Judge refuses bid to set aside sheriff’s convictions

Published 7:18 am Saturday, August 7, 2021

A judge refused Friday to set aside the felony theft and ethics convictions of a longtime Alabama sheriff who was removed from office because of the guilty verdicts.

Judge Pamela Baschab denied the request by former Limestone County Sheriff Mike Blakely in a one-sentence order that did not explain the legal reasoning for the decision.

The ruling came a day after Blakely’s lawyers asked Baschab to declare a mistrial because a juror didn’t want to vote guilty. The defense filed a sworn statement from a juror who claimed medical conditions caused her to give in and vote to convict the longtime sheriff when she didn’t want to.

Prosecutors objected, arguing in legal papers that such reversals aren’t allowed under the law.

Blakely was convicted Monday on two felony counts of theft and ethics violations. Prosecutors accused him of borrowing money from a jail safe used to hold inmates’ money and depositing $4,000 in campaign funds into his personal account.

Blakely is being held in the jail he rain for nearly 40 years and faces a possible prison term of between two and 20 years for each count at sentencing hearing scheduled for Aug. 20.