ALABAMA (WHNT) — The first of the amendments that voters will see on their ballots next Tuesday is Aniah’s Law.
As we draw closer to election day, News 19 is breaking down each of the ten amendments voters will see on 2022’s ballot.
Amendment 1 – Aniah’s Law
Aniah’s Law, which is sponsored by Rep. Chip Brown out of Mobile, was a piece of legislation that came about as a response to the death of 19-year-old Aniah Blanchard. Blanchard was a college student who was abducted from a convenience store in Auburn in Oct. 2019. Her body was found by authorities a month later in a rural area.
Brown said that Aniah’s Law is an opportunity to “save lives” and keep the worst of the worst off the street.
The man charged in Blanchard’s death was released from jail on a $280,000 bond. This was after he was charged with kidnapping, robbery, and attempted murder in connection with an incident that occurred in Montgomery in Jan. 2019.
Amendment 1 would make it harder for people charged with violent crimes to be eligible for bail and place the decision of bail eligibility into the judge’s hands. The measure would expand the number of offenses that someone can be charged with and held without bond to include:
- first-degree kidnapping
- first-degree rape
- first-degree sodomy
- sexual torture
- first-degree domestic violence
- first-degree human trafficking
- first-degree burglary
- first-degree arson
- first-degree robbery
- aggravated abuse of a child under age 6
Huntsville defense attorney and former prosecutor Ron Smith says the amendment may not have much of an impact on small counties with very few violent crimes, but it could make a difference in counties like Madison County.
Rob Broussard, a Madison County attorney, provided News 19 with a statement about the amendment.
“As a practical matter, there are a lot of potentially dangerous people who get charged with serious offenses. I’m absolutely in favor of giving a judge more latitude in determining whether that person can be free pre-trial,”Rob Broussard
News 19 will have continuing coverage of Alabama’s 2022 amendments leading up to Election Day on Tuesday, November 8. You will be able to find those here.