Alabama sheriff convicted of theft, ethics charges wants a new trial

Published 10:16 pm Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Former Limestone County Sheriff Mike Blakely on Monday asked a judge for a new trial as he seeks to overturn his conviction on theft and ethics charges.

A defense lawyer argued in court filings that there were multiple legal errors at the trial that ended in Blakely’s conviction. The defense claimed those mistakes included closing the courtroom to spectators and the media for a day during jury selection, violating his right to a public trial.

Such new trial requests are rarely granted after a conviction, but mark the beginning of defense efforts to appeal the conviction.

Blakely was convicted of taking no-interest loans from a jail fund that held prisoners’ money and of stealing $4,000 from his campaign account.

Judge Pam Baschab sentenced Blakely to three years behind bars. Instead of prison, Blakely will get to serve the sentence in a county jail, something prosecutors recommended. However, Baschab specified that it will be at another jail instead of the Limestone County Jail that Blakely ran for decades.