CHAPTER 364

JUVENILE DELINQUENTS AND PROBATION - JUVENILE COURT OF KENT AND SUSSEX COUNTIES

AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 116 OF THE REVISED CODE OF DELAWARE, 1935, AS AMENDED, ENTITLED "JUVENILE DELINQUENTS AND PROBATION"--ARTICLE 4; CREATING A SEPARATE JUDGESHIP AND STAFF FOR THE JUVENILE COURT OF KENT AND SUSSEX COUNTIES, PROVIDING SALARIES THEREFOR, AND REDEFINING THE JURISDICTION AND GENERAL PURPOSE OF SAID COURT.

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 House concurring therein):

Section 1. That Chapter 116 of the Revised Code of Delaware, 1935, as amended, be and the same is hereby further amended by adding at the end of 4346. Section 31. of said Chapter 116 the following new and additional Sections to be known as 4346A. Sec. 31A. and 4346B. Sec. 31B. as follows:

4346A. Sec. 31A. Purpose; Basic Principle and Construction:--The purposes of this Act are to secure for each child under its jurisdiction, such care, guidance and control, preferably in his or her own home, as will serve the child's welfare and the best interests of the State; and when such child is removed from his own family, secure for him, custody, care, and discipline, as nearly as possible, equivalent to that which should have been given by his own parents, and to give original and exclusive jurisdiction to one Court in which matters pertaining to a family, as hereinafter defined, may be adjudicated, the said Court to have jurisdiction over both civil and criminal matters, as hereinafter set forth; and to provide for investigation of circumstances, an such probation work as may remove the necessity for committing persons to the corrective institutions of the State, to the end that the home shall, if possible, remain unbroken, and the legal duty and responsibility existing between man and wife, the parent and child, shall be recognized. The Sections of this Act shall be liberally construed that these purposes may be carried out.

Definitions:--When used in this Act without modification, the word "Court" shall mean the Juvenile Court of Kent and Sussex Counties. The word "Judge" shall mean the Judge of the Juvenile Court of Kent and Sussex Counties. The word "Child" shall mean a person who has not yet attained his or her eighteenth birthday.

The words "delinquent child" shall mean any child who violates any law of this State, or any charter, ordinance or regulation of a subdivision thereof, or who by reason of being wayward or habitually so deports himself or herself as to injure or endanger the morals or health of himself or herself or others.

The words "neglected child" shall mean any child who is abandoned by his or her parent, guardian or custodian; or whose parent, guardian or custodian cruelly abuses or willfully neglects him or her or refuses to provide proper or necessary subsistence, education or other necessary care for his or her health, morals, or well-being; or who is found in a disreputable place, or who associates with vagrant, vicious or immoral persons, or who engages in an occupation forbidden by the law of this State, or by any charter, ordinance or regulation of a subdivision thereof, or injurious to the health or morals of himself or herself or others.

The words "dependent child" 'shall mean a child who is homeless or destitute or without proper support or care through no fault of his or her parent, guardian or custodian; or who lacks proper care by reason of the mental or physical condition of the parent, guardian or custodian.

The word "family" as used in this Act shall be construed to mean husband and wife, parent and child, guardian and ward, and also any group of persons residing together in one home or household and under one head or management, who are related or connected by blood, marriage or operation of law.

4346B. Sec. 31B. Jurisdiction: The Court shall have exclusive original jurisdiction in all proceedings in Kent and/or Sussex County:

(a) Concerning any child residing in Kent and/