"Today is a good day."
That's how Cullman County Sheriff Matt Gentry started a press conference Wednesday when he announced lifting the county's no-bail injunction.
The county hasn't been able to issue bonds since 2017 due to a lawsuit claiming the bail system was unconstitutional. Those arrested have since been able to sign themselves out of jail without paying. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit's decision to lift the injunction means the county won its case and can now protect the public from criminal activity.
Gentry said the past five years have been challenging.
"We have fought tooth and nail over the lawsuit," said Gentry.
Law enforcement and citizens in the city have had to deal with the no-bail policy, Gentry added.
"I've had to talk to mommas and daddies, aunts and grandparents that have had a loss because of a no bail system," Gentry revealed. "I've had to talk to families that have begged for help with a no-bail system. That's something that no one should have to do. There's no citizen in Cullman County that should be faced with tragedy because of failures in the system. But today is a good day. Today is the day that we won."
A good example of why bail helps the system, Gentry said, was on Tuesday, the county had 76 failure to appear or failure to pay warrants to serve.
"They believe we have a system that allows them to run amok," he said. "Well, that's not the truth anymore."
The lawsuit, filed by two local attorneys, went to the federal level, and that's when the No Bail injunction was put into place by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama. Gentry said he was thankful the long court battle was over and the county won.
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