JUDGE RICHARD S. GEBELEIN
A senior judicial and prosecutorial expert with more than thirty-five years of experience in the areas of prosecution, defense, judicial reform, sentencing policy, legal education, criminal law reform, ethics and professional discipline, Judge Gebelein is an experienced attorney, jurist, and international judicial reform expert who currently serves as Senior Counsel to The Bifferato Firm, P.A. where he specializes in alternative dispute resolution and consults on complex litigation. He also currently serves as a consultant to American University’s Office of Justice Programs.
Judge Gebelein’s Professional Experience includes:
•Serving as Attorney General of Delaware, the elected prosecutor for Delaware responsible for all criminal prosecution within the state courts. In this role, he was responsible for managing a staff of over 200 investigators, prosecutors and other professionals. (1979-1983)
•Later serving as Chief Deputy Attorney General of Delaware for Attorney General Biden and acting in his behalf when he was deployed to Iraq. (2007-2009)
•Serving as an International Judge on the State Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, War Crimes Chamber and Economic Crime and Corruption Chamber. (2005-2006)
•Serving as Chief of Party for the USAID sponsored Justice Sector Development Project II in Bosnia and Herzegovina which project worked to improve the justice sector, encourage the participation of civil society in this sector and survey public opinion as to the sector. (2009-2011)
•Serving as a short-term consultant on judicial and law reform projects in the United States, Armenia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Mongolia, Lithuania, Russia, Sri Lanka and other nations.
•Serving as a Superior Court Judge in Delaware for 21 years, where he presided over complex civil litigation including medical malpractice, insurance coverage and toxic torts as well as serious criminal cases. (1984-2005)
•Serving as a member and later chair (13 years, 1989-2003) of SENTAC, Delaware’s Sentencing Commission where he supervised criminal justice research and championed criminal justice and sentencing reform based upon the results of that research, e.g. advocating for repeal of mandatory minimum sentences, establishment of evidenced based sentencing alternatives to reserve prison space for serious violent offenders.
•Serving as a founding member and on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (2009-2015) where he championed the use of new technology to both supervise offenders in the community (electronic home detention and/or GPS monitoring) as well as monitor their abstinence from controlled substances and alcohol (Transdermal patches, SCRAM Bracelets, Ignition Interlock Devices, etc.).
•Serving as “Rule of Law Officer” for Combined Forces Command-Afghanistan (2004-2005) where he coordinated law reform efforts of coalition forces with international organizations, US civilian agencies and Afghan agencies. In this role, he developed and presented a program on appellate procedures for the new Justices of the Supreme Court of Afghanistan.
•Serving as the State Judge Advocate for the Delaware National Guard, Colonel (ret.).
•In 1993 he established Delaware’s drug treatment court to better address the problem of drug involved offenders using SENTAC research to target high risk/high needs probation violators. In this role, he expanded the use of electronic technology to intensively supervise drug dependent offenders and assure their compliance with treatment and curfews.
•Serving as a member of the Delaware Sentence Research and Evaluation Committee where he participated in developing research projects to be carried out by the Delaware Statistical Analysis Center.
•Serving as the first full time Disciplinary Counsel for the Delaware Supreme Court.
•Serving as Chief Deputy Public Defender for the State of Delaware. In this role, he increased the number of fulltime career public defenders.
•Serving as a member of peer review panels for grant applications to Bureau of Justice Assistance, Department of Justice and other federal agencies.
•Serving as a founding member and Board of Directors member for the National Association of Drug Court Professionals.
•Serving as an adjunct faculty member at Widener University School of Law for over 30 years. He also served as adjunct faculty for University of Delaware and Wilmington University.
•Serving as a member, Cambridge Institute of Criminology, Sentencing Policy Group, Cambridge, United Kingdom (2000-2002).
•Serving as a member of Executive Sessions on Sentencing and Corrections, sponsored by National Institute of Justice (1998-2000).
•Serving as a member of the Delaware Violence against Women Act Committee.
•Testifying as an expert on criminal law reform before the US Congress and Delaware General Assembly, as well as other state legislatures. Testifying as an expert before the Council of Europe.
•Developing and Presenting a Master Class on “Drug Courts” as well as consulting with the City of Rotterdam, Netherlands on establishment of drug courts (1998).
•Serving as a legal expert on numerous justice reform projects in the US as well as overseas funded by USAID, INL, DRL, OPDAT, UNDP, ABA, and other organizations.
•Serving as a line prosecutor at Delaware Department of Justice. (1971-1974)
Judge Gebelein’s Educational Background includes:
•Diploma in Islamic Studies, University of Sarajevo, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, 2006.
•Master of Judicial Studies, University of Nevada, Reno, NV, 2003.
•J.D., Villanova University Law School, Villanova, PA, 1970.
•B.S., Mathematics, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, 1967.
2003 - 2006 - State Judge Advocate, Joint Forces Command, Delaware National Guard.
2004 - 2005 - Rule of Law Officer, Office of Staff Judge Advocate, Combined Forces
Command – Afghanistan. Rank: Colonel. Clearance: Top Secret.
Responsible to coordinate judicial and law reform efforts among
international organizations, US Government agencies, coalition forces and
the Government of Afghanistan. Also, appointed as Military Magistrate
1981 - 2003 - Staff Judge Advocate and Military Judge to the Delaware
Army National Guard.
1979 - 1981 - Assistant Staff Judge Advocate, Delaware Army National Guard.