Editor’s Note: This is an opinion column.
By Paul DeMarco
We are now some 60 days from the fall general elections. As a result, Alabama voters will start seeing a slew of campaign advertisements hit the airwaves, billboards, and mailboxes.
The ballot will be long, with many candidates and ten amendments for voters to consider. While some voters may pass on consideration of the amendments, it is important that they support passage of Amendment One.
One of the most important issues voters will consider is this constitutional amendment on the ballot called Aniah’s Law.
This change in the law would allow Alabama Judges to deny bail for certain violent criminal acts such as murder, kidnapping, and aggravated child abuse.
Alabama lawmakers proposed the amendment after the murder of college student Aniah Blanchard by a felon who was out on bail for kidnapping when he committed the crime.
We have seen a revolving door of felons let out of jail after an arrest to go back on the streets to commit another violent crime.
The public has grown weary of these reports. And none are more frustrated than law enforcement, prosecutors, and victims who work together diligently to collect and present evidence of these acts by repeat violent offenders, only to see those individuals be released back to the streets to continue their violent ways.
Recently, the mayors of Alabama’s largest ten cities joined together to publicly support the amendment’s passage.
One would think that judges would already have had such discretion in these cases, but it is past time that we fix this part of the bail laws and give Judges the discretion they need to keep the public safe.
Voters in Alabama should fully support the approval of this law to ensure that violent criminals are kept behind bars to protect the public.
Paul DeMarco is a former member of the Alabama House of Representatives and can be found on Twitter at @Paul_DeMarco.