LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Sixty laws passed in Delaware regarding one issue

In 1993 the Delaware Domestic Violence Coordinating Council was formed by legislative statute. It was formed to improve Delaware’s response to domestic violence. The council was created during a time when the crime of domestic violence (many times) was not treated and dealt with in the most appropriate fashion. We have now entered the era of the opposite swing of that proverbial pendulum.

Since its creation (with [state] Sen. [Patricia M.] Blevins as one of its founding members), the DDVCC has been responsible for the creation or enhancement of some 60 acts of legislation that have become law. Yes, 60 pieces of legislation regarding one issue. Without fail, each and every one of those laws either benefits the DDVCC itself, as an entity, or is (alleged)-victim-centric in nature.

A good, Draconian example of the inevitable pendulum swing to come was the SB 153, introduced in 1993:

“The law provides for early judicial intervention in misdemeanor offenses by encouraging a first-offender program as an alternative to nolle prosequi (dismissal) or pre-arraignment arbitration.”

In other words — if there is no evidence to convict the accused of the crime of domestic violence, the prosecutor will now try to pressure the individual into a plea deal. That way, the state gets a conviction (hooray!) and revenue, i.e., probation, anger management, etc.

Now, the individual who would have had the case dismissed, due to lack of evidence, is sufficiently plugged into the system with all of the finesse of a good used-car salesman.

That brings me to this point — in the 23-year history of all the robust legislation that has been introduced from one perspective, there has been one bill that sought to address the pendulum swing that has created another form of domestic abuse referred to as “false allegations.” That Bill is SB 99.

SB 99 has sat in the Senate Judiciary Committee for a year now. According to Sen. Blevins, the bill was tabled because it (the bill) was not needed.

SB 99 does not fit the narrative of Sen. Blevins, Sen. Margaret Rose Henry and the DDVCC. They refuse to admit that “false allegation(s)” is a criminal act that diminishes the experience of true victims of domestic violence and sabotages our system of justice.

Sen. Blevins, it is simple: Free SB 99 and grant it the dignity given to each of your plethora of bills introduced over the past two decades and allow it to go to the floor of the Senate to be voted on. It’s not just fair, but it’s also good government.

Gordon Smith
Delaware Domestic Violence Legislative Project
Daytona Beach, Fla.
Formerly of Felton

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