Attorney General Beau Biden Addresses Widener Law’s Delaware Campus
Web Editor - Published: September 4, 2008

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Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden speaks to the crowd in the Ruby R. Vale Moot Courtroom.

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Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden posed with student leaders. From left, Bill Newman, Dan Devlin, Biden, Kevin Gallagher, Robyn Airey-Rose, Sylvia Siegel and Grant McDowell

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Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden speaks to the crowd in the Ruby R. Vale Moot Courtroom.

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Law Dean Linda L. Ammons, Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden and Professor Erin Daly, associate dean of faculty research and development.

Students, faculty, and staff filled the Ruby R. Vale Moot Court to capacity on Tuesday, September 2nd to listen to remarks by Delaware’s Attorney General, Joseph R. “Beau” Biden III. It was the Attorney General’s first public appearance since returning from the Democratic National Convention in Denver where he introduced his father, United States Senator, democratic vice presidential candidate, and long-time Widener Law adjunct faculty member Joe Biden.

Dean Linda L. Ammons welcomed the Attorney General and several members of his staff to the campus, including Richard Gebelein, the Chief Deputy Attorney General and a former Attorney General himself, Chief of Staff Teresa Mason, and Patricia Dailey Lewis, the Director of the Family Services Division. Like Senator Biden, Mr. Gelebelein and Ms. Dailey Lewis have also been Adjunct Professors at Widener Law for many years. Biden noted his father’s connection to the school, saying, “He loves coming here.”

Addressing the gathered students, Dean Ammons spoke of the school’s mission to train citizen lawyers, saying, “We want you to leave here today with a sense of the importance of civic engagement.” Indeed, civic engagement was a prominent theme of General Biden’s remarks, as he explained that he was originally drawn to public service in order to work for those who are the most vulnerable in our society – children and the elderly.

The Attorney General then discussed the importance of gathering the right people around him in order to make the Attorney General’s Office function properly. He noted that many of the State’s deputies are graduates of Widener Law, including three of the four division directors.

The Attorney General also discussed measures to improve crime prevention in Delaware, noting that Delaware’s violent crime rate is too high. He discussed several initiatives to help combat this disturbing trend, beginning with Community Prosecution, which mirrors Community Policing by getting teams of prosecutors out into the community. He also touched on the implementation of a more vertical prosecution system in which a single prosecutor would take a specific case through each step from the Grand Jury all the way to the appellate level rather than the current horizontal system in place where prosecutors have only a limited amount of time to familiarize themselves with the specifics of a given case. Finally, he talked about the creation of the Family Division of the Department of Justice, and changes to the Child Protection Unit that would approach cases in a more holistic way.

During the question and answer portion of the program, Attorney General Biden answered a question about how the Attorney General’s Office is treating elder abuse from Professor Leslie Johnson. He also answered questions about the office’s relationship with the Department of Corrections, making sure that crime prevention efforts comply with 4th Amendment rights, and a question from Dean Ammons about providing legal advice to administrative agencies.

Born February 3rd, 1969 in Wilmington, Delaware, Attorney General Biden, graduated from Archmere Academy and the University of Pennsylvania, and earned his J.D. from the Syracuse University College of Law. He began his career in public service in 1995 at the United States Department of Justice, where he served as a Counsel in the Office of Policy Development until 1997. From 1997 until 2002, he worked as a Federal Prosecutor in the United States Attorney's Office in Philadelphia, with Widener Law Professor Geoff Moulton who, at the time, was First Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

A Captain in the Delaware Army National Guard's Judge Advocate General's Corps, Beau Biden is assigned to the 261st Signal Brigade in Smyrna, Delaware. He was deployed to Kosovo in 2001 to serve as Interim Legal Advisor for the United States Department of Justice. He is scheduled to be deployed on October 3rd for a tour of duty in Iraq.

In closing his remarks, Attorney General Biden encouraged the students in the audience to go into public service, remarking, “If you go into it early, it pays dividends to you personally and to your community.”