Editor’s Note: This is an opinion column.
By Paul DeMarco
When it comes to politics, it is easy to understand why the public is so easily jaded.
They hear politicians make promises, only to break them soon enough. So when you finally see something positive happen from lawmakers, it is something that should draw praise. Our state needed new laws to protect against violent predators, and the Alabama Legislature delivered a solution.
Alabama lawmakers sent Aniah’s Law to the voters for them to decide whether to give judges the necessary power to keep violent felons behind bars as they await trial. The judges now have the discretion to deny bond for those alleged to have been charged with serious crimes such as murder, rape, kidnapping, sodomy, and domestic violence. These are suspects prosecutors need to be able to keep behind bars because of concerns they may commit another violent crime if released back on the streets.
The new addition to the state Constitution was approved, and this week, the law is being used to try to keep a felon behind bars who was accused of a New Year’s Eve shooting in Mobile, where one individual was killed and seven wounded. This law is working as intended by keeping violent felons off of the streets and to protect the public safety. And while this is not the first time the law has been used since it became law, hopefully, judges will use this law as necessary to protect or communities.
And in doing so, honors the memory of Aniah Blanchard, for whom the bill was named.
Paul DeMarco is a former member of the Alabama House of Representatives and can be found on Twitter at @Paul_DeMarco.