A Colbert County lawyer has been indicted on a felony charge of bribing a juror, the Alabama Attorney General's Office announced today.
William J. "Billy" Underwood surrendered today at the Colbert County Jail and was released on $5,000 bail, Sheriff Frank Williamson said. Underwood, who practices law in Tuscumbia, was indicted by a Colbert County grand jury on the Class C felony charge, AG Steve Marshall announced in a news release.
Underwood is accused of "offering, conferring or agreeing to confer any pecuniary benefit upon a juror with the intent that the juror's vote, opinion, decision or other action as a juror will thereby be corruptly influenced in Colbert County," the AG's Office said.
Prosecutors haven't publicly identified the case in which Underwood is accused of bribing a juror. In a news release, Underwood said the charge involves "a prospective juror in a case where that individual never went to the courthouse and a jury was never empaneled."
Underwood is represented by William Hovater and W. Brent Woodall.
"Our jury system is the cornerstone to the justice system in our country," Marshall said in a statement. "My office will always work diligently to ensure that our citizens can be confident that justice will prevail when they go into a courtroom in our state.
"Any possible violation of the laws applying to the sanctity of the jury system must always be investigated and prosecuted to the fullest extent under the law," Marshall added. "Whether the alleged offender is an attorney or not, such illegal activity will not be tolerated in our state. Our litigants should never question whether they will be treated fairly when they enter our county courthouses."
Further details about the case haven't been released.
The investigation is ongoing, and anyone with information is urged to contact the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency's Russellville Field Office at 256-436-1344.
If convicted, Underwood faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.