From The Trussville Tribune staff reports
TRUSSVILLE — Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said a change in sentencing guidelines in 2012 caused issues within the justice system, specifically by allowing offenders to get out of jail too soon.
Marshall said the guidelines took away discretion from judges and prosecutors and he hopes a change is made soon.
“Law enforcement, judges and prosecutors are uniquely positioned to know who is the worst of the worst and who needs to be in prison and who doesn’t and we have impacted the ability for that to happen,” said Marshall.
Marshall said one tier of the issue is the bonding system. He said with a capital murder charge being the only charge that allows judges to issue no bond, suspects in severe violent cases are often allowed back on the streets before prosecutors have the chance to convict.
“A judge has responsibility to set a bond depending on the level of the offense and that can be modified,” explained Marshall. “In each situation, we need to examine how it is that it happens and whether or not there was anything different that could’ve been done.”
Another issue, Marshall said, is the bonding system.
“The reality is, someone can find two property owners that will be able to meet the bond and there are bonding companies that are willing to release people for minimum amounts,” he said. “I think that may be some of the things that we ask the legislature to look at.”