Units Of The Criminal Division
The Appeals Unit of the Criminal Division is responsible for the appellate litigation of criminal cases pending in both state and federal courts. Deputy Attorneys General of the Appeals Unit serve as the chief courtroom lawyers for the State before the Delaware Supreme Court. The Appeals Unit also select complex post-conviction matters before the Delaware Superior Court. The Appeals Unit Deputy Attorneys General provide legal research and guidance regarding such core issues as: the taking of State appeals, participation by the State as amicus curie (“friend of the court”) in litigation wherein state interests may be affected, legislative matters, and potential ramifications of court decisions. The Appeals Unit is relied upon to render immediate and regular research assistance and aid to trial attorneys in the Criminal Division.
Community Engagement Unit
The Department of Justice created the Community Engagement Unit (“CEU”) to encourage collaboration with communities statewide to prevent and reduce crime and to build trust between the Attorney General’s Office and the communities we serve. The CEU works with residents to collect neighborhood specific data and information in order to tailor specific responses to ongoing crime and blight issues. CEU deputies will attend community meetings, meet with concerned residents individually.
In addition to working with the community, the CEU coordinates with law enforcement and municipalities to ensure effective enforcement measures are utilized to address neighborhood specific concerns.
The CEU’s projects include:
- Nuisance Abatement under 10 Del. C. Section 7101 et. seq.
- Community/Neighborhood Empowerment
- Mentorship and educational programs in local schools
- Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (“CPTED”)
- Supporting re-entry efforts
- Building trust in the criminal justice system
If you or your community are interested in hearing more about the projects listed above or other projects the CEU is involved with, please contact Allison Abessinio at (302) 577-8333 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Domestic Violence Unit
The Domestic Violence Unit (“DVU”) prosecutes all domestic related cases in New Castle County. The Unit is comprised of Deputy Attorneys General, skilled social workers, paralegal support and administrative assistants. The social workers assist survivors of domestic violence with locating community resources and applying for financial relocation assistance, counseling services and/or medical expenses through the Victims’ Compensation Assistance Program (“VCAP”). DVU social workers provide guidance to survivors who find themselves in the criminal justice system and want to file a Protection from Abuse Order (“PFA”) in the Family Court. In the event an abuser is incarcerated, social workers inform survivor’s about VINELink, which is a notification system for when an offender is about to be released from custody. The Unit works as a team with community partners to combat domestic violence in the community and to contribute to increasing the safety of survivors and their children and holding offenders accountable. Read More…
Felony Screening Units – New Castle, Kent, Sussex
The goal of the Felony Screening Unit in each county is to screen and process various felony cases prior to assignment to a Deputy Attorney General in Superior Court. The unit is responsible for gathering information from the investigating police agency and making an initial determination as to whether the case should be prosecuted, and, if so, on what charges. Where appropriate, the Felony Screening Unit aims to resolve cases at the preliminary hearing. The responsibilities of the Felony Screening Unit also include the presentation of cases to the Grand Jury for indictment, the litigation of cases at the preliminary hearing stage, and other ancillary matters. The Case Processing Unit is a division of the Felony Screening Unit. This unit is responsible for case file management and case tracking. The Unit maintains all criminal case files, so as to provide quick access and sufficient data. The Case Processing Unit is staffed entirely by support personnel, and it is supervised by the head of the Felony Screening Unit.
Felony Trial Units – New Castle, Kent, Sussex, Wilmington
The Units – one for each county and for the city of Wilmington – are comprised of Deputy Attorneys General, paralegals, and administrative assistants. Deputy Attorneys General in the units litigate their cases before the court. Cases include felony driving under the influence offenses, felony theft-related offenses, drug offenses, burglary, assault, robbery, serious gun offenses, and attempted murder.
The Homicide Unit is responsible for handling all homicide cases that occur in New Castle County, though the current volume of homicides require DAG’s throughout DOJ to assist. The New Castle County Unit is made up of four seasoned prosecutors. These prosecutors are on-call every day of the year and respond to the scenes of the homicides throughout the County. The assigned homicide deputy follows the case through investigation, arrest, indictment and resolution. In Kent and Sussex counties, homicides are handles by prosecutors from Felony Trial Units who also respond to scenes and handle cases through to their end.
