federal-state drug investigation, where most of the targets appear to be people of color.

All of which raises this question: LaToya Ware was charged with one count of violating the Alabama Grand Jury Secrecy Act, so why haven't similar charges been brought against white, conservative political/legal figures who apparently revealed grand-jury information related to the investigation in Lee County of House Speaker Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn)?

Court documents in the Hubbard case indicate Hubbard, former Governor Bob Riley; his son, Birmingham attorney Rob Riley; former Hubbard aide Josh Blades, and former Deputy Attorney General Sonny Reagan either leaked or received leaked grand-jury information. According to a report from Bill Britt of Alabama Political Reporter, evidence also suggests that Birmingham attorney Bill Baxley has been involved in schemes to obstruct the Hubbard grand jury.

Information about apparent efforts to corrupt the grand-jury process in Lee County has been known at least since September 2014. So why have charges not been brought against any of the possible participants? Are such charges more likely to be brought if you are a black female hearing a drug-trafficking case--such as LaToya Ware--than if you are a white male, with legal and political ties to ruling Alabama conservatives--such as the individuals in the Hubbard case?

Attorney General Luther Strange was quick to bring charges against Ms. Ware. But we've seen no sign that he intends to bring charges against Bob or Rob Riley, Josh Blades, Bill Baxley, or anyone else who--based on e-mail evidence in the Hubbard case--apparently released or sought secret grand-jury information.

Is Strange sitting on his hands because he has been political allies of the Rileys, with all of them having strong ties to the powerful Bradley Arant law firm in Birmingham--and all with apparent addictions to Indian gambling money, which has led them to attack non-Indian gaming facilities in Alabama, such as VictoryLand in Macon County and Center Stage Alabama in Houston County, near Dothan?

Is Strange giving Baxley a pass because the veteran Birmingham lawyer represents former Strange campaign aide Jessica Medeiros Garrison in a defamation case against this blog and me? Garrison has crowed about receiving a $3.5-million default judgment in the case, even though my reporting about her extramarital affair with Strange never has been proven false or defamatory at trial, before any jury.

Here is a disturbing question: Is Luther Strange practicing a smelly form of politics while serving as Alabama's chief prosecutor and law-enforcement official?

Luther Strange
I have no idea what kind of legal representation LaToya Ware had, but a first-year law-school student should be able to argue that Strange's prosecution violated equal-protection provisions of the U.S. Constitution. Alabama Circuit Judge William Shashy already has found that Strange's crusade against VictoryLand violated equal-protection principles.

Here is an uber disturbing question: Should the Mike Hubbard prosecution be dismissed because Luther Strange clearly is playing politics, by going after LaToya Ware while keeping hands off on Bob Riley, Rob Riley, Bill Baxley, etc.?

All evidence we've seen strongly points to Mike Hubbard being guilty. But as evidence mounts that Luther Strange is a political game player, Hubbard's claim that the AG targeted him for political reasons--to remove a prime opponent in a future race for governor--gains traction.

Those of us who opposed the political prosecution of former Democratic Governor Don Siegelman should also stand up for Mike Hubbard's right not to be targeted for political reasons.

The more Luther Strange plays softball with those who apparently violated grand-jury secrecy laws, the more it appears the Mike Hubbard case should be dropped.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Racism in Alabama? Never saw that one coming.

Anonymous said...

Great post, LS. No one nails it on issues like this the way you do.

Anonymous said...

The boys were allowed to resign (aka slither away). Agreed, where are the charges for Sonny, et al? Not a member of the 'boys club? See ya in jail!

Anonymous said...

Stranges office thinks selectively. This may be another example here:
http://blog.al.com/breaking/2014/03/former_sen_lowell_barron_indic.html

Anonymous said...

Reagan and Sisson committed crimes. You don't just lose your job for that; you face the public and try to defend yourself against the charges. The e-mails also suggest the Rileys and Baxley were tip toeing on the line of criminality. Where are the charges?

Anonymous said...

You could call this "lack of equal protection." You also could call it racism. Same thing, coming from Luther Strange.

legalschnauzer said...

Yes, that's a heck of an example, @1:23, maybe the strongest one of all.

When you add it all up, Luther Strange has no business holding public office--and he seems obsessed about seeking higher office. He can't handle the one he's got.

Anonymous said...

Are you saying the Hubbard prosecution should be called off?

legalschnauzer said...

Mainly, I'm saying that Hubbard has a pretty strong case to claim he's the victim of a political prosecution. And as Strange shows that he bases prosecutions on political considerations, Hubbard's case for dismissal only gets stronger.

Believe me, I want to gag when I say that. But I think it's time for Alabamians to wake up and realize that Luther Strange is incompetent as AG. He can't run an office to save his life, and he's ethically compromised without question if he won't pursue charges against the Rileys, Baxley, Reagan, and others where evidence of grand-jury tampering seems clear.

Anonymous said...

Check the abc3340.com website for another issue that might help Hubbard. It's on Luther Strange's opinion on ethics of lobbying (figured you would like get a kick out of the "ethics" part). Explaining why these are tied together might be good for another story!

Billy Dennis said...

Give 'em Hell.

Anonymous said...

Whatever one may or may not think of Sission; covered up from the public by this administration, by this Attorney General's Office is the FACT that he was one of only two AG investigators who were on the ready to start with one of the most political covered up murders in Alabama involving a State of Alabama Law Enforcement Officer; denied, why, and by whom? Neither Governor Bentley, Attorney General Strange, or ALEA Secretary Collier will publicly address; a widow of two children of a fellow law enforcement officer killed in the line of duty never been contacted; further supporting reasons to believe HARVARD'S REPORT being true, Alabama is the nation's most corrupt state! But, nobody really don't give a shit. Now, do they, except for making occasional blogging chatter? But, here again, why should anyone, all throughout the state, never to be found in any state's media about a blogger being jailed for 5 months because of political opinions/fact based commenting. So, as far Sission, he may, if could have had the chance, made a difference in righting a wrong[s]!