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Special to the News
Attorney General Steve Marshall announced last Friday that the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals upheld the felony ethics and theft convictions of former Limestone County Sheriff Mike Blakely.
In August 2021, following a three-week trial, a Limestone County jury convicted Blakely of using his official position for personal gain and of first-degree theft of property.
Blakely’s ethics conviction stemmed from him taking more than $29,000 in interest-free loans from a safe holding his inmates’ money. The jury heard testimony that Blakely routinely directed his subordinate to give him hundreds of dollars in exchange for IOU notes that accumulated in the safe.
When Blakely’s debt got high enough, he wrote his subordinate a personal check that would have bounced had Blakely not told her to hold the check until he had sufficient funds. Blakely’s theft conviction resulted from him stealing $4,000 of his campaign’s money.
The state presented evidence that Blakely laundered campaign money through a third party and that he attempted to conceal his theft with a fake invoice that he fraudulently reported on his campaign-finance report.
Following Blakely’s convictions, the Honorable Pamela Baschab, who had been appointed to preside over the case by the Alabama Supreme Court, ordered Blakely to serve concurrent three-year sentences in the Franklin County Jail – the maximum available sentence under Alabama’s sentencing guidelines.
Blakely subsequently appealed his convictions to the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals, which rejected his arguments that he was entitled to a mistrial and that there was insufficient evidence to support his ethics conviction.
“I am pleased that the Court today upheld the conviction of Mike Blakely and that he will not evade justice for his abuses of the public’s trust,” said Attorney General Marshall. “I am proud of the excellent work performed by the attorneys and agents of our Special Prosecutions Division, who handled the case at trial, with the valuable assistance of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.”
Marshall also commended Assistant Attorney General Kyle Beckman for his successful work on the appeal of this case.