Justice has come to a screeching halt in Alabama. Defendants facing 285-year prison terms are being allowed to leave the state. At least two civil cases have been delayed -- one by poetry. And what, you might ask, is the cause of this sudden shutdown of the courts? The only thing important enough in Alabama to cause such a commotion: College football.
Yes, Auburn's pending appearance in the BCS National Championship Game has apparently helped more than a few judges find the Christmas spirit and order delays and, in the latest case, a 72-hour pass for casino owner Milton McGregor, charged with bribing state politicians, to go to Arizona for the game.
If McGregor's name sounds vaguely familiar, it was because he was briefly mentioned in connection with the Cam Newton recruitment scandal. FBI agents reportedly asked some people involved in Newton's recruitment about McGregor, though there's since been no reason to believe that they turned up anything to link McGregor to Newton's decision to attend Auburn.
In any case, there's no word on whether the judge in McGregor's case, Terry Moorer, answered in verse, as has happened in at least one civil case in the state. Jefferson County Circuit Judge Scott Vowell:
But wait! Christmas is only two weeks away
And not much time would be lost with a short delay.
The court must be fair to every side,
and last year a trial was postponed for the Tide.
A federal judge has also granted a delay in another civil case.
If all of this strikes you as a bit odd, let this Alabama native assure you that this it seems quite normal to all of us. McGregor hasn't been found guilty yet, and even if he were, the U.S. Constitution bans cruel and unusual punishment.
As for civil cases, who cares? The money will still be there when the lawyers get back. Unless, of course, the defendant puts it all on Auburn and the Ducks win -- which would really be punishment enough for a true fan.