Former Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard had the gall last week to request early release after serving only 12 months of a 28-month sentence for crimes he committed under the mantle of his office.
The move should surprise no one; Hubbard ran his public presence on gall and hubris, alternately wielding the mantle of office as a cudgel or as leverage for personal gain.
That behavior caught up with him in 2014 when he was indicted by a Lee County grand jury on 23 felony ethics charges, a turn of events he faced with denial of wrongdoing and his characteristic umbrage:
“Friends, if there was any doubt that this was a political witch hunt, I think it is pretty clear right now that is exactly what it is,” Hubbard wrote in a social media post following his indictment. “This has been going on for two years, dragging on and on, and here they come two weeks before an election and make these allegations. The fact is that we’ve done some great things in this state and some powerful people don’t like it.”
As Hubbard enjoyed his freedom through years of appeals, he was able to winnow the raft of charges against him, but many remained, and when his options were exhausted, he reported to begin a 28-month prison sentence to be followed by eight years of probation.
Now he’s singing a different tune, acknowledging his crimes, apologizing to the people of Alabama and arguing that he’s no danger to re-offend because his crimes were tied to his public office and he is no longer eligible to hold public office.
Forgive us if we are unmoved. Elected officials who abuse the power of their office must be held to account for their crimes against the people. Hubbard alone is responsible for the embarrassment to his family and friends, and the hardships they may face during his incarceration.
Hubbard’s violation of public trust demands that he serve every minute of the sentence he received. He should consider his years of freedom during his appeals as a gift; most people with felony convictions appeal from behind bars.
He has a lot of gall to ask the people of Alabama to free him because he says he’s sorry and won’t do it again.
His motion to the courts deserves a terse, one-word reply: