CHAPTER 236 - COURT OF COMMON PLEAS--NEW CASTLE COUNTY

AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 112A OF THE REVISED CODE OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE, BEING CHAPTER 250, VOLUME 29, LAWS OF DELAWARE AS AMENDED, RELATING TO THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS FOR NEW CASTLE COUNTY.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Delaware in General Assembly met (two-thirds of all the members elected to each Branch thereof concurring therein):

Section 1. That Chapter 112A of the Revised Code of the State of Delaware 1915 as amended by Chapter 250, Volume 29, Laws of Delaware, be and the same is hereby amended by striking out Paragraphs 3763B. Sec. 2, 3763C. Sec. 3, 3763E. Sec. 5, 3763H. Sec. 8, 3763M, Sec. 13, 3763N. Sec. 14, 37630. Sec. 15, as amended, and inserting in lieu thereof the following:--

3763B. Sec. 2. This Court shall be composed of, be in charge of and be presided over by one Judge who shall be appointed and who shall serve as hereinafter provided.

The Governor of the State of Delaware shall appoint and commission a Judge who shall hold office for a term of twelve years and who shall have power and authority to hold and preside over the Court of Common Pleas for New Castle County. No person shall be eligible to the office of Judge of the Court of Common Pleas for New Castle County unless he be a person learned in the law and of good standing as a practicing attorney in the Supreme Court of the State of Delaware for at least five years and a resident of New Castle County. During his tenure of office, said Judge shall not engage in the practice of law before any Court of this State. In the event the said Judge of the Court of Common Pleas for New Castle County shall be disabled, disqualified or unable for any cause to preside over said Court, the Chief Justice of the State of Delaware shall thereupon assign one of the Judges of the Superior Court of the State of Delaware, or the Governor may appoint a qualified member of the Bar of New Castle County as Judge ad litem, to hold said Court of Common Pleas during the absence, disability or disqualification of the Judge thereof. In the event of the appointment of a Judge ad litem by the Governor, said Judge ad litem shall receive a salary of Fifteen ($15.00) Dollars per day, to be paid by the State Treasurer out of the general funds of the State upon the certificate of the Chief Justice of the State of Delaware.

The Judge of the said Court of Common Pleas for New Castle County shall receive an annual salary of Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00), payable in equal monthly installments by the Levy Court of New Castle County.

3763C. Sec. 3. The said Common Pleas Court shall hold open court continuously throughout the year subject to such rules and regulations as the Judge thereof may promulgate.

3763E. Sec. 5. The Court shall have concurrent jurisdiction in New Castle County with the Superior Court in all civil actions at law, arising ex contractu or ex delicto, where the value of the matter or thing in controversy, exclusive of interest, shall not exceed the sum of One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00).

The amount claimed by the plaintiff where the said claim is for a sum certain and not in excess of One Thousand ($1,000.00) Dollars, exclusive of interest, shall be conclusive as to the jurisdiction of the said Court. In all actions at law, whether ex contractu or ex delicto, not involving any sum certain, the plaintiff shall file with his statement of the case a certificate as to the amount of damages claimed or the value of the thing or matter in controversy, which statement shall be conclusive as to the jurisdiction of the said Court. The said Court shall also have concurrent jurisdiction with the Court of General Sessions and the Superior Court for New Castle County, as the case may be, in cases where children or grandchildren neglect or refuse to support their parents or grandparents and vice versa, and with Justices of the Peace for New Castle County in actions of forcible entry, detainer and holding over of tenants; provided, however, that in cases of tenants holding over said Court shall have jurisdiction to assess damages in the amount claimed by the plaintiff in his statement, but not in excess of One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) exclusive of interest and costs.

The Court of Common Pleas for New Castle County shall have and may exercise jurisdiction of all those criminal matters and offenses enumerated in the 30th Section of the 4th Article of the Constitution of the State of Delaware, and committed within New Castle County outside the City of Wilmington, and to punish all persons convicted of said offenses or any of them, agreeable to the laws of the State of Delaware. Said Court shall also have and may exercise the same jurisdiction of all criminal matters and offenses committed in New Castle County outside the City of Wilmington as now conferred by law upon the Municipal Court of the City of Wilmington as to offenses committed in said City.

The Court of Common Pleas for New Castle County shall also have and may exercise the same jurisdiction and powers in criminal matters as is now vested in Justices of the Peace for New Castle County. The accused, in all cases where the Justice of the Peace now has jurisdiction and power to hear and finally determine the matter, shall have the right to elect to have the case tried by the Court of Common Pleas for New Castle County.

In all those cases where, by the provisions of this Act, the accused has the right to elect to be tried by the Court of Common Pleas for New Castle County, if the accused when brought before a Justice of the Peace for New Castle County, shall elect to be tried by the Court of Common Pleas for New Castle County, the Justice of the Peace shall hold such accused under sufficient bail for a hearing or for his appearance at said Court of Common Pleas, and in default of bail, the person accused shall be committed to the custody of the Board of Trustees of the New Castle County Workhouse to await the session of the said Court of Common Pleas; provided, however, if the accused is unable to give sufficient bail the Justice of the Peace may accept as a forfeit, conditioned upon the accused's appearance, as aforesaid, a sum of money equal in amount to the costs and maximum fine which could be imposed for such offense, or in lieu of such bail or forfeit may accept any article of sufficient value, which article may be sold for non-appearance in the manner provided by the rules of the said Court of Common Pleas. All bail bonds, money deposits, or articles accepted in lieu of bail or money, shall be turned over to the Clerk of the Court of Common Pleas for New Castle County forthwith, together with an itemized statement of all costs which may have accrued up to that time, and the same shall be taxed as costs against the accused in any judgment or sentence which may be pronounced against such accused in the said Court of Common Pleas, and when collected the costs of said Justice of the Peace shall be paid by the Clerk of said Court of Common Pleas to said Justice of the Peace.

