Former Limestone County Sheriff Mike Blakely's felony theft and ethics convictions could be quite costly. Not only is he out of a job, but also he could lose his entire retirement pension.
According to an Alabama law passed in 2014, all state employees receiving retirement benefits would lose their pension if convicted of a felony. For the sheriff of almost 40 years, that would be a significant amount.
Blakely hasn't lost his money yet, because the decision is based on a final conviction. Blakely's defense team will likely go through the appeals process to try and overturn those two guilty verdicts.
If found guilty after the appeal, Blakey's pension benefits would be suspended if he's currently receiving some, or forfeited if he hasn't received any yet. The latter is likely considering he was still an active sheriff.
Local attorney Michael Timberlake says the law does not only apply to state employees convicted of a felony while on the job, it's a felony offense in any manner.
"It is interesting to me that this is not just a rule for state employees that are convicted of felonies during their state employment, like Blakely was. It is just any felony. So if it's conviction of a felony offense in any manner then you would forfeit your state pension," explains Timberlake.
He says the money would likely go back to the state retirement fund and be used for other retirement purposes.
WAAY 31 reached out to the Limestone County Commission to see what their retirement benefits look like for elected officials, but have not heard back at this time.