FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Todd Hallidy
Phone: (302) 577-8314
Date: March 20, 2001
A.G. BRADY UNVEILS LEGISLATIVE AGENDA
Emphasis on Child Protection; Criminal Accountability
(Wilmington, DE) - Attorney General M. Jane Brady introduced her Legislative Agenda for 2001 at a news conference today in her Wilmington office. The list of priorities includes more than one dozen specific proposals that would protect children, hold criminals accountable, and modernize Delaware's criminal code.
Attorney General Brady noted, "These initiatives address important issues: safety in our schools, restitution for victims and enhancing our ability to prosecute those who victimize our children through high-tech means."
One proposal would expand Delaware's existing School Crimes Reporting Law by requiring administrators to notify police when they learn of sexual crimes committed by school employees against students, regardless of whether the crime occurs on or off school grounds. The current law only requires reporting of these crimes when they occur on campus.
Attorney General Brady also unveiled two other proposals aimed at protecting children: One would permit police to intercept electronic communications made by persons suspected of child sexual abuse or creating or distributing child pornography. The other would modernize and strengthen the language of Delaware's Endangering the Welfare of a Child Law by extending criminal liability to any person responsible for the care or supervision of a child, and by increasing the penalties for persons who knowingly allow sex offenders to care for or supervise their child.
A second major theme of the Attorney General's Agenda focuses on holding repetitive criminals accountable for their crimes. One proposal would create the new crime called Commission of a Crime After Escape from Custody, which would increase the penalties for those who commit new crimes after jumping-bail or after escaping from the custody of the Department of Correction; and a second proposal would deny bail to any person who commits a violent felony after release on bail for a previous violent felony.
Several significant proposals would greatly enhance restitution collection efforts on behalf of victims. One will permit Family Court to order the parents or guardians of children who commit crimes to pay any restitution, fines or costs assessed against their child. A second initiative would improve the collection of restitution by requiring the Department of Correction to make mandatory deductions from wages earned by prisoners and their inmate accounts. Probationers would also be required to execute wage attachments to assure prompt restitution payments. This legislation will automatically convert all restitution orders to civil judgments which may then be executed and collected upon like all other civil judgements.
Another proposed accountability measure would increase the penalties against those convicted of Leaving the Scene of a Fatal Accident. The maximum possible penalty would be increased to 5 years imprisonment. Under current law, a drunk driver who flees the scene of a fatal accident faces a potentially less severe penalty than he or she would under the Vehicular Homicide statute. "We want to strengthen the law and remove any incentive for a motorist to flee a fatal accident scene," said Attorney General Brady.
Attorney General Brady also outlined several initiatives that would modernize Delaware's Criminal Code. One measure would expand existing laws by permitting the Court to order a defendant to submit to blood tests in any case in which a victim or public safety worker was potentially exposed to a blood-borne communicable disease. Another proposal closes a loophole in the law by specifically making it a crime to intentionally strike another person with saliva or other bodily fluids. A third measure updates the language of an existing law preventing malicious obstruction of emergency telephone calls; the law currently on the books predates the creation of the 9-1-1 system and was written when party lines were still in use.