AUBURN — Mayors of three North Alabama cities were among the Alabama Big 10 Mayors today in Auburn to discuss the Aniah’s Law constitutional amendment.
Amendment 1 will be on the ballot for ratification by Alabama voters in the Nov. 8 midterm election. If ratified, Aniah’s Law will allow judges to deny bail to dangerous offenders who are likely to reoffend.
Decatur Mayor Tab Bowling, Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle and Madison Mayor Paul Finley joined Auburn Mayor Ron Anders, Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin, Dothan Mayor Mark Saliba, Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato, Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson, Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed and Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox at a press conference.
Bowling’s, Finley’s and Battle’s video statements are below.
“Aniah’s Law will be on the ballot on Nov. 8, and I encourage everyone to get out to vote for Amendment One,” said Angela Harris, mother of Aniah Blanchard. “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 Nov. 8.”
The law, passed unanimously by the state Legislature in April 2021, was named in memory of 19-year-old Southern Union Community College student Aniah Blanchard, who was kidnapped and murdered in 2019. Her accused murderer was out on bail awaiting trial for charges of kidnapping, attempted murder, and robbery at the time.
“Fall is an exciting time in Auburn, with new students, football, relationships, and classes,” Auburn Mayor Ron Anders said. “It has been a great fall here in Auburn, but it should have included Aniah Blanchard. On Nov. 8, the citizens of Alabama have something they can do about this.
“By voting for Amendment One, you will allow judges to keep violent offenders in jail, so in the future, we will not have other stories like Aniah Blanchard’s to remember.”
Under current Alabama law, judges have limited authority to deny bail to violent offenders unless the suspect is charged with a capital offense or poses a flight risk. That means that dangerous criminals are often released back onto the streets, even when its likely they will commit more violent crimes as soon as they make bail.
If the majority of Alabamians vote for Aniah’s Law, judges will be able to deny bail to dangerous offenders who are likely to reoffend when they are charged with serious felonies like attempted murder, kidnapping, rape, sexual torture, domestic violence, human trafficking, burglary, arson, robbery, terrorism, or aggravated child abuse.
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