Delaware legislator acquitted of domestic violence charge – Greeley Tribune

DOVER, Dell (AP) — A Democratic state senator who helped lead criminal justice reform efforts in the Delaware General Assembly was acquitted of domestic violence charges Thursday.

A New Castle County jury found 40-year-old Darius J. Brown not guilty of the misdemeanors of both offensive touching and disorderly conduct. The allegations stemmed from a dispute at a Wilmington restaurant in May 2021.

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A 44-year-old woman told officials that Brown, a Wilmington Democrat, had punched her in the face after starting a debate about a social media post. Police said Brown got up from the booth where the couple were sitting and threw a glass of water, which broke into pieces.

The prosecution’s case relied mostly on the testimony of the woman. Video surveillance footage showed Brown approaching the woman near the table, but did not capture the alleged incident. Witnesses testified that they heard glass breaking and saw Brown exit the restaurant, and the woman appeared distraught.

Prosecutors also presented evidence that Brown sent the woman a dozen roses the next day with a card declaring his love for her, suggesting it was evidence of a guilty conscience.

Brown did not testify. His lawyer argued that the woman had lied to embarrass him.

Following the incident, Brown, a former chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus, was removed from the Senate Judiciary Committee, which he chaired. Four months later, he was named executive director of the Wilmington Hope Commission, a group that works to reduce recidivism among criminal offenders and help them integrate back into the community.

In November, Brown was removed from his seat on the legislature’s Joint Capital Budget Committee. Accused of abusing a woman member of Rajya Sabha, Melissa Minor-Brown, a New Castle Democrat, complained that Brown became verbally abusive towards her after a ceremony in which Democratic Gov. John Carney signed several criminal justice reform bills into law.

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Senate Majority Whip Elizabeth Lockman, a Wilmington Democrat who chairs the Rules and Ethics Committee, later announced that she would convene the panel to investigate Brown’s conduct and adopt procedures to make any recommendations to the full Senate. . The panel, which has not met in 35 years, is expected to hold a preliminary meeting in January.

Senate President Pro Tem David Sokola issued a statement Thursday saying that despite Brown’s acquittal, he “has been involved in several confrontations in public places over the past year, even as that behavior escalated to the level of criminal conduct.” Ho.”

“As elected representatives of the people we serve, I believe we hold ourselves to a high level of accountability and conduct for Delaware,” Sokola said.

Brown has a history of non-compliance with the law, including pleading guilty to resisting arrest in 2009 and a no-contest prior to the offensive touch ruling in 2004.

Brown also has a long history of traffic arrests and convictions, which led a court commissioner to act in 2007 on a petition by the Attorney General’s office recommending that he be declared a habitual offender and banned from driving for five years. be banned.

Nevertheless, Brown was arrested a year later after a traffic stop and later convicted of driving while his license was suspended or revoked, the sixth time he had been charged with that crime. Under state law, a habitual offender found guilty of driving a motor vehicle while prohibited from doing so faces a mandatory prison sentence of at least 90 days, but never on Brown. Not charged with that specific offense.

After being elected to the state Senate in 2018, Brown, a former Wilmington councilor, failed to report on his required financial disclosure that he owed him thousands of dollars in past taxes.

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