LIMESTONE COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) — A Limestone County judge has dismissed former Limestone County Sheriff Mike Blakely’s Rule 32 petition, his attorney’s latest appeal effort.
Judge Tim Jolley, who was recently appointed to the case, ruled to dismiss the petition Saturday, stating it was “insufficient to merit relief.” The order came after a hearing regarding the appeal effort on May 10.
In August 2021, Blakely was found guilty on a theft of property and use of office for personal gain charges, and not guilty on eight counts by a jury following a trial lasting more than two weeks.
In the Rule 32 petition, 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 filings argued Baschab was not legally qualified to preside over Blakely’s trial because she was not licensed to practice law.
The state alleged at the hearing that Blakely’s claim is “procedurally barred” because they did not raise concern about Judge Baschab’s license at trial and on previous appeal. Blakely’s attrneys did not file the petition until more than a year after he was sentenced.
Judge Jolley said in his order dismissing the petition, “This Court declines Blakely’s invitation to graft onto the Constitution or the Code of Alabama an additional, unstated requirement that the Chief Justice may only appoint retired judges who maintain an active license to practice law with the Alabama State Bar. Because neither requires a retired judge—not least one with more than thirty years of unblemished service—to maintain an active license to practice law, Judge Baschab’s appointment was lawful and proper.”
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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 was sentenced to three years for the theft and ethics charges he was convicted on and is currently serving his sentence in the Franklin County Jail.