Bail, even a high one, is a risky proposition


In 2012, members of the U.S. Marshal’s Task Force arrested Dagsboro resident Matthew Burton in connection with the murder of Millsboro’s Nicole Bennett. It was a disturbing crime, both by the nature of the death, and the fact that Bennett and Burton both worked at the Bayshore Community Church in Gumsboro, and were fairly well-known to many in the community.

Bennett’s body was discovered in Worcester County, Md., so Burton had been spending the past several years in a Maryland jail, while Maryland and Delaware officials figured out where he would stand trial for his alleged offenses.

Recently extradited to Delaware, Burton faced a bail hearing on April 22 while he awaited his trial, currently scheduled for October. Burton was given a $1.5 million cash bail by Sussex County Superior Court Judge E. Scott Bradley.

Look, we strongly believe in the “innocent-until-proven-guilty” concept that accused individuals enjoy in this nation. It is the surest way of ensuring that prosecutors must meet a stringent burden of proof to strip away somebody’s freedom and, while not perfect, our judicial system works more often than not by employing this thought.

However, even if we do consider Burton to be innocent until a jury of his peers finds differently, the nature of this crime alone should prohibit someone accused of it from walking freely before his or her court appearance.

It is a horrible crime, and one that nobody of right mind wishes upon anyone else. If authorities believe Burton is the person who did this — or even could have done this — then it is imperative that he stay confined until the case is presented in a court of law.

The bail of $1.5 million cash is a steep one, and will most likely preclude Burton stepping out of jail. But why risk it?