Bill that would deny bond for violent offenders clears first legislative hurdle

The House Judiciary Committee approves Aniah's Law on February 19, 2020.
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Montgomery (WTVY)-- A bill that would give Alabama judges authority to deny bond for suspects charged with some violent crimes has cleared an important hurdle.

The measure received a favorable report by the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. It is now headed to a vote of the full House.

“There are people out there that are a threat to the community and their past history shows they are a threat to the community,” said Rep. Chip Brown (R-Mobile), the bill's sponsor.

A catalyst for the bill is last year's murder of 19-year old college student Aniah Blanchard. The man charged in her death, Ibraheem Yazeed, had previously been released on bond related to other charges, including attempted murder and kidnapping.

Referred to as Aniah's Law, the meausre would permit judges to consider violent crime charges on a case by case basis. Under current law, bond must be set on all charges except capital murder.

Aniah's parents and her stepmother attended the committee meeting and, afterwards, praised members for approving the bill.

“There are repeat violent offenders and we've got to put a stop to (them getting out of jail), Angela Harris, Aniah's mother, told WTVY.

The bill would amend the state constitution, requiring a 60 percent vote in the House and Senate. It would then go before voters.

A similar bill last year, before Aniah Blanchard's death, cleared the House but never made it to the Senate floor.