Aniah’s Law would make state safer

Published 6:05 pm Monday, May 3, 2021

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By PAUL DEMARCO / Guest Columnist

It has been a tragic trend across the nation with crime rates soaring this past year. There have been a lot of factors, but for certain the efforts by progressive state legislatures and city councils around the country to hinder law enforcement and prosecutors has contributed to the spike in crime.  Even in our state, the Alabama Legislature has seen too many bills introduced and some actually passed that would weaken the criminal justice system.

Yet, there was a constitutional amendment that lawmakers recently approved that will now go to the voters for consideration that would actually protect the public from violent crime in the future.

The legislation, if it becomes law, would allow judges to deny bail to those charged with committing the most violent of crimes such as murder, kidnapping, rape and first-degree robbery. Currently, the Alabama Constitution only allows a Judge to deny bail in capital murder cases, or if provisions of bond are violated.

The proposed amendment is called Aniah’s Law, named after Aniah Blanchard, a 19-year-old Homewood native who was kidnapped and murdered by a suspect who was free on bond for another kidnapping and attempted murder case. Unfortunately, we have seen this time and time again through the years where criminals walk the street on bond after having committed a violent crime and then commit another violent crime.

It is a failure in the system that many of the most violent and dangerous criminals must be granted a bond after having committed a heinous crime.

Alabama voters should overwhelmingly approve this law when it is on the ballot so the courts can do more to prevent violent crime in our state.

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