Shackles, Handcuffs, and Explosive Sentencing

Siegelman, Scrushy led off in shackles and cuffs

Marshals applied shackles, chains and cuffs to Richard Scrushy’s and Don Siegelman’s ankles and wrists as though they were violent criminals. Don writes from prison that he “. . . could tell from Fuller’s anger and demeanor from the bench that he was going to sentence me to some prison time. When he said eighty-eight months, and before I couldn’t even divide it by twelve, I was being taken out a side door, shackled, chained and handcuffed. . .

A stunned courtroom watched Don Siegelman and Richard Scrushy rushed out of the courtroom directly after the sentencing. Scrushy’s wife, Leslie and his children cried quietly upon hearing the sentence. Lori Siegelman, Don’s wife, left abruptly. A dazed Siegelman lawyer was left standing with Siegelman’s belt and jacket because prisoners are not allowed them. From the courthouse Scrushy and Siegelman were taken directly to a Maximum Security Prison without getting to hug their kids or kiss their wives good-bye.

Mark Fuller, the hand picked “hangin’ judge” ordered Siegelman dragged in front of TV camera in manacles—not even allowing him say goodbye to his wife and family. Then Siegelman was sent, reports Scott Horton “around the country, destination unknown, to find a prison for him that was unreachable for his family, attorneys and friends—while his attorney’s office was being broken into and her Siegelman-related files rifled.”

He was manacled and shackled like a crazed killer. Now what does that tell you?

Observers who accused the prosecution of being a political hit job by a “grudge judge,” pointed to the extreme sentencing and draconian treatment as indication of a hidden agenda. As Grant Wood stated in his 60Minutes interview, “He was manacled and shackled like a crazed killer. Now what does that tell you?”

Extreme Sentencing, Draconian Treatment

On Thursday evening, June 28, 2007, Judge Mark Fuller sentenced Don Siegelman to 88 months and $50K in fines and Scrushy to 82 months with $150K in fines. Judge Fuller refused to grant the customary 45 days to report to prison to put their affairs in order, a consideration commonly granted to non-violent white collar convictions. Judge Fuller, who in 2007 was not yet publically exposed as a serial spouse and substance abuser, rationalized his harsh sentencing: “I must impose a fair punishment to reassure all that come before this court that justice is blind.”

Assistant Attorney General Fisher, at the Department of Jusitce, defended the extreme sentencing by writing “The sentences imposed on Don Siegelman and Richard Scrushy reflect the high priority placed by the Department of Justice on the enforcement of our anti-corruption laws.”

The prosecution team, lead by Feaga and Franklin, asked Fuller to severely punish Siegelman and Scrushy to send a message that “government corruption won’t be tolerated.”

But when a Republican Alabama Governor pockets $200,000. . .

Feaga, the lead prosecutor in the Siegelman Case presided over the trial of another Alabama Governor in the early nineties. That Governor was republican Guy Hunt who was found guilty of pocketing over $200,000.00 for his personal benefit. In that case Feaga recommended, not thirty years in prison, but a period of probation. As a result, the republican governor did not spend a day in prison.

Links to Related Articles & Documents

Advisor 06.2007
Sarcasm Justice in Bama
By David G. Bronner

Department of Justice Archive 06.28.07
Former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman and Former Healthsouth CEO Richard Scrushy Sentenced on Bribery, Conspiracy and Fraud Charges

Associated Press 06.29.07
Siegelman, Scrushy Get Prison Terms
By Bob Johnson

NYT Editorial 06.30.07
Questions About a Governor’s Fall

Birmingham News 09.26.09
Leslie Scrushy tells Fox about hardships

Justice Integrity Project 12.29.14
Shackled Siegelman Typifies White House ‘Human Rights’ Charade
by Andrew Kreig JIP Director


Links to Siegelman Articles at

Harper’s Online 06.09.07
Abramoff and “Justice” in the Heart of Dixie
By Scott Horton

Harper’s Online 06.17.07
U.S. Attorneys Scandal–Birmingham and Montgomery
By Scott Horton

Harper’s Online 06.18.07
Of Missing Emails and 18-Minute Gaps
By Scott Horton Jn18

Harper’s Online 06.26.07
Prosecution Continues to Disintegrate in Siegelman Case
By Scott Horton

Harper’s Online  06.28.07
Siegelman Sentenced; Riley Rushes to Washington
by Scott Horton

Harper’s Online  11.01.07
Siegelman Updates
by Scott Horton

About Friends of Siegelman

Friends of Siegleman is a group of volunteers who are composed of family, friends, and colleagues of the former Alabama Governor, Don Siegelman. We believe that he was unjustly politically prosecuted.