The said Court shall have authority to punish contempt and to issue all processes necessary for the exercise of its criminal jurisdiction which process may be executed in any part of the State.

The proceedings in all criminal cases in the said Court of Common Pleas for New Castle County shall be without indictment by Grand jury, or trial by petit jury, with the right of appeal as provided in the 30th Section of the 4th Article of the Constitution of the State of Delaware.

The said Court shall also have the same authority at all times to receive pleas of guilty from persons charged with crimes and misdemeanors, as is now exercised by the Court of General Sessions, and thereupon to impose sentence or parole, according to law, as fully as is now done by the Court of General Sessions.

And further, said Court shall have jurisdiction, power and authority to receive, hear, try and dispose of all cases, arguments, motions, petitions, matters and business as, by certificates of the Judges of the Superior Court or Court of General Sessions for New Castle County, may be assigned or transferred to it by such Superior Court or Court of General Sessions, pursuant to rules of said Courts made for that purpose, and including cases where the parties in interest are entitled to a jury trial but have, in writing, filed with the said Superior Court or Court of General Sessions, waived such jury trial, provided the matter so assigned or transferred is in a cause of which said Court of Common Pleas would have original jurisdiction by this Act, and provided further that the provisions of this paragraph shall not apply to causes pending in said Superior Court or Court of General Sessions on appeal from or certiorari to said Court of Common Pleas. All rulings, decisions, judgments or determinations of any character made by the Judge of the Court of Common Pleas in any cause or matter assigned or transferred to it as herein provided shall be certified by said Judge of the Court of Common Pleas to the Court from which the same was assigned or transferred and shall be entered in said last mentioned Court as the ruling, decision, judgment or determination thereof.

3763H. Sec. 8. From any order, ruling, decision or judgment of said Court in a civil cause, the aggrieved party shall have the right of appeal to or certiorari from the Superior Court for New Castle County, except as hereinafter limited, in the same manner as now provided by law as to causes tried before Justices of the Peace and with the same limitations as now provided by law with respect to the recovery of costs in the Superior Court upon any such appeal.

No appeal shall be allowed, however, from any such order, ruling, decision or judgment of said Court except in the following cases:

1. A defendant shall have the right of appeal where a judgment is given for a plaintiff for an amount exceeding the sum of Two Hundred ($200.00) Dollars exclusive of interest and costs.

2. A plaintiff shall have the right of appeal where a judgment is given for a defendant; provided the Judge of the Court of Common Pleas, upon the application of the aggrieved party, shall certify to the Clerk of said Court before the taking of the appeal that the amount in controversy between the parties to the cause exceeds the sum of Two Hundred ($200.00) Dollars exclusive of interest and costs.

3. A plaintiff shall have the right of appeal where the plea of set-off or the recoupment of the defendant is sustained for an amount exceeding Two Hundred ($200.00) Dollars, exclusive of interest and costs; provided that in every case where a plea of set-off or a recoupment is sustained, in whole or in part, the Judge of the Court of Common Pleas shall file with the Clerk of said Court a memorandum of the verdict which shall indicate the amount of the set-off or recoupment so allowed.

4. A plaintiff shall have the right of appeal where judgment is given for a plaintiff for a sum less than claimed; provided the Judge of the Court of Common Pleas, upon the application of the aggrieved party, shall certify to the Clerk of said Court before the taking of the appeal that the amount in controversy between the parties to the cause exceeds the sum of Two Hundred ($200.00) Dollars, exclusive of interest and costs.

5. A defendant shall have the right of appeal where a plea of set-off or a recoupment is disallowed in whole or in part; provided the Judge of the Court of Common Pleas, upon the application of the aggrieved party, shall certify to the Clerk of said Court before the taking of the appeal that the amount in controversy between the parties under said plea of set-off or under said recoupment exceeds the sum of Two Hundred ($200.00) Dollars, exclusive of interest and costs.

6. In replevin cases the party against whom a decision or judgment shall be given shall have the right of appeal provided the Judge of said Court of Common Pleas, upon the application of the aggrieved party, shall certify to the Clerk of said Court before the taking of the appeal that the value of the goods, chattels and personal property involved in the cause exceeds the sum of Two Hundred ($200.00) Dollars.

3763M. Sec. 13. The Judge of the Court of Common Pleas shall appoint a Clerk for said Court who shall hold office during the pleasure of said Judge. The Clerk shall perform such duties as may be incident to said office and as the Judge thereof may direct. The Clerk of said Court shall receive a yearly salary of Twenty-four Hundred ($2400.00). Dollars to be paid monthly in equal installments by the Levy Court of New Castle County.

3763N. Sec. 14. The Judge of the said Court of Common Pleas shall appoint a bailiff who shall receive an annual salary of Six Hundred ($600.00) Dollars, payable monthly in equal installments by the Levy Court of New Castle County.

Approved May 1, 1935.