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Former Alabama governor’s law license restored

The former Alabama Governor says COVID-19 has brought our prisons problems to the forefront.
The former Alabama Governor says COVID-19 has brought our prisons problems to the forefront.(SOURCE: WAFF ARCHIVES)
Updated: May. 24, 2021 at 12:46 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman’s law license has been restored years after he was disbarred due to a conviction that sent him to prison.

The reinstatement process is lengthy and requires “a great deal of requested material,” according to Roman Shaul, General Counsel for the Alabama State Bar.

Requirements also state that the disbarred attorney has “the evidentiary burden to demonstrate that they have the character and fitness to practice law,” Shaul added.

Like any other person seeking to be readmitted to practice law, Siegelman had to wait five years before he could make a petition. Shaul said the reinstatement process includes an adversarial proceeding in which the petition goes to a five-member Disciplinary Board with Siegelman, as the disbarred attorney, on one side of the table and attorneys representing the Alabama Bar Association on the other.

Shaul said the Alabama State Bars attorney’s “vigorously cross examined each witness and at the end did not take a position for or against his petition.”

“The Disciplinary Board found that Siegelman met his evidentiary burden and noted that he took responsibility for his actions, showed remorse, had excellent character references and had paid all outstanding fees and fines associated with his conviction,” Shaul explained.

Siegelman, now 75, will have to take 60 hours of Continuing Legal Education as a condition of his reinstatement, due to the extended period of time that has passed since he was last able to practice law.

Siegelman’s actual petition for reinstatement is not a public document, Shaul said, meaning it’s not available for media review.

Alabama’s 51st governor was convicted on federal bribery charges in 2006 and served nine months in prison before a court approved his release on bond pending an appeal.

In 2012, the man who had won four separate constitutional offices in Alabama (Secretary of State, Attorney General, Lt. Governor, Governor) found himself re-sentenced to six years, which he served at Oakdale Federal Prison in Louisiana.

Siegelman was released from federal prison in early 2017 and placed on supervised release for a 3-year period. A judge later allowed that release to end in 2019, a year ahead of schedule.

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