Former Limestone Co. Sheriff Mike Blakely will soon learn his punishment on two felony convictions

Limestone County Sheriff Mike Blakely mugshot

Blakely has been inside the Limestone County jail for the past two weeks as he waited for his sentencing hearing. Friday, he will find out if he is to remain in that jail, move to a different county jail, or walk out on probation.

Posted: Aug 19, 2021 8:04 PM

Friday morning, former Limestone County Sheriff Mike Blakely will learn his punishment, after being found guilty of two class b felonies.

Blakely has been inside the Limestone County jail for the past two weeks as he waited for his sentencing hearing. Friday, he will find out if he is to remain in that jail, move to a different county jail, or walk out on probation.

"I truly believe that the court system in the state of Alabama will work as it ought to work, and by this time tomorrow afternoon, we will have some guidance as to what will happen," says Judge Martha Lynn Sherrod.

Judge Sherrod knows what to expect of a sentencing hearing, as she's ruled on plenty herself.

"Anytime that you're called upon to rule it's a very, very serious matter," says Judge Sherrod.

To help judges determine a fair sentence, they follow sentencing guidelines.

"The law determines what sentencing guidelines are and they are used exactly as it sounds, as a guide for judges and for prosecutors to give them some idea of what sentences should go along with what crime," explains Judge Sherrod.

On top of the guidelines, prosecutors can submit their sentencing recommendations as well

"The recommendation of the prosecutor is given great weight, but not necessarily the deciding factor," explains Judge Sherrod.

State prosecutors are recommending Blakely serve 36 consecutive months in a county jail outside of Limestone County. Blakely would only serve in county jail because the sentencing guidelines show he is not eligible for state prison.

Judge Sherrod says, "often persons convicted of state crimes do not go to the state penitentiary."

Blakely won't necessarily spend any more time in jail, as he could get probation.

"It will be totally up to the judge in this case," says judge Sherrod.

However, with the longest serving sheriff in Alabama convicted of two theft and ethics violations, the judge could use him as an opportunity to get a message across.

"Do we need to send a message to elected officials that everyone can be treated the same under the law in the state of Alabama?" asks Judge Sherrod.

Former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice, Sue Bell Cobb, will be working for Blakely's defense team during the hearing on Friday, speaking on Blakely's behalf. Cobb used to work in the court of criminal appeals alongside Judge Pamela Baschab, the judge in Blakely's case.

Along with former Chief Justice Cobb, the defense could bring more witnesses to the stand to testify on Blakely's behalf in hopes he does not get the full sentencing the prosecution is recommending.

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