An ad running today and tomorrow in The News Journal includes a plea from family members of a man killed in a car crash in Delaware. Eugene Hamilton publishes this plea:
There is an issue at hand that should be of concern to everyone who lives in this state — the arbitrary way in which the Department of Justice prosecutes various cases, especially those dealing with vehicular homicide.
Under the current attorney general, Beau Biden – who is up for re-election November 2 — the DOJ has prosecuted some people for relatively minor offenses while refusing to prosecute other people for serious offenses. The inconsistencies in Delaware are getting growing attention in the national news media and in other circles.
I got a taste of it firsthand over three years ago, when my father was killed in a traffic accident; the driver of the car that hit him paid a $25 fine.
Biden’s opponent in the upcoming election, Doug Campbell, has made the issue part of his campaign and it appears that he is going to get some strong support as a result. We should all support him November 2. It’s important, not just for our loved ones who can no longer speak for themselves, but also for those of us who still can.
There is another website here which makes the following claims:
Under Attorney General Beau Biden:
· The Delaware Department of Justice (DDOJ) has bungled eight homicide cases
From Feb. 2009 to Feb. 2010, there were 8 dropped homicide cases under Biden’s watch. According to Wilmington defense attorney John Malik (a Democrat), “This isn’t something you’ve seen in the past 20 years.” For more details see Sean O’Sullivan’s article, “Dropped cases put Biden’s approach under scrutiny” from the Wilmington News Journal, Feb. 14, 2010.
Article abstract: The News Journal In the past year, charges against defendants in eight homicide cases were dropped, dismissed by a judge or jury or reduced to near misdemeanors in what some are calling an unprecedented string of apparent failures by the Delaware Attorney General’s Office. On the same day, the state also dropped all charges against one of two men in the 2008 fatal shooting of a Newark-area Dunkin’ Donuts manager, even though they initially planned to seek the death penalty. [...] in May, a judge tossed out all charges against Loyer Braden, the sole suspect in the fatal September 2007 shooting of Delaware State University student Shalita Middleton, days before that trial was to begin. Note: the full text of this article is available online in the delawareonline.com archives.
· The DDOJ has dispensed arbitrary justice
The Cases of 3 Drivers
Driver 1 came out from a stop sign and struck another vehicle, injuring its driver, who died from his injuries two weeks later. She told a police officer that she stopped at the stop sign, but two accident reconstructions subsequently proved that she ran the stop sign at a substantial rate of speed and that she was traveling above the speed limit at the point of impact. Driver 1 received a $25 fine for “Failing to Remain Stopped”. She received no other penalties, not even points on her driving record. She wasn’t even brought in for questioning after the death of her victim.
Driver 2 ran a stop sign. As in the case of Driver 1, he told a police officer that he had stopped. Upon questioning, he admitted that he had run the stop sign. Driver 2 received a six month jail sentence, one year of probation, 35 hours of community service, and a three year license suspension for virtually the same offense that netted Driver 1 a $25 fine.
Driver 3 was driving north on Route 62. She came to a traffic signal at the intersection with Route 2. The light was red and she stopped. When the light turned green, she proceeded into the intersection, making a left turn. A school bus traveling east on Route 2 at that time faced a red light at the intersection. The school bus ran the red light and collided with Driver 3′s car, seriously injuring her and killing her passenger. The school bus driver was prosecuted for Operation of a Motor Vehicle Causing Death. Driver 3 was also prosecuted for Operation of a Motor Vehicle Causing Death even though she was lawfully proceeding into an intersection while facing a green light and had the right of way.
· The DDOJ has mistreated relatives of crime victims
The DDOJ has, in my opinion, made a mockery of victims rights by making false or misleading statements to victims justifying their refusal to prosecute crime perpetrators. On this matter, I speak from personal experience. My father was a victim of a homicide nearly four years ago. The DDOJ knows who caused my father’s death (they even have an admission from the perpetrator to the action that caused his death). Several of the members of the Department (including the State Prosecutor) have given me false or misleading explanations for the failure to prosecute. They have been rude to me and broken a number of promises. They have refused to return phone calls. They have not answered several of my letters and emails. The last letter was sent on July 14, 2010 to Attorney General Beau Biden, who has not even had the courtesy to respond.