As Americans, we should have the utmost respect for the justices who serve on the U.S. Supreme Court.

So, respectfully, there are too many unanswered questions lingering for the top court in the land not to hear an appeal of former Gov. Don Siegelman’s bribery conviction.

Several of those questions were raised right here in DeKalb County, and it was enough a few years ago for the House Judiciary Committee to step in and ask them.

Democrats in 2007 began reviewing Siegelman's 2006 corruption conviction as part of a broader investigation into allegations of political meddling at the Justice Department by the Bush administration.

The effort gained momentum after Republican lawyer Jill Simpson, of Rainsville, who had volunteered for Siegelman’s re-election opponent – former Republican Gov. Bob Riley – said she overheard conversations suggesting that former White House adviser Karl Rove was talking with Justice Department officials about Siegelman's prosecution.

“I think it is a great decision,” Simpson told the Times-Journal in 2008. “I think the House Judiciary Committee should hear from Don Siegelman. He’s a political prisoner, and it’s a step in the right direction. Everyone involved in this is happy.”

On Monday, Siegelman said through his attorney he was disappointed with the Supreme Court’s decision not to hear an appeal.

Siegelman was elected governor in 1998 and served one term before narrowly losing re-election to Riley in 2002, as reports of corruption investigations clouded Siegelman’s administration.

Siegelman was indicted in 2004 on charges of conspiring to rig bids on state Medicaid contracts. Prosecutors dropped the case, however, after a judge ruled there was insufficient evidence to support key charges.

Siegelman was indicted again a year later in a separate bribery and corruption case.

In June 2006, he was convicted on six bribery-related and one obstruction of justice charge. He began serving a sentence of more than seven years last June.

Siegelman was accused of appointing then-HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy to an important hospital regulatory board in exchange for Scrushy arranging $500,000 in disguised contributions to Siegelman’s campaign for a statewide lottery. Siegelman was also convicted of a separate obstruction of justice charge concerning $9,200 he received from former lobbyist Lanny Young to help with the purchase of a motorcycle.

The case, now apparently over, will go back to a federal court in Montgomery, where U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller has ordered a new sentencing hearing for Siegelman. He’s currently free on bond after serving nine months of his original sentence of more than seven years.

But it shouldn’t be over. After being dragged out for the past six years, we deserve some answers. Simpson’s testimony should be considered. This case deserves resolutions.

At the very least, Siegelman’s new sentence should be time served. The guy’s been through quite enough for arguably something he didn’t do.

Disagree with me? Let’s argue it out and see what happens. At this point, what would it hurt?

But to do nothing is, respectfully, the ultimate injustice.

Managing Editor Jared Felkins’ column appears Wednesdays. His email address is jfelkins@times-journal.com. Twitter:

@paperboyfelkins

(2) comments

truthandpeace

“As Americans, we should have the utmost respect for the justices who serve on the U.S. Supreme Court.”

Respect must be earned and many members of the U. S. Supreme Court haven’t earned the Respect, as they have Prostituted what the Founding Fathers wrote in the U. S. Constitution, which each member of the U. S. Supreme Court took an oath, which states in part, “I will preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America,”
In January of 2010, the members of the U. S. Supreme Court, adopted a Decision, which was BLANTALY a Political Decision, in that DECISION they chose to IGNORE what the Founding Fathers wrote in the U. S. Constitution, when they allowed CORPORATIONS to Contribute UNLIMITED AMOUNTS of Money to the Politicians they wish to Purchase as their INDENTURED SLAVES, and called that Money having FREE Speech, but the Founding Fathers never granted Free Speech to anything other than Inidividual American Citizens, did they?
The Founding Fathers NEVER mention Corporations in the U. S. Constitution they wrote, matter of FACT the Constitution of the United States they wrote was to Protect the FREEDOMS and RIGHTS of the individual Citizen of the United States of America, and since Corporations weren’t granted any Rights under the U. S. Constitution, the members of the U. S. Supreme Court, in January 2010, showed their HATE and DISDAIN for what the Founding Fathers penned in the Constitution of the United States and chose to Legislate from behind their Black Robes, what’s the difference in members of the U. S. Supreme Court Legislating from behind their Black Robes and members of the Ku Klux KLAN enforcing their Lynching’s from behind their White Robes, they are both dastardly deeds, but when those people dressed in their Black Robes prostitute what the Founding Fathers wrote in the U. S. Constitution, they enforce their CORRUPTED Political Agenda, with no recourse to the Citizens of this Great nation, but their ACTIONS of STEALING the FREEDOMS and RIGHTS of American Citizens to Further their Political Agenda, is even More dangerous and scurrilous than what those people in their White Robes have done, as what those in their White Robes have done only affects a few people, while what those people in the Black Robes have done, will eventually ENSLAVE The Middle Income Workers of this Nation, and those people in their White Robes could NEVER commit an atrocity anywhere near that atrocious, could they?

The members of the U. S. Supreme Court should RESPECT what the Founding Fathers wrote in the Constitution of the United States of America, that’s the only way they can earn the respect of the American people, isn’t it?

Yes every American should respect the office those members of the U. S. Supreme Court occupy, but again every person has to earn the respect of their peers, otherwise it’s really not respect, but FEAR, or whatever a person might wish to call it, but it certainly isn’t respect, unless those people earn the respect of the people whose lives they affect for years to come, is it?

BTW, the ruling of the Repulbican controlled U. S. Supreme Court, in the Sigeleman Case showed they had rather continue their DISDAIN for the Rights of the individual, than Protect the Rights of an Individual American Citizen who happened to be of the opposing Political Party, their Decision reveals they plan to continue to Further their CORUPTED Political Agenda, no matter how many portions of the U. S. Constitutioin they must shred to accomplish thier CORRUPTED Political Agenda.
The Siegelman Case had the support of about 120 State Attrorney Generals or Former State Attorney Generals, and surly all of those about 120 Attorney Generals, which included Democrats and Republicans, weren't as DUMB as A ROCK, were they?

Andrew Kreig

Great column! As a legal reform advocate, I've been researching irregularities in the Siegelman prosecution for years.This column aptly notes that mysteries remain even after all these years and expense because no oversight body ever dared follow up Rainsville resident Jill Simpson's sworn allegations by examining others under oath.

I've added a link to this column to my group's round-up this week of important commentary from around the nation on the Siegelman decision.

Andrew Kreig
Director, Justice Integrity Project
Washington, DC
www.justice-integrity.org

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