Proposed Reforms

Here are several proposals which could potentially eliminate some of the abuses in the Delaware Justice System.  It is my hope that other citizens will suggest additional reforms.

1. Permit external judicial review of prosecutorial dismissals. Under this proposal, if a crime victim or relative of a victim disagrees with a prosecutor’s decision not to prosecute, he or she could appeal the decision to a magistrate, who could then reconsider the prosecutor’s decision.  The victim could then join the proceedings in some appropriate way.  This would insure that the case would be presented more forcefully.  This reform is already implemented in a number of European countries.

2. Permit private citizens to initiate a prosecution through the courts. This remedy is also already available in some European countries.

3. Institute a code of conduct for employees of the Delaware Justice Department. The code should require that employees deal honestly with crime victims.  Currently, there is no written code of conduct.

4. Require that prosecutors supply a written copy of the Victims’ Bill of Rights to crime victims.  The prosecutor should be required to obtain a signed receipt from the victim or victim’s relative stating that he or she has received a copy of this Bill.

5 . At the end of a prosecutor’s dealings with a victim, the victim should be given an evaluation form to fill out in which the victim would comment on the prosecutor’s performance.  The victim would then mail the form to the Justice Department, where it would become part of the prosecutor’s personnel record.

6. Have an organization external to the Justice Department (for example, the Criminal Justice Council) be responsible for enforcing the Victims’ Bill of Rights.  Any complaints about the conduct of members of the Justice Department should be directed to this external organization.

7. Currently, after 3 years of full-time service, any employee of the Department of Justice attains tenure and cannot be fired except for due cause.  There is at present no review of the employee’s performance to determine whether tenure should be granted.  For prosecutors employed by the Justice Department there should be some sort of review process for acquiring tenure that would take into account the comments of victims whose cases have been handled by the prosecutor.  For example, it is my opinion that prosecutors too often withhold valuable information from victims.  This should be grounds for consideration of dismissal.

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