Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Luther Strange sought 50-year sentences in an ethics-law case two years ago, so why is he seeking five years for Mike Hubbard and trying to call that "tough"?

Deann Stone
The Alabama Attorney General's Office, under Luther Strange, last week recommended that former House Speaker Mike Hubbard receive five years behind bars for his conviction on 12 counts of state-ethics law violations. Less than two years ago, Strange's office asked for 50-year sentences for a husband and wife who were convicted of ethics-law violations related to federal education funds.

Should we believe the "tough guy" rhetoric in Strange's sentencing motion, and the "Oh, My God, this would be a stiff sentence" malarkey that spewed forth from mainstream media (MSM) outlets al.com and the Montgomery Advertiser? No, we should not, because it's all a crock.

In fact, the absurdly lenient sentence recommendation from Strange's office makes it seem the Hubbard prosecution was just for show all along. It also adds credence to charges from Hubbard supporters that the whole thing was a political prosecution, designed to help eliminate one of Strange's strongest opponents from the 2018 governor's race.

If Hubbard ever goes to prison at all, he likely will be out not long after a new governor is inaugurated in January 2019. Based on the sentencing recommendation, it appears Strange wanted Hubbard tied up just long enough to miss the governor's race.

How do we know the proposed five-year incarceration is laugh-out-loud lenient? Consider the case of Deann Stone, former director of federal programs for the Alabama Department of Education. A jury convicted her in October 2014 on five ethics counts involving use of her position to provide more than $10 million in grant money to Information Transport Solutions, where her husband, Dave, was employed. Dave Stone was convicted of aiding and abetting his wife on each count.

This is from a December 2014 press report about the AG's sentencing recommendation:

The state attorney general's office is asking a judge to give a former state education official and her husband 50-year sentences in an ethics case involving millions of dollars.

The attorney general is seeking the sentence for 51-year-old Deann Stone and 55-year-old Dave Stone of Wetumpka. Deann Stone is the former director of federal programs for the state Department of Education. . . .

The attorney general's office is asking that the Stones get 10 years on each count and that the sentences run consecutively.

Why would the same AG (Luther Strange) who wanted the Stones to serve 10 years behind bars for each count want Mike Hubbard to serve less than six months for each count on which he was convicted?

To be sure, no two criminal cases are alike, and we see obvious differences between the Stone and Hubbard cases. We also see similarities, and one could make a reasonable argument that corruption in the Hubbard case was worse than that in the Stone case. A few points to consider about the two cases:

* The Stone case involved $10 million, but it's not clear how much of that directly benefited the Stones; the Hubbard case involved about $1.6 million of personal gain;

Deann K. Stone
(From montgomerymugshots.com)
* Hubbard was charged with 12 counts of ethics violations; the Stones were charged with five counts each;

* Hubbard was an elected official, holding what many consider the most powerful political office in Alabama. Mrs. Stone worked for the state, but she did not hold elective office;

* Both Hubbard and the Stones faced possible penalties of two to 20 years on each count.

Did Strange's recommendation of 50 years for each of the Stones carry much weight in the courtroom? Nope. Montgomery County Circuit Judge Johnny Hardwick sentenced each of them to two years. From an article about the actual sentence:

The judge said Deann Stone should have stepped aside from the grant awarding process because her husband's employer was representing applicants, but she didn't. Instead, he said the Stones exchanged emails about the grant process.

The Stones sound a bit like Mike Hubbard and Bob Riley, don't they? But it's hard to imagine the couple was even close to being that sleazy.

So, Luther Strange wants us to believe he's really socking it to Mike Hubbard? The Stone case tells a different story. The Hubbard sentence recommendation would have to improve to be a slap on the wrist.

A major problem with the Hubbard case all along is that the AG probably is as corrupt as the defendant, maybe more so. The sentencing recommendation in the Hubbard case indicates Luther Strange is playing games with taxpayer dollars, something he seems to do a lot. In fact, it might be the "legacy" he leaves behind.


Anonymous said...

This is mind blowing. Strange wants 50 years for one defendant and five years for another (Mike Hubbard), on the same crime--except Hubbard had 12 counts, and the other involved 5 counts? Unreal. Luther Strange has zero integrity.

Anonymous said...

I had forgotten the Stone case, but it all comes back to me now. It was a pretty big deal at the time.

Unknown said...

Let's face it, all these Republicans are in bed together one way or another. "Monkey town" is so "incestuous", it's on the verge of hysteria". No wonder Alabama is ranked the 4th most corrupt state in the U.S.. Alabama has become a fiefdom and the Nazis rule.

Anonymous said...

I'm speechless.

Anonymous said...

All justice is arbitrary these days. You take what the FBI found out about Clinton's emails and any mere mortal would have been out behind bars for sharing Top Secret state secrets. I'm not a Trump fan either...just trying to point out that this is not a republican or democratic thing..arbitrary justice is everywhere. No one trusts the government any more...and with stories like the ones out of both Alabama and Washington, who's to blame us?

Anonymous said...

Only three people were charged during the scam on going lee county grand jury. Barry Moore( Debra Moore was a witness in the Bingo Trial), Steve French (a witness in the Bingo Trial) and Mike Hubbard. All these people would be witnesses for Milton Mcgregor in a civil suit. Keith Baker was involved with all these cases. When Milton Mcgregor gets Keith Bakers Phone records from the Bingo Trial,the truth will be known. Hopefully Baker's phone records will contain some reference to the Siegelman trial(another case Baker was involved in)

Anonymous said...

Great reporting, LS. Every Alabamian needs to read this, but the MSM will ignore it because they want us to believe the five-year sentence for Hubbard is "strong."

Anonymous said...

Luther Strange is a lobbyist. He's not a true lawyer, and he certainly isn't a prosecutor. He's a scam artist, cut from the same cloth as Mike Hubbard.

Anonymous said...

The judge in the Stone case must not have much respect for Big Lutha.

Anonymous said...

Are the Stones still in prison? Did they have to pay restitution?

legalschnauzer said...

I don't believe the Stones are still in prison; they do not appear at the Alabama Department of Corrections Web site. I don't know about the restitution question, but my guess is they had to pay something. Also would think the husband's company migth have had to pay something.

Anonymous said...

The Eliza Battle,flying the Yankee signal flag(I am dragging my anchor) hoisted the Kilo signal flag ( I wish to communicate with you) upon seeing the HMS Hibernia approaching.The HMS Hibernia was used to transport convicts and the trial of the Victoria and Camperdown crew was held aboard ship. Commander John "ANDREW" Horn is aboard.

Anonymous said...

No need to ask the FBI to get involved they sold out which makes me want to ask when did the FBI sellout or should I ask the FBI do you even remember the first time you sold out.

Anonymous said...

You can damn sure bet that this news would have never saw the light of day had it not been for the reporting here on Legal Schnauzer. All across this land main street news reports only what it is paid to report on. The pay off comes in the billions that are spend on tv ads for drugs that the public can not buy without first having a dr script in order to do so. Why do we see drug ads on tv, one after the other for a drug that only a few need anyway and then still can not buy over the counter in the first place? It's the pay off for not reporting about a system that is rigged!!!! I pray each day that this "system" will not one day entrap me or a love one and yes it's that bad. They can put your ass in jail, legal or not and there is not a damn thing anyone can do about it. Russia did take over, most just don't see it until it's their ass who's in jail.

Anonymous said...

I don't think the Stones spent 1 day in prison and I don't think Information Transport Solutions had to pay any restitution. Information Transport Solutions is still receiving millions of dollars per year from the State & Federal government, all public record.

Anonymous said...

Hillary logic applied to Alabama republican politics.

Anonymous said...

@5:05 pm -- Have been eagerly awaiting your latest dispatch. Since Admiral Tryon went down with the Victoria and was overheard by numerous survivors to have claimed complete and total responsibility for the disaster, there was ultimately no punishment from the judge(s). Are you implying that Horn's judgement might be as inconclusive as the court martial's?

Anonymous said...

@ 7:48
Read Roger's posts for July 27,2015 and July 30,2015. Do you believe a dipstick FBI agent from Alabama hacked the computers at FBI headquarters in Virginia and erased his phone records. The Hillery Clinton case proves Baker's records could be found again if missing.
But they were never erased. The man claiming they were erased was retired. He did not have access. The calls that they retrieved were from the people's records that were called by Baker. Historians will one day come upon Roger's website and write a wikipedia article about how corrupt the federal goverment was during Milton Mcgregor's trial.