By Ryan Michaels
The Birmingham Times
Alabama Mayors Randall Woodfin (Birmingham); Frank Brocato (Hoover) and Walt Maddox (Tuscaloosa) said Monday they support an initiative on Tuesday’s ballot that would give judges the flexibility to deny bail to individuals charged with violent crimes.
Amendment I, more commonly known as Aniah’s Law, would allow judges to deny bond to those who are charged with committing violent crimes including murder, assault, kidnapping, rape, sodomy, domestic violence and human trafficking.
The amendment is named for Aniah Blanchard, who grew up in Homewood and went missing in 2019 and was later found murdered.
Under current state law, the right to bail extends to all offenders, except those who have been charged with a capital offense.
The elected officials are encouraging residents to vote “yes” on the amendment to allow judges to keep hardened criminals off the street.
“[It is] not only Aniah’s unfortunate and untimely death but so many other victims across the state of Alabama, who have been victimized by people who are out on bail for other heinous crimes,” Woodfin said.
Brocato said Aniah’s Law would give [judges] another tool to take violent criminals “most likely that will commit a crime again [a way to] put them behind bars or not release them back into society … to commit [more] crimes.”
Maddox, who stressed that Aniah’s Law has seen bipartisan support, said he has seen the toll on his community by individuals charged with violent crimes and let out on bail.
“If this law would have been in place, Aniah Blanchard would be graduating from Auburn this semester. In my community, I’ve seen too many families lose so much because they were victimized by somebody with a repeat history of violent behavior,” Maddox said.