Aniah Blanchard (WBMA)
By Lauren Walsh, WBMA
A proposed bill would revoke bond for a list of Alabama’s most violent offenses.
Sen. Cam Ward (R- Alabaster) says his bill is inspired by Aniah Blanchard, who was kidnapped and killed in 2019.
Her accused killer, Ibraheem Yazeed was out on bond for another case involving kidnapping and attempted murder.
“It’s kind of us is a wakeup call that in certain cases, some people just shouldn’t be out on the streets,” said Ward. “They’re a threat to society.”
Ward is preparing a bill that would not allow bond for these specific offenses: murder, rape in the first degree, first degree sodomy, sexual abuse, sexual torture, human trafficking or kidnapping.
“I think this is done in a way that’s thoughtful,” he said. “It’s not overreaching, but at the same time provides for public safety.”
Defense attorneys say if passed, the law would surely be challenged in court. noting the 8th amendment of the constitution.
“I’ve seen it upheld in other states,” said Ward. “It’s constitutional. It’s been said so by the courts, but more importantly than people filing lawsuits, it’s about the public safety, victims.”
Elijah and Yashiba Blanchard, Aniah’s father and step-mother, sent ABC 33/40 this statement:
“The Blanchards are thankful for the continued prayers and support for our family as we seek justice for Aniah and honor her name and legacy. One being an officer of the court, they respect the court’s standing gag order against the accused in the Aniah Blanchard case and support the integrity of the judicial process. They hope state legislators utilize their resources and power to enact legislation during the upcoming session that protects citizens in similar circumstances by withholding bond for those accused of certain heinous crimes.”
“I truly believe a judge’s discretion,” said Ward. “While they should have it, it should be limited to a certain point. This is right and this is wrong, and a lawmaker has that job as well. ”
Another case where an accused killer was out on bond is in the Kamille “Cupcake” McKinney case. One of those charged with her death, Derrick Brown, was out on bond for kidnapping.
Alabama’s legislative session begins February fourth.