Former State Rep. Perry O Hooper (R-Montgomery) is asking the legislature and the courts to increase the bail requirements for violent criminals and particularly murder after murder rates have risen nationally these past two years and across Alabama.

“The sad reality of the year 2022 is that on an ever-increasing basis, someone who is out of jail on bail commits another crime,” Hooper said. “In many cases, even then they are able to get out again on another bond. There seems to be more [consideration] shown to the perpetrator than the victim.

“In our capital city of Montgomery, 24 people charged with murder are out on bail free to commit more crimes and terrify our neighborhoods. Their bail is ridiculously low at $150,000.

“As 2022 has begun, the most unbelievable case of low bail has just occurred,” Hooper said. “Tory Johnson shot and killed an innocent bystander and critically wounded six others at a local bowling alley. He was arrested and released on bail almost immediately while his victims were still in the hospital. This catch and release must stop.”

In Mobile, Mayor Sandy Stimpson said that 125 murderers are out on bond contributing to that city’s most violent year ever. 

“Montgomery County District Attorney Daryl Bailey has taken the bull by the horns,” Hooper said. “His testimony before the Criminal Rules Committee of the Alabama Supreme Court convinced them to recommend to the Court an increase in the bail amount for murder from $150,000 to $1.5 million. This recommendation was sent to the court in October and the Supreme Court has yet to act. I strongly urge the Supreme Court to accept these recommendations and act immediately to increase the bail for murder. If they do not act, the legislature, which is now in session, must act to rectify this situation. Murderers must not be let back out on the streets to commit more crimes.”

In 2021, the legislature passed Anaiah’s law. Anaiah’s law was named for Anaiah Blanchard, a college student in Auburn who was kidnapped, raped, and killed allegedly by a man who was out on bond for kidnapping.

Anaiah’s law reformed the system somewhat to allow the district attorney to ask a judge to deny bond to a very violent offender.

What Bailey is asking for is to raise the bond cost for murderers and the most violent offenders. Typically, bonding companies will post bond for a defendant who can provide 10% to 20% down.

There is more pressure on lawmakers to get tough on crime due to the waves of violence seen over the last two years. Birmingham had 136 murders in 2021, just nine short of its all-time record. Jefferson County as a whole had 213. 

Mobile set a new record year for murders with over 50. In many cases, the friends and family will not cooperate with authorities, because they want to go out and deal with the offenders themselves on the streets.

“A victim today is probably going to be an offender next week, or my victim today was an offender last week,” Mobile Police Department Chief Paul Prine told reporters.

Montgomery had 75 murders in 2021. That is up from 68 in 2020 and just 42 in 2019.

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