ATHENS, Ala. — Former Limestone County sheriff Mike Blakely remains behind bars after being found guilty of two felonies: Use of Official Position or Office for Personal Gain, related to interest-free loans from safe/Limestone County inmates, and Theft of Property in the First Degree, related to Red Brick Strategies Check. Each conviction carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $30,000.
According to Acting Sheriff and Limestone County Coroner Mike West, Blakely is in 'Administrative Segregation' for his safety as he is a former law enforcement officer. He is behind secure doors and must be escorted to go anywhere. He has a bunk, bathroom, and TV.
West says Blakely is being treated like any other inmate and gets all jail activity that any other inmate gets, including visitors. He does not have a phone or special phone privileges. He's not in a jumpsuit, as he is being treated as a "trustee", but he can't walk around like other trustees. West says this is for his safety.
West is not sure if he has the ability to move Blakely. He said that because Blakely has not been sentenced, that's up to the judge
Blakely did spend his first night in custody at the Sheriff's Office with a corrections officer with him at all times. This is because the jail did not have a place to isolate him at that time.
West will serve as sheriff until Governor Kay Ivey names a replacement. West says that will not be him. He says he is not making any policy changes or toughing any funds. Any changes will be up to the new sheriff.
His sentencing hearing is on August 20, but his defense team wants him released on bond until that time. The state objected to this, and now it's in the hands of the judge. It's up to her to decide whether Blakely can be freed on bond before his sentencing hearing, the date of which was set by the judge.
According to court documents, Blakely is requesting a bond pending sentencing. While the Alabama Criminal Code has rules for setting bond after conviction and sentencing, tied to the length of the sentence, attorneys for Blakely are asking for the court to set a bond prior to sentencing.
In its Opposition to the Defendant's Motion for Bond, the state says, "Because Defendant Blakely has not yet been sentenced, it is entirely within this Court’s discretion whether to grant bond prior to sentencing." It goes on to say that, "The State understands that it is standard practice in Limestone County to deny bond to defendants who have been found guilty but have not yet been sentenced. The State submits that Blakely has not offered any persuasive reason to be treated differently than any other criminal defendant in his home County."
In its response to the state, Blakely's attorneys argue, "Contrary to the State’s position, it is customary for convicted individuals to remain on bond, or to be given a new bond subsequent to finding of guilt, and prior to the sentencing of a defendant in Limestone County, Alabama," and cites a case of a man who pleaded guilty to crimes and was allowed to remain on bond until his sentencing.
The state responded, "It is customary practice in Limestone County for a defendant found guilty at trial to be held until his or her sentencing. That was the scenario the State was referring to in its opposition to Defendant Blakely’s request to be released pending sentencing. To be clear, Blakely is asking for a benefit that the people that he and his former deputies arrested would not receive in Limestone County if they went to trial and were convicted," and that the case cited was inappropriate because the man pleaded guilty rather than going to trial.
There's no decision on when or if a bond hearing might be set.