Misdemeanor Trial Units – New Castle, Kent, Sussex
The Misdemeanor Trial Units in New Castle, Kent, and Sussex Counties operate primarily in the Court of Common Pleas and handle nearly all misdemeanor prosecutions in the State of Delaware. Deputies in these units prosecute cases from all of Delaware’s various police agencies. Cases are tried before both judges and juries in the Court of Common Pleas. The Court is calendar-driven, meaning that deputies are tasked on a daily basis with a list of cases to resolve on any given day.
Special Victims Unit
The Special Victims Unit (“SVU”) handles cases that involve some of our most vulnerable victims we serve. The SVU puts those responsible for cases dealing with sex crimes, child victims and child predators into a single unit led by Josette Manning who serves as the SVU Head.
The Sex Crimes Unit, under the umbrella of the SVU, prosecutes all sex offenders. The Unit is comprised of Deputy Attorneys General, social workers, paralegals, and administrative assistants. The social workers participate in the interviews with police officers and victims and act as liaisons between victims and the Unit’s prosecutors. The social workers also assist victims in applying to the Victims’ Compensation Assistance Program (“VCAP”) for compensation.
The Child Predator Task Force, also under the SVU umbrella, employs dedicated investigative and prosecutorial resources to identify, pursue, prosecute and punish criminals who utilize the internet to prey on Delaware’s children. With specially trained and dedicated staff, the Task Force works collaboratively with the Delaware State Police and other agencies in a proactive effort to identify and track down predators and pedophiles before they can harm our children. It uses the latest technology to detect online transactions involving child pornography, sexual solicitation, and sexual exploitation of children. The Child Predator Task Force was created in 2006 by then-Attorney General Beau Biden.
Traffic Safety Resource Prosecutor (“TSRP”) Program, a partnership with the Delaware Office of Highway Safety, oversees the prosecution of vehicular homicides, impaired (drug and alcohol) driving crimes, and provides law enforcement training and community outreach for motor vehicle safety issues. The TSRP also participates in highway safety public policy and education initiatives and serves as a liaison between the many highway safety stakeholders. The TSRP is involved in all stages of the prosecution of fatal motor vehicle collision cases and works with law enforcement investigators from the time of the crash through the conclusion of the investigation in these serious, and often complex, cases.
The Victim/Witness Unit is a state-wide unit which provides assistance to the victims of crimes and their families. Assistance with the criminal justice process is also provided to witnesses. The unit is staffed by social workers and clerical employees. The Victim/Witness Unit assists victims and witnesses by such means as referrals for counseling, medical and/or psychological treatment, encouragement, transportation, and other services as needed. The Unit also assists in the vital process of ensuring that victims and witnesses are notified of all scheduled events relating to the prosecution of a criminal case.
Violent Crime Enterprises Unit
The Violent Crime Enterprises Unit (“VCE”) specializes in prosecuting wiretap cases, organized crime, gangs and “langs” (loosely affiliated neighborhood gangs), cases related to task force investigations and investigations conducted by the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area initiatives (“HIDTA”), felony drug cases and all Title 16 forfeiture matters. The unit employs fundamental principles promoted by the HIDTA, Violence Reduction Network, and Intelligence Driven Prosecution programs, including (1) intelligence gathering and sharing; (2) strategic and focused prosecutions; and (3) collaborative law enforcement efforts. Additionally, centralizing expertise for wiretaps and drug prosecutions, given issues particular to these types of cases, creates the necessary specialization needed for effective prosecutions.
The VCE Unit handles the following:
- Proactive gang and drug investigations and prosecutions;
- Wiretap investigations and prosecutions;
- Felony drug cases, including DSP’s Drug Diversion Unit;
- State prosecutions of task force investigations , including the DEA, FBI, US Marshals and ATF task forces;
- The Delaware Department of Justice’s participation in the New Castle County HIDTA, as well as HIDTA investigations and prosecutions;
- Title 16 forfeiture matters statewide;
- Gathering, maintaining, sharing and utilizing criminal intelligence in conjunction with the Crime Strategies Unit (CSU).