In addition to Senate Bill 7, a cash bail reform bill that establish a cash bail minimum for violent suspects charged with certain violent crimes, Senators Spiros Mantzavinos, Bryan Townsend and Stephanie Hansen have introduced Senate Bill 11, the first leg of a preventative detention amendment to the Delaware Constitution that would allow bail to be withheld entirely for cases involving violent crimes if there is clear and convincing evidence that a defendant presents a danger to public safety or no other condition will assure their appearance in court.
Currently, the Delaware Constitution only permits bail to be withheld in capital murder cases.
Senate Bill 11 would provide discretion to the courts to determine whether bail should be withheld in a wider variety of cases involving violent and dangerous offenses, and only when there is overwhelming evidence to justify such a ruling.
|Senate Bill 11 Sponsors||Yes Votes||No Votes|
|Townsend, Hansen, Mantzavinos, Gay, Lockman, Sokola, Sturgeon, Walsh|
|Chukwuocha, Longhurst, Heffernan|
|Current Status: Senate Executive 4/28/21|
“The Constitutional amendment introduced today is the product of numerous stakeholder discussions and years of work to reform our state’s reliance on cash bail as its main instrument for ensuring defendants who are up for their day in court,” Sen. Townsend said.
“I believe wholeheartedly in the need for bail reform. Too many people have been held indefinitely for a low-level crime simply because they can’t scrape together bail, a system disproportionately impacts poorer people and people of color,” said Rep. Nnamdi Chukwuocha, the lead House sponsor of SB 11. “But a person who is charged with a violent crime could present a danger to the community, and that is why we are proposing this amendment. We generally have a very good, very qualified judiciary, and we should enable them to make decisions that will protect the public from a person who could pose a threat.”
SB 11 has been assigned to the Senate Executive Committee.