Friday, February 16, 2018

Ex Alabama Rep. Micky Hammon gets three months in prison for essentially stealing more than $50,000, showing our justice system is hopelessly broken

Micky Hammon
A former Alabama lawmaker yesterday was sentenced to three months in prison and ordered to pay more than $50,600 in restitution for converting campaign funds to his personal use. The downfall of former House Majority Leader Micky Hammon (R-Decatur) represents another sad chapter in Alabama's culture of corruption. But it also provides more evidence of gross inequities in our justice system -- whether it crosses jurisdictional boundaries from Alabama to Michigan, or whether it's contained in The Heart of Dixie.

How soft was the court's treatment of Hammon, who became majority leader when Republicans took over the Alabama House in 2010 and maintained that position until 2017? (He was a close ally of former House Speaker Mike Hubbard, who has been convicted on corruption charges.) Prosecutors actually asked U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson to order no prison time for Hammon. When is the last time you've heard of federal prosecutors going that easy on a defendant? Heck, even Thompson could not believe it -- and he could not abide by the request. Reports

Thompson said he found the recommendation for no prison time unusual. The judge indicated he thought that would send the wrong message to other public officials. He said Hammon violated the trust of those who gave to his campaign.

"I don't see how I cannot give him some time in prison," Thompson said.

Thompson ordered Hammon to serve three years of supervised probation after release.

[Stephen] Shaw, Hammon's attorney, asked Thompson to reconsider the sentence or allow Hammon to serve it on weekends. Shaw said that would allow Hammon to continue to work.

Thompson said the sentence was reasonable, fell within guidelines and was "sufficient but not greater than necessary."

The guidelines allowed the judge to impose a fine of up to $20,000, but he imposed no fine, citing Hammon's inability to pay.

Hammon wound up pleading guilty to one count of mail fraud. From the report:

Former Alabama House Majority Leader Micky Hammon of Decatur was sentenced to three months in prison today and ordered to pay $50,657 in restitution for converting campaign contributions to personal use.

U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson sentenced Hammon this morning in Montgomery. Hammon will report to a federal facility to begin his sentence on March 29."

"Converting campaign contributions to personal use"? That's a polite way of saying Hammon stole funds intended for campaign purposes and used them for personal reasons. So did Hammon get off unbelievably easy? The answer is yes, and we can compare his case to three others -- showing the justice system makes little or no effort to produce even the appearance of fairness or "equal protection under the law."

(1) Don Siegelman -- The former governor was sentenced to more than six years in federal prison, even though no evidence pointed to him benefiting by one penny from a contribution that went to a campaign fund for an education lottery. No evidence pointed to an unlawful "explicit quid pro quo" -- the standard required for a bribery conviction involving a campaign-contribution -- and no such jury instruction was given. On top of that, it's undisputed that the government brought its case almost one full year after the five-year statute of limitations had expired, meaning the Siegelman case never should have gone to trial, much less ending with a conviction.

Bottom line? Siegelman spends six-plus years in federal prison, while not pocketing any money. Hammon steals more than $50,000 and is sentenced to three months -- and prosecutors don't want him to serve any time. Fair? Don't make us laugh.

(2) Charles Todd Henderson -- The duly elected district attorney of Jefferson County, Henderson is set for sentencing on March 8 after his conviction last October on perjury charges. Evidence at trial, however, showed Henderson did not come close to committing perjury -- suggesting either the case was fixed, or jurors were smoking a powerful form of meth during deliberations. Here is how described the Henderson trial:

Henderson's perjury case was based on information he was in a relationship with Yareima Carmen Valecillos Akl during her divorce with then-husband Charbel Akl. Henderson was appointed in January 2016 as the guardian ad litem of the Akls' young child, but was later removed from the position.

After his removal, Henderson testified during the Akls' September divorce trial and twice denied staying with Mrs. Akl at her apartment, but surveillance evidence showed Henderson had stayed at the apartment on several occasions.

Just a slight problem with's version of events: It's not true.  As we've shown in several posts (see here, here, and here), the key question in the Henderson case came when he was asked if he had ever spent the night at Ms. Akl's home. Did a surveillance report prove Henderson spent the night at Akl's home? Not even close, as we reported multiple times. In fact the private-investigator report showed huge gaps in the surveillance -- four hours, five hours, 15 hours, 19 hours -- when Henderson clearly could have left, with PIs having no idea where he was.

The conviction in the Henderson case is a joke, and it must be overturned on appeal if the Alabama court system cares about maintaining any signs of competence or fairness. For sure, Henderson should not spend one moment in prison, and he should be returned to the position he won fair and square -- as a Democrat, over Republican incumbent Brandon Falls.

(3) Legal Schnauzer -- I spent five months in the Shelby County Jail (from 10/13 to 3/14) as fallout from a defamation lawsuit filed by GOP operative Rob Riley and lobbyist Liberty Duke. In essence, I was incarcerated for reporting on this blog about a personal relationship involving Riley and Duke -- and my reporting, by the way, has never been proven false or defamatory as a matter of law.

My case involved nothing remotely criminal. My arrest was based on a preliminary injunction and contempt order, both of which have been prohibited by more than 230 years of First Amendment law. I spent five months in jail for practicing journalism, becoming the first U.S. reporter to be incarcerated since 2006. I was the only journalist in the western hemisphere to be incarcerated in 2013.

But get this: I spent two more months in jail -- for lawfully practicing journalism, in a totally civil matter -- than Micky Hammon will spend for essentially stealing more than $50,000. Don Siegelman spent almost six more years behind bars than Hammon will spend -- and the record is clear that Siegelman committed no crime and was the target of the most grotesque political prosecution in American history. The Charles Todd Henderson perjury case is a travesty -- clearly driven by the Riley political machine, upset that Henderson beat their boy (and protector) Brandon Falls -- but there is no telling what kind of sentence Henderson will receive from wildly corrupt Judge Sibley Reynolds.

The American "justice system"? Ain't it grand?

It is, for some reason, if you're Mickey Hammon.


Anonymous said...

Hammon must have dirt out the wazzoo on somebody.

Anonymous said...

I think the wife-beating judge in Siegelman case wanted to give him 88 months, instead of the 78 he wound up with. And Hammon gets three months? What a joke.

Anonymous said...

Schnauzer, you seem to think you know better than the jury in the Henderson case. How is that, since you weren't there for trial.

legalschnauzer said...

@8:55 --

I do know better than the Henderson jury, and you should too if you can read. The PI report was published in the press, and it's not hard to read. It includes massive gaps -- 19 hours, 15 hours, etc. -- where there was no surveillance, and the PI had no idea where Henderson was. It was a joke, but a man was convicted of "perjury" because of it. Check up on Sibley Reynolds, and it will tell you all you need to know about the Henderson trial.

Juries are not sacrosanct. Jurors can be lazy, stupid, ill-informed, prejudiced, and corrupted. We know the Siegelman jury was a circus, and the Henderson jury must have been about the same.

Anonymous said...

The Hammon sentence would have to improve to be a slap on the wrist.

Anonymous said...

A Henderson Attorney which did not represent him at trial allowed Hart to enter the P.I. report into the Court Record at a March 18, 2017 hearing. Therefore it was not part of the September 2016 Court Records where Henderson was accused of lying.

legalschnauzer said...

@9:20 --

Not sure what you're saying. Are you saying the PI report was not part of the trial in Oct. 2017? That seems to contradict reporting at

Anonymous said...

9:20 here
Just saying that the P.I. report was entered into the 2016 court record at a March 2017 hearing to be used at the Oct 2017 trial.

Anonymous said...

9:20 again
" Judge Patricia Stephens recounted in a closed door meeting with Lawyers after Henderson testified that he and Aki never spent the night together. She was shown evidence that it was a lie." So! She was shown "evidence" after the sept 2016 hearing , "evidence" which was entered into the Sept 2016 court record at the March 18 2017 hearing which was used as "evidence" at the Oct 2017 trial and because it was already "evidence" in the Sept 2016 court transcript - the Private Investigator need not be at the Oct 2017 trial to enter the report as "evidence."

legalschnauzer said...

@10:20 --

I don't know what evidence Stephens was shown, but if it was that PI report, it does nothing to show Henderson's statement was a lie.

Stephens statements and actions in the case are very peculiar.

Anonymous said...

If a black guy takes $50,000, he's stealing. If a white guy takes $50,000, he's "converting" it.

Gee, almost sounds like the white guy is using his mystical white powers to double or triple the amount of money -- which he also will keep, I mean "convert."

Anonymous said...

Hammon must have been buds with Rob and Bob Riley. This all sounds like a trick straight from the Riley Inc. playbook.

Thomas S. Bean said...

Crime always pays if you're a Republican, a cop, a fed, or ex military.

Special people, get special privileges because......they're special and you're not.

To be have to be deviant, criminal, or conformist to the Groupthink criminality.

You have to be a Republican.

Republican, ball busting, CIA, ONI, Marine Corp vet, former SD Gov, Bill Janklow got a hundred days in county, after running over a motorcyclist resulting in death. A woman in Sioux Falls, SD, got 7 years in state prison for running over a pedestrian.

Anonymous said...

When you say that our justice system is hopelessly broken you are wrong. The system is working just like it was intended to work. While we like say that justice is blind, that's bullshit and most of us know this. We have just the system we asked for. Time after time we go to the polls and vote for the politician with R by their names. The D party we are told is the party of the far left. The party who only care for the needs of blacks or illegal immigrants. Since 2010 and the storming of the statehouse here in bamaland the R's have been laughing all the way to the bank. We the voters have been played the fools we are. The system we voted for, the system we see in action here today is a system that favors white people with money. Let us be true to ourselves, the system is not broken. It's working just like it was set up to work. We have no one to blame but ourselves. Until we grow the balls to state in public that maybe the D party is just what the state needs, don't look for anything to change.