Retired judge assigned to former sheriff's case

Mar. 17—A retired circuit court judge from Marshall County was assigned to former Limestone Sheriff Mike Blakely's case.

All the judges in Limestone County recused themselves from the case in February after a Rule 32 "Petition for Relief from Conviction or Sentence" was filed in the county's circuit court. The Alabama State Supreme Court assigned Ret. Hon. Allen T. Jolley on Wednesday, March 15.

The petition claims Blakely's defense did not know that the judge in his criminal case, Judge Pamela Baschab, did not have an active state bar license.

"The defendant and his defense team learned about the judge's license deficiency after the defendant's appeal had already been filed," the petition reads.

Blakely's original conviction was handed down from a jury on Aug. 2, 2021, for charges of theft of property and use of position for personal gain. His 36-month sentence was ordered by Judge Baschab on August 20 that year. He had pled not guilty and appealed the conviction.

The Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the conviction and overruled an application for rehearing on Sept. 30, 2022, and Nov. 18, 2022. Blakely appealed to the Alabama State Supreme Court, and his conviction was affirmed on Feb. 10, 2023. He reported to the Franklin County jail for his sentence on February 24 and on that same day the Rule 32 was filed in Limestone County's court.