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Desperation without contrition

Desperation without contrition

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They — whoever “they” may be — have long said that a sincere apology goes a long way toward making amends. That’s underscored by a practice in judicial proceedings; judges consider sincere contrition when weighing whether to extend leniency to convicted felons.

That’s what former Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard was counting on when, after a year in lockup, he signed a letter to Lee County Circuit Judge Jacob Walker seeking a reduction in his 28-month sentence for his conviction on corruption charges.

In the letter, Hubbard stated, “I recognize and admit my errors,” adding, “My conviction has severely damaged and embarrassed me and my family, friends, former constituents, community, church, the legislature and the state of Alabama. For this, I am severely sorry and respectfully ask forgiveness from everyone affected.”

Sincere contrition, however, is questionable. In opposition to the request, prosecutors presented evidence from emails and 600 of Hubbard’s phone calls from prison, showing that Hubbard told friends and family members that he had done nothing wrong, and that he “held his nose and signed” the letter to Walker.

Hubbard enjoyed four years of freedom during unsuccessful appeals following his conviction in 2016, and his original 48-month sentence was reduced to 28 months before he reported to prison last year.

There are, however, nuggets of truth in his appeal for leniency. His crimes have embarrassed the state of Alabama, and his attempt to slick-talk his way out of prison reeks of desperation.


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