Aniah’s Law is on the ballot, opponents say it could disrupt Due Process

WAFF's Megan Plotka reporting
Published: Nov. 7, 2022 at 10:43 AM CST

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - An amendment is on Alabama ballots that could change the state’s bail process if passed.

The amendment known as “Aniah’s Law” is named after a young woman from Homewood who was kidnapped and killed in Auburn in 2019.

The man charged with her death, Ibraheem Yazeed, was out on bond for other crimes when he allegedly killed Aniah. If this amendment passes, judges can deny bail to someone with a violent felony following a hearing.

Right now, bail can only be revoked for capital offenses.

Former Mobile County District Attorney Ashley Rich said prosecutors will need to request to take away someone’s ability to post bond during the trial.

“There will be no issue whether judges can hold individuals with no bond,” Rich said. “It will create a hearing that will take place once it’s requested by the prosecutor, that we can present evidence on why the bond needs to be denied.”

Supporters say this help make communities safer and it will prevent violent crime.

WAFF's Megan Plotka reporting

This proposal does have a fair share of opponents who say there are some unintended consequences the lawmakers need to consider.

Southern Poverty Law Center Policy Director Jerome Dees says the amendment threatens due process in Alabama.

He says if Aniah’s Law passes, people could sit in dangerously overcrowded jails for months if not years waiting for trial. It could cost them their families, friends and livelihoods that may not come back even if they’re found not guilty.

“You’re stuck in jail, you’re no longer able to work,” Dees said. “If you have children, it brings up custody issues. It totally destroys the family and the community around you only for you 18 months to two years later to finally be determined innocent as you had been all along.”

Dees recommends voting “no” on the Amendment. The Gray News-Signal poll shows 66% of Alabama voters plan to vote “yes” while 21% percent are still undecided.