LIMESTONE COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) — Attorneys for former Limestone County Sheriff Mike Blakely were in court on his behalf today, this time to argue before a judge regarding the grounds of their latest appeal efforts.
Attorneys for the Alabama Attorney General’s Office, which prosecuted Blakely in 2021, also argued their case.
Blakely was not present for the hearing in Limestone County today. However, the attorneys with the Alabama Attorney General’s Office and Blakely’s team of defense attorneys met with newly appointed, retired Judge Tim Jolley in court.
Prosecutors told the court why they believe it should dispose of the claims of the Rule 32 petition filed by the defense. Blakely’s defense disagreed entirely.
The issue with retired Judge Pamela Baschab’s state bar license is the basis for the defense’s rule 32 petition, which is its latest attempt at appealing Blakely’s conviction.
Blakely’s attorneys argue Baschab’s lack of proper license to practice law at the time of Blakely’s criminal trial means the proceedings were unconstitutional, and therefore, he should get a new trial.
The state told retired Marshall County Judge Tim Jolley that the claims within the petition do not entitle Blakely to any relief.
However, Judge Jolley did not make a decision on the matter.
The state said that Blakely’s claims fail procedurally, largely because they could have been raised at trial or during his direct appeal but they were not. The state said that Blakely could have discovered the issue with Baschab’s license during the trial and brought it up there, but failed to do so.
The defense says it presumed that the judge’s affairs were in order when she was appointed to the case.
In August 2021, Blakely was found guilty on two counts and not guilty on eight counts by a jury following a trial lasting more than two weeks. He is currently serving his sentence in the Franklin County Jail.
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Judge Jolley says he will issue a ruling on the state’s motion for summary disposition – that effort to dispose of all the defense’s claims within its Rule 32 petition – at a later time. If he does not grant the state’s motion, the judge says he will confer with the parties about a date that works for everyone for the Rule 32 hearing.