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 Post subject: Delaware Attorney General Calls for Drug, Gun Law Revisions
PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2016 9:16 am 
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Delaware Attorney General Calls for Drug, Gun Law Revisions
Posted:
Tuesday, November 1, 2016 8:12 AM EDT
Updated:
Tuesday, November 1, 2016 8:12 AM EDT
http://www.wboc.com/story/33544812/dela ... -revisions

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP)- Delaware's "cumbersome and overly complicated" drug laws result in disproportionate penalties for poor people and urban minorities, Attorney General Matt Denn said Monday in discussing ongoing reforms to the state's criminal justice system.

Denn also reiterated a call for lawmakers to close a gun law loophole that lets felons who committed violent crimes as juveniles escape jail time for illegally possessing firearms.

The attorney general noted that the state criminal code allows harsher sentences for possessing drugs inside a vehicle or within a few hundred feet of a school, park or church. The result, he said, is that people living in more populated urban areas are more likely than those in suburban and rural areas to face enhanced sentences.

"I don't think that type of disparity was the intent of the law," Denn said, nevertheless noting that inequality is built into the statute simply based on where a drug crime is committed.

If the intent is to protect children from drug dealers, that goal can be achieved by mandating prison time for adults who sell drugs to minors, he said.

Denn also called on lawmakers to provide more substance abuse treatment for criminal drug offenders, whether in prison or in diversion programs that allow certain offenders avoid incarceration.

It's unclear whether Denn's proposal for more substance abuse treatment resources will gain any traction in the General Assembly next year, given the state's budget constraints. Earlier this year, members of the legislature's budget-writing committee rejected a proposal by Gov. Jack Markell for more than $2 million in additional spending for substance abuse disorder services to help fight a growing epidemic of drug addiction.

Denn also said he will press lawmakers once again to allow mandatory jail time for gun possession by criminals prohibited from possessing firearms because of violent felonies committed when they were juveniles. Lawmakers have declined to adopt a similar proposal Denn made last year.

Currently, a person prohibited from having a gun faces a mandatory prison sentence ranging from three to 10 years if convicted of having a firearm. That mandatory time does not apply, however, if the prohibition on gun possession stems from a juvenile violent felony.

"I think it's critically important that these people face real jail time," Denn said.

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 Post subject: Re: Delaware Attorney General Calls for Drug, Gun Law Revisi
PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2016 9:33 am 
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Joined: Wed Dec 19, 2012 12:23 pm
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Location: Newark DE
Seeing as how often we hear that firearms charges are dropped/plea'ed away, that closing remark is more than a bit laughable.
:banghead:

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 Post subject: Re: Delaware Attorney General Calls for Drug, Gun Law Revisi
PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2016 10:57 am 
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Location: Newark, DE
Kuntryboy816 wrote:
Seeing as how often we hear that firearms charges are dropped/plea'ed away, that closing remark is more than a bit laughable.
:banghead:


That was going to be my comment. :/

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 Post subject: Re: Delaware Attorney General Calls for Drug, Gun Law Revisi
PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2016 11:00 am 
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This whole move by Denn is such a crock! He's the freaking AG and KNOWS that the system doesn't work due to his office's conduct in the courtroom, not the way the laws are written!! :poed:

Seems like he's just trying refocus attention away from his to-date failure.

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 Post subject: Re: Delaware Attorney General Calls for Drug, Gun Law Revisi
PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2016 9:20 pm 
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Location: Newark, Delaware
I think you folks are being overly critical. Whether you agree or disagree with how the AG's Office deals with plea deals, keep in mind the following:

1. The criminal justice system cannot handle taking even a majority of criminal cases to trial. There are not enough courtrooms, judges, prosecutors or days, etc.

2. Having penalties available to the AG's Office allows them to try to negotiate a plea that puts someone in prison without a trial (or appeals) by using the leverage that is available because of the threat of the penalty if found guilty.

3. No criminal defendant is going to accept a guilty plea on all charges with all penalties (keep in mind that the mandatory minimum penalties actually handcuff both prosecutors and judges because the charges have to be dismissed or reduced to avoid the imposition of that penalty that is necessary to get the guilty plea. Absent that, we are back to No. 1, above.

Is that ideal, of course not. However, unless the public is willing to fund the system, and the prisons to house the inmates, it will never be ideal. And I can assure you, there is no appetite to pay for prisons or increase funding the justice system in general.


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