Attorney General Beau Biden tonight applauded the State House of Representatives for passing Senate Bill 36, an amendment to the State Constitution that would protect public safety by keeping the most dangerous criminals off the streets while they await trial.
Under current law, only defendants charged with capital murder may be held without bail pending trial. SB 36 aligns Delaware law with the federal government and more than two dozen states where, if prosecutors can show a defendant is too dangerous to be released pending trial, a judge can order the defendant held without bail. Under the measure, if a defendant is ordered held without bail, a hearing to reconsider bail will be held if trial does not begin within 120 days of arrest.
“This necessary reform to our bail system will better protect Delawareans by providing law enforcement the opportunity to keep the most dangerous defendants off the streets while they await trial,” Biden said after the House passed the measure this evening.
Biden recognized the primes sponsors of the bill, Senator Robert Marshall and Representatives Helene Keeley and Larry Mitchell for their leadership in securing its passage. The State Senate passed the measure by a wide margin in July, 2013. In order for the Constitutional amendment to take effect the measure must be passed again by both chambers of the General Assembly during the next legislative session.