AG Biden seeks to stiffen state's bail system

By Amy Cherry 3:25pm, February 21, 2013 - Updated 3:54pm, February 21, 2013
Attorney General Beau Biden details the proposals that focus on repeat offenders.
Attorney General Beau Biden, once again, proposes a constitutional amendment that would reform Delaware's bail system.

WDEL's Amy Cherry reports.

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The constitutional amendment, that's been in the works since 2009, would allow a judge to deny bail to Delaware's most dangerous criminals, so they're forced to stay behind bars until trial.

Attorney General Beau Biden says this is done almost everywhere, but here.

"That is not the case (in) Delaware, unless it is a capital murder case," explains Biden.

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Biden says this targets the most violent of offenders.

"To make sure that we have the tool that our federal partners have: hold you in prison till the moment you stand trial, and we hopefully convict of you the crime we've accused you of committing," he says.

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This will take years to accomplish, since it has to pass in two consecutive legislative sessions. So Biden is also hoping for a more immediate reform.

"It will require any court setting bail to require the defendant to refrain from committing any additional crimes when determining the type or amount of bail," says Biden.

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That bail would also be revoked if the suspected criminal was charged with a violent felony after being released on bail, and they would forfeit the money.

"Losing it, gone, gone to the state," says Biden.

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State Rep. Helene Keeley (D-Wilmington South) says the measures target the criminals wreaking havoc in her community and in the rest of the city.

"The Wilmington Police Department comes out and arrests these folks, and 24 hours later, they're on the same damn corner, selling the same damn drugs," says Keeley.

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She says these aren't people caught the first time, but repeat offenders, who've been arrested up to seven times.

"They don't care that they're going to be up in front of a judge in two weeks for a felony and possibly spend the next 15 years in jail; they're going to go out and do the same offense again," she says.

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See more of what Keeley has to say about the measure:

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