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State Rep. Chip Brown (R-Mobile) is encouraging voters ahead of the midterm elections to vote “yes” on ballot Amendment 1 regarding Aniah’s law.
The law is named after Aniah Blanchard, who was kidnapped from a convenience store in Auburn in 2019, assaulted, and ultimately murdered by a suspect out on bail after being accused of similar crimes.
By giving judges the ability to deny bail to suspects charged with violent offenses, the new law hopes to prevent something like that from happening again, Brown said during Monday's episode of Midday Mobile.
Currently, only suspects charged with capital murder can be held without bond.
“What this does is allow a prosecutor to request an individual be held without bond if they commit a violent, Class A felony,” Brown said. "Rapes, kidnappings, violent domestic assault, terrorism — currently under Alabama law, they would make bond.”
If a judge chooses to hear the request, Brown said the prosecutor would present his case to deny bond in an evidentiary hearing.
“You have to meet a threshold,” Brown said. “The person has to be either an imminent threat to the community, themselves or a flight risk, and the evidence that’s presented in that hearing is not admissible in the actual court case.”
Brown said the judge could then decide to deny or grant bond based on the evidence presented in the hearing.
“What that does is that allows prosecutors and judges to have an extra tool to really keep dangerous predators off our streets… This [law] has the opportunity to stop what we call the revolving door of crime and allowing dangerous predators back on our streets. But we have to vote yes on this.”
Brown said the bill passed the state House and Senate unanimously with full bipartisan support.
“The governor signed it. But in order for it to take effect, it has to pass on November 8.”
In drafting the amendment, Brown said he made sure it was written plainly as possible on the ballot to avoid any confusion on Election Day.
“This [bill] is very sound from a constitutional standpoint. It will save lives.”
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