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Family members of Aniah Blanchard gathered in Auburn on Monday, along with several Alabama mayors, to urge voters to approve a constitutional amendment that expands a judge's ability to deny bail.

Under Alabama's constitution, a person can only be denied bail if they are accused of capital murder. "Aniah's Law" would allow bond to be denied to suspects charged with certain Class A felonies.

Blanchard was killed in 2019 after being abducted from a local fueling station in Auburn. The suspect in the case was out on bond.

Alabama Big 10 Mayors, an organization comprised of the mayors of the state's largest cities, joined members of Blanchard's family to encourage citizens to vote in favor of the proposed Amendment 1.

"No family should have to go through such a tragedy. If this could happen to Aniah, it could happen to anyone. Please keep your family, your friends, and your community safe, and honor Aniah's memory on November 8th," Angela Harris, Blanchard's mother, said in a news release.

Walt Harris, Blanchard's stepfather, was also present at the event.

"The alleged perpetrator should not have been on the streets," Harris said. "This law will give somebody else's child a chance at life, so go out and take a stand at the polls."

The proposed amendment was approved unanimously by the legislature in the 2022 regular session.

Under the proposal, crimes for which bail can be denied would include murder, kidnapping in the first degree, rape in the first degree, sodomy in the first degree, sexual torture, domestic violence in the first degree, human trafficking in the first degree, burglary in the first degree, arson in the first degree, robbery in the first degree, terrorism and aggravated child abuse of a child under the age of six.

To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email craig.monger@1819news.com.

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