Legislature must address repeat violent felons with changes

Published 10:11 pm Monday, August 3, 2020

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By PAUL DeMARCO | Guest Columnist

Note: This is an opinion column.

In the past year, we have seen what happens when our justice system fails and violent felons are let out of jail only to commit more violent crimes.

And it has happened again in Alabama. A Montgomery man who was free on bond after awaiting trial on five rape, and seven sodomy cases has now been charged with another first degree rape.

The man had been in jail after being accused of raping five different women in 2016, was indicted in 2017, and was awaiting trial.

Following the delay in the trial due to the COVID-19 shutdown, he was let out of jail after a judge removed the cash stipulation from his bond on the five rape first degree and seven sodomy first degree charges.

The state legislature must address the way judges administer bonds and prohibit dangerous individuals from being released onto the streets to victimize the public.

This man should have never been released on the streets to commit another rape.

Let’s push our state legislature to strengthen the laws to keep this from happening again.

A good start would be for the legislature to give judges the discretion to deny bail to offenders who are charged with class A or B felony violent crimes while awaiting trial.

We, as citizens must also do our part and hold those accountable at election time for decisions, that put the public safety at risk.

Paul DeMarco is a former member of the Alabama House of Representatives.