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No one without a foot-long rap sheet wants a crack house or gang gathering place in their neighborhood. Aside from attracting undesirables, they’re eyesores that reduce property values in the surrounding area. So, in 2007, Delaware instituted the Drug Nuisance and Social Vices Abatement Act. Under its auspices, the Delaware Department of Justice can take a variety of measures against so-called crack houses, up to and including seizing identified properties. By all accounts, the program has worked well so far. Over 140 properties having been ‘rehabilitated’. Over 300 more are on the DOJ’s watch list. Sounds like a success. But if you’re Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden [above left], it isn’t enough . . .

As you probably know, Beau’s the son of our current vice president. The younger Biden’s worked with pals in the Delaware senate to write Senate Bill 65 to expand the definition of a nuisance property under the law. The bill hasn’t been posted on the Delaware legislature’s web site yet. According to, the new bill would substantially broaden the DOJ’s reach:

Senate Bill 65 expands abatement to include gun crimes, gang activity, high levels of violent crime and other offenses that negatively impact the community. It also allows the court to consider increased police calls, decreased property values and neighbors’ fear in making decisions.

Increased police calls? Decreased property values? Sounds like just about every fraternity house I’ve ever seen or stumbled out of. And just what does “neighbors’ fear in making decisions” mean? How does an attorney from the DOJ assess that?

That brings us to gun crimes. Delaware has some of the highest incidences of firearm robbery and assault crimes in the nation, 5th and 8th respectively. So the question isn’t academic.

Let’s say your teenage son gets in with the wrong crowd and mugs someone at gunpoint. Away from home. Is that enough to take your house? Or you head to the range and, due to inexperience and poor training, negligently discharge your weapon. The stray round strikes someone else in the foot and you’re charged with assault. Can you lose your home because of that? Are you relying on the discretion of a publicly employed attorney?

Now I know prosecutorial abuse and government agency overreach are rare. Rare like dollar bills coming off the printing press at the mint. And I’d like to see the exact wording of the new bill. But until then that ever-increasing libertarian streak in me has my Spidey senses tingling. And I don’t even live in Delaware.


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  1. Wilmington PD has murderers on it. Beau doesn’t care. See Will Grigg’s articles on the murder of the marine from Virginia.

  2. Now if Delaware would only pass a law cracking down on bad hair transplants, we could finally be rid of Joe Biden.

  3. Over 140 properties having been ‘rehabilitated’. Over 300 more are on the DOJ’s watch list.

    I can’t help but still be amazed at the insanity of this. They know of 300+ crack houses and they know that crack etc is being sold and used in large quantities in these houses, and they still can’t stop them?

    • These aren’t necessarily crack houses. They’ve been reported by someone as being nuisances. For whatever reason. My guess is that they’re watching these houses to see if they have probable cause to proceed further.

  4. Is this some kind of insane expansion of public domain? It is my limited legal understanding that you can only confiscate someone’s house if you can show that it was paid for with illicit gains. So an idiot teenager starts selling weed in some suburb, you can take his parents’ house? That doesn’t quite seem right.

    Aren’t most “crack houses” rented anyway? Doesn’t the landlord have some property rights (or even potential liability)?

  5. So much for “due process of law” guaranteed by the U.S. and State constitutions. Tell your Delaware Senator to VOTE NO on this POS legislation. If it passes, then the citizenry should declare every member in the General Assembly a nuisance, keep calling the cops on them and demand their houses be seized. See if they don’t void this law.

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