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New motion allows media inside for Limestone Co. Sheriff jury selection

Published: Jul. 14, 2021 at 7:48 AM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - After a day and a half of the jury selection process happening behind closed doors, the media is now allowed inside.

This after WAFF 48, the Alabama Press Association, the Alabama Broadcasters Association, and several other media outlets partnered together to file a motion to intervene and open voir dire.

“To open to the public the voir dire proceedings in this case on the grounds that the public has constitutional rights to attend criminal court proceedings and conducting all voir dire in secret is unconstitutionally overbroad,” part of the motion states.

The motion also states that the court held no hearing, and also didn’t enter an order talking about the findings or reason for holding jury selection behind closed doors. Instead, the motion states the court entered a verbal order which prohibited the public from an important part of the trial.

“The Media Movants seek to intervene for the sole purpose of moving this Court to halt secret voir dire and to begin the process over so that as much of the voir dire process as possible is conducted in open court,” states the motion.

Another part of the motion states another alternative would be to give the media and the public a transcript of the proceeding that was held in secret.

Tuesday afternoon, the judge decided to give the media access to the jury selection process. Her instructions are that WAFF 48 and other media outlets do not bring in their phones or cameras.

WAFF 48 was able to see some of the proceedings on Tuesday now that we’ve been given access,

Sheriff Blakely is highly active in the community, so we heard attorneys ask if any potential jurors were friends with him on social media, or if they’ve ridden horses with him.

In this trial Sheriff, Blakely is facing 11 criminal theft and ethics charges, 10 of those are felonies. He’s accused of stealing campaign donations, using Sheriff’s Office money for interest-free loans, and soliciting money from employees.

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