ATLANTA (AP) — A Georgia sheriff compared the governor to the devil over a plan to loosen bail demands.

Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills made the disparaging remarks in an email sent to the Georgia Sheriffs' Association trying to rally opposition to Republican Gov. Nathan Deal's plan, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

In his email, the Republican sheriff said that Deal's administration "coddled" criminal elements.

"This governor has done more for those who perpetrate crime than Lucifer and his demons combined, and every piece of his criminal justice reform that has been passed into law has complicated or burdened our duties and/or endangered the citizenry of our state," Sills wrote.

Deal's recent plan, the final part of an eight-year criminal justice package, would give judges more discretion to forgo cash bail for defendants accused of low-level offenses.

Bipartisan supporters of the measure condemned Sills' comments on the House floor Thursday. Republican House Speaker David Ralston said the sheriff's words made him sick to his stomach.

Sills defended his email in an interview with The Associated Press, saying he had a right to speak and that the email was only sent to other sheriffs.

"I have no regrets about the language I used," he said.