Posted: Dec. 7, 2006

Attorney General-elect Joseph R. “Beau” Biden III announced today that he will enlist Richard S. Gebelein, a former attorney general, state and international judge, and decorated National Guard veteran, as his chief deputy. Gebelein will return to the Attorney General’s Office after completing an international judgeship in Bosnia in January.

As the chief deputy attorney general, Gebelein will hold the number-two position in the Delaware Department of Justice, responsible for advising the attorney general in all legal matters, overseeing each of the divisions, and aiding in the implementation of policy.

Biden, a Democrat elected last month to a four-year term, takes office Jan. 2. In choosing Gebelein, he selected a Republican as his second-in-command.

“I am extraordinarily pleased that Judge Gebelein has agreed to serve with me,” Biden said. “He brings with him decades of experience marked by success, innovation and leadership. He is truly the best person for the job, and I look forward to shaping the Department of Justice into the best law firm in the state with Judge Gebelein by my side.”  

Gebelein served as Delaware’s attorney general from 1979 to 1983, after which he was appointed to Superior Court, where he sat with distinction until 2005. In 1993 Gebelein initiated Delaware’s Drug Court, a nationally recognized system that has led a number of states and jurisdictions to seek his assistance in administering similar operations.

Gebelein is a retired colonel from the Delaware Army National Guard and was stationed from September 2004 to April 2005 in Kabul, Afghanistan, where he helped shape that nation’s legal system.  In August 2005 Gebelein was appointed as an international judge to the Court of Bosnia & Herzegovina to hear war crimes cases as well as cases involving corruption and economic crime.

From his overseas post, Judge Gebelein was enthusiastic about joining Biden’s office. “My experience over the past two and a half years in helping to implement the Rule of Law in post-conflict situations has reinforced my faith in the American adversary system. When Attorney General-elect Biden asked me if I would assist him in making the Delaware Department of Justice function in the best possible manner to protect the people of Delaware, I was honored to accept,” he said.

Biden noted that Gebelein’s breadth of experience and stellar reputation will be instrumental in implementing his plan for a proactive Department of Justice equipped to handle 21st Century crimes with 21st Century solutions. Among Biden’s proposals are a dedicated Child Predator Unit and the institution of community prosecution.

“These ideas make sense. They made sense to the voters of Delaware, both Democrat and Republican, and having a prominent, lifelong Republican like Judge Gebelein at my side as we put these powerful measures into place sends a clear message that this Department of Justice will be run in a non-partisan manner. The job of the attorney general is not to make the law, but to enforce the law," Biden said.