LIMESTONE COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) — Mike Blakely turned himself into jail to begin his three-year sentence on Friday, February 24.

The former Limestone County sheriff arrived at the Franklin County Jail at around 5:45 p.m.

Attorneys for Blakely have filed a rule 32 petition in a new attempt to appeal his conviction on theft and ethics charges.

Blakely’s lawyers focused on retired Alabama Court of Appeals Judge Pamela Baschab’s status with the state bar association, saying her membership was not active when Blakely went on trial in July 2021. The new filing submitted this morning argues Baschab was not legally qualified to preside over Blakely’s trial because she was not licensed to practice law.

The Alabama Supreme Court rejected his petition for appeal on February 10. Prior to that, the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals also rejected his request to overturn his conviction and sentence — and his request for a rehearing.

Blakely is likely to serve his sentence isolated from the general population.

“He will be housed in the jail,” said Franklin County Sheriff Shannon Oliver. “It will be probably separate from the general population due to his past law enforcement experience. There’s not going to be a lot of different treatment other than he will be a prisoner. But he will be subject to anything any of the others will be. But right now, it’s a new step and we’re just going to have to play it by ear.”

Blakely posted on social media Friday, saying, “The texts and calls have been overwhelming! I appreciate [every one] of you. But I’m gonna have to be signing off for a while. Don’t know if or when I might be able to communicate again. If I’m not out by Easter go ahead and hide the eggs. God is good all the time!”

Blakely, who was the state’s longest-serving sheriff at the time of his conviction, was convicted on theft and ethics charges in 2021. He was sentenced to three years in county jail.

Blakely stated in a post on social media he would be serving his time in Franklin County.

The new appeal addresses an argument that was not part of Blakely’s direct appeal. In those appeals, his attorneys focused on a key state witness who prosecutors said was himself under investigation for theft. The defense argued prosecutors’ failure to disclose details of that investigation harmed Blakely’s case.

The defense also argued that Blakely’s ethics conviction — using his office for personal gain — should be overturned because there was no evidence money he borrowed from jail prisoner accounts ever went missing because Blakely would provide IOUs and later pay the money back.

The defense did raise the issue of the judge’s qualifications in a motion asking Baschab to recuse herself. The judge never responded to that request. The defense also raised the issue in a filing with the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals. The court rejected the defense motion that asked it to send the case back to the trial court so Baschab could recuse herself, allow a new judge to be appointed and dismiss the charges.