LIMESTONE COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) — Attorneys for former Limestone County Sheriff Mike Blakely are asking an Alabama appeals court to return jurisdiction in his case to the trial court, as part of an ongoing effort to overturn Blakely’s 2021 conviction on theft and ethics charges.
The filing Wednesday evening is part of the defense team’s efforts to overturn Blakely’s conviction and three-year jail sentence on the grounds that trial Judge Pamela Baschab did not have an active law license during Blakely’s trial.
The defense has asked Baschab to overturn the conviction, or failing that, to recuse herself from the case.
The judge has not responded to the recusal motion filed last week.
Prosecutors from the Alabama Attorney General’s Office argued that the motion to overturn filed in Limestone County Circuit Court is not allowed, since the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals is now hearing Blakely’s appeal.
The defense’s new motion seeks to remedy that by asking the appeals to “re-vest” jurisdiction back to the trial court for Baschab – or if she recuses – her successor, to take up.
The defense filed a motion last week arguing that under Alabama law Baschab was not legally able to hear the Blakely case because she had failed to keep her Alabama Bar Association membership current.
Baschab, a retired judge, was appointed by Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Tom Parker in February 2021 to hear the Blakely case. Baschab has a letter from the bar association dated January of 2021 which said a retired judge is exempt from licensing requirements.
The defense motion filed Wednesday asks the appeals court to re-vest authority in the circuit court only to hear its two challenges to Baschab. The defense filing notes Blakely does not want to dismiss his appeal.