ATHENS, Ala. (WHNT) — Former Limestone County Sheriff Mike Blakely’s possible last bid to avoid jail has been denied, according to the Alabama Supreme Court.

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 a county jail.

Blakely’s lawyers filed a petition with the Alabama Supreme Court on Dec. 2, asking it to take up the case after the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals rejected his appeal. The Alabama Attorney General’s Office told News 19 that Blakely was out on bond while his petition for appeal to the Alabama Supreme Court was pending.

He is now facing the prospect of reporting to jail, a spokesman for the Alabama Attorney General’s office told News 19 Friday afternoon.

“The denial of certiorari is a final judgment, and, if the petitioner has been out on bond while the cert petition was pending, under Ala. Code Section 12-22-244 he must turn himself in within 15 days,” Alabama Attorney General’s office spokesman Cameron Mixon said.

The former sheriff had served for 38 years and maintained his innocence throughout the ordeal, saying, “Quite honestly, I wouldn’t be appealing this case if I felt like I was guilty, and everything was hunky-dory in my trial.”

He asked the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals to overturn his conviction and sentence, but the court rejected that appeal — and his request for a rehearing.

The court of criminal appeals issued a ruling in an unrelated case that found, under state law, a person doesn’t have a clear legal right to remain out on an appeal bond.

Blakely’s been free on appeal since shortly after his conviction.

So far, his attorneys have argued — unsuccessfully — that a judge should have declared a mistrial in his case. They say a key witness against him was under investigation by the Attorney General’s office, but prosecutors didn’t give the defense proper notice of that.

They also say while Blakely took money from the Limestone County Jail’s prisoners’ account, he always paid it back and that ultimately, no money was missing.

Now that his appeal has officially been denied, the court is expected to set a date for the former sheriff to report to prison. If that happens, he is likely to serve his sentence isolated from the general population.

Blakely’s Attorney Robert Tuten told News 19 that he and his team feel the case is not over yet.

“While we are disappointed with the ruling we look forward to litigating other issues in the case,” he said. “This is not over yet.”