Samford Law Dean speculates on upcoming Langford sentence

By Johnathan Hardison

TUSCAlOOSA, AL (WBRC) - How much time will former Birmingham mayor Larry Langford serve in prison? He will find out on Friday when Langford stands before a federal judge in Tuscaloosa.

Former federal judge John Carroll has sentenced hundreds of defendants from the bench. Now, as dean of Samford's Cumberland Law School, he studies cases like Mayor Langford's and says this Friday's sentencing could go a number of different ways.
"The most important thing Judge Coogler said which gives an indication of the sentencing is how much he views a violation of the public trust as being something very serious," Carroll said. "I think that signals that he thinks what Mayor Langford was convicted of is something warranting a significant sentence."

How long could that sentence be? Carroll says something like 15 years in prison would probably be within the guidelines, but believes number could go lower or much higher depending on what happens inside the federal courthouse on Friday.

"Whether Mayor Langford's comments are going to play much of a part, I'm not so sure," Carroll said. "But certainly he'll bring people on to show what a good guy he is and that sort of thing, but the real benchmark is that guideline sentence."

While Langford is certain to face jail time, no one knows whether he will be given a few weeks or a month to report to prison, as former co-defendants Bill Blount and Al LaPierre were, or if he could be taken to jail immediately like former Governor Don Siegleman.

"Judge Coogler has to look at 3 things," Carroll said. "Is he a flight risk or a danger to the community? I don't think so. But the question, the 3rd factor is do you have issues on appeal that are likely to be successful. And if the judge thinks there aren't any of those, he could well order him confined at that point."

Langford's sentencing begins at 9:30 am Friday at the federal courthouse in Tuscaloosa with Judge Scott Coogler presiding.

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