Just imagine how little prison time Hubbard's own lawyers will ask for. Will they ask for two days of probation, with no time served? Hubbard lawyer Bill Baxley has called the recommendation "absurd" -- as in absurdly harsh. This is a rare instance where Baxley and I agree on something; I also find the recommendation to be absurd -- absurdly lenient. In fact, it makes one wonder if Attorney General Luther Strange ever was serious about punishing Hubbard and using him to set an example that would discourage corrupt conduct in other public officials.
Perhaps most disturbing, there already seems to be an effort in the mainstream media (MSM) to portray the sentencing recommendation as tough -- when it is anything but tough. You expect Baxley to whine about the recommendation; that's pretty much what he's paid to do. But why is the MSM trying to convince the public of something that clearly is not true?
At al.com, columnist John Archibald penned an item titled "Prosecutors seek stiff jail term for former House Speaker Mike Hubbard." First, Hubbard likely will be going to a state prison, not a county jail, so the headline has accuracy problems. But then we have this manure from the body of Archibald's column:
A sentencing memorandum filed tonight in the Hubbard case – in preparation for Hubbard's July 8 sentencing on 12 ethics convictions – asks for an 18-year base sentence, split to serve five years in state prison. That would be followed by 13 years of probation.
The state is asking Lee County Circuit Judge Jacob Walker to use his gavel as a hammer, not only to punish Hubbard for his serious crimes, but as a deterrent to other public officials.
The 18 years is less than the 20-year maximum Hubbard could face on each charge, but is equal to the number of years he spent in the Legislature. The five years is the maximum that can be given as a split sentence – which is time he would have to serve -- but is also the length of time he served as Speaker.
These four paragraphs are so full of horse feces, I don't know where to begin. For several months now, Archibald and compadre Kyle Whitmire actually have been behaving like objective, capable journalists. But this makes it seem their right-wing overseers have said, "Time to pull in the reins, boys. It's bad enough that one of our white, beloved, Riley-Inc. legislators has been convicted, now it's our duty to con the public into thinking "Hubby," we mean Mike, could be facing an insufferably long punishment."
Hubbard could face 240 years behind bars, and the state wants him to get five -- and that would be asking Judge Jacob Walker to "use his gavel as a hammer"? Archibald and Baxley must be sipping from the same bottle of Old Grand-dad.
And what is this nonsense about the 18 years being "equal to the number of years [Hubbard] spent in the Legislature" and the five years is "the length of time he served as Speaker"?
That's "fitting," Archibald wants us to believe. It's pure bulls--t, I'm telling you.
This is about criminal activity, of which Hubbard has been convicted by a jury of his peers. We are talking about felonies. It has zero to do with the time Hubbard spent in the legislature or as Speaker. It blows the mind to think Archibald figures the public will fall for such garbage.
Brian Lyman, of the Montgomery Advertiser, is trying to spread the same manure with a story titled "Prosecutors: Give Hubbard big sentence, big fine." From Lyman, who notes that prosecutors want Hubbard to pay more than $1.6 million in fines and restitution:
In a motion filed Thursday evening, prosecutors asked Lee County Circuit Judge Jacob Walker to sentence Hubbard, convicted June 10 on 12 felony ethics charges, to a total term of 18 years. The state wants Hubbard to serve five of those in prison, with the remaining 13 years spent on supervised probation.
The sentence would match Hubbard’s 18 years in the Alabama House of Representatives. The five-year prison term would match his tenure as speaker.
The state also wants the Auburn Republican to pay more than $1.6 million in fines and restitution.
Notice that Lyman uses the same meaningless BS that Archibald used about "18 equals Hubbard's time in the Legislature," and "five matches his time as Speaker." Did this pair of "journalists" work on their stories as a joint homework assignment? Did one plagiarize the other? Are they going to consult a Quija board next?
To be sure, criminal sentencing is a complex topic, including guidelines that judges apparently do not have to follow -- with prison overcrowding, which is particularly severe in Alabama, affecting the whole process.
Judge Walker will conduct a sentencing hearing on July 8, one week from today. In my view, Hubbard should get the minimum of 24 years, and I think he deserves to serve all of that behind bars. But since a split sentence and probation is likely in play, Hubbard should get at least 10 years behind bars, with 14 years of probation.
Anything less than that should produce outrage from the public. Here is the prosecution's sentencing recommendation: