Blount County District Attorney Pam Casey has long been on the record in opposition to the 2021 so-called criminal justice legislation that is now coming home to roost for some crime victims.
The 2021 bill passed during a special session of the legislature for new prison construction funding will allow for the early release of nearly 400 inmates, some of which were convicted of violent crimes, including murder and rape.
One might wonder how such legislation could be passed by an Alabama Legislature controlled by a Republican supermajority with limited opposition.
According to Casey, the threat to District Attorney budgets around the state might have something to do with that.
During an interview with Mobile radio FM Talk 106.5 on Friday, Casey said the implied threat had to be taken into consideration. She also urged the new legislature to fix the law.
"If you want my opinion – the DAs have to rely on the legislature for their budget, and sometimes there's this fear that if you oppose our bills, we'll gut your budget," Casey said. "You know, that's my opinion. That's been my impression and feelings over the years. I've been a DA since 2011, and always the fear of 'don't oppose certain bills because if you do, they'll mess with your budget."
"You can never not worry about an early release bill," she continued. "I feel like the legislature has let the crime victims of Alabama down if they don't fix this. They have an opportunity to fix this in this next legislative session. I will be eager to see who is going to step up and fix it."
The Blount County prosecutor also chalked up the passage to horse trading within the legislative branch.
"I just don't get it, I don't get it," she said. "I think there are too many special interests. 'We've got to do this, so you've got to vote this way, so I will vote this way.' You know, that dominates legislatures across the country. 'You vote my bill, I vote your bill.' I think that was kind of what was going on."
Jeff Poor is the executive editor of 1819 News and host of "The Jeff Poor Show," heard Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-noon on Mobile's FM Talk 106.5. To connect or comment, email jeff.poor@1819News.com or follow him on Twitter @jeff_poor.
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