Alabama Legislature approved “Aniah’s Law” but family says the work is not done

Published: Apr. 15, 2021 at 10:42 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - State lawmakers approved the legislation to give judges discretion to deny bail to people accused of violent crimes. It’s known as Aniah’s Law, named after 19-year-old Aniah Blanchard, who was murdered in 2019.

Aniah’s mom, Angela Hailey-Harris, said she is thankful the Alabama legislature passed Aniah’s Law, but she said there’s more work to be done.

“This wasn’t just about Aniah or for Aniah,” Harris said. “This was for everyone. I can’t even tell you how happy I am knowing that my daughter gave her life for this.”

Alabama lawmakers gave final approval to Harris’ proposed Aniah’s Law. It gives judges an option to deny bail to people accused of violent crimes.

“I’m sure there are judges out there that are like ‘hey this person should not have a bond, but I don’t have any laws that say that’s ok for me to do,’” Harris said.

Alabama’s current law allows bail to all defendants, except those charged with capital offenses.

“It’s for someone that everyone clearly knows this person should not be out of the street because they are going to re-offend,” Harris said. “They are going to re-offend or they have committed such a violent crime, they just shouldn’t be out.”

The man accused of killing Aniah was out on bond after being charged with attempted murder, kidnapping, and robbery.

“I didn’t want my daughter to have to give her life, but she did, and she fought hard and so we are going to fight for her and everyone and to just keep Alabama safe,” Harris said.

Aniah’s law will now be on the ballot for voters to decide whether to change the state’s constitution.

“That is my mission now,” Harris said. “To make sure everyone knows that when they are going to vote, it is on the ballot. I don’t think I will ever feel like I can breathe again, but at least I will feel like my daughter didn’t die for nothing. That she gave her life to save other lives.”

Harris said Aniah’s Law will be on the ballot in 2022.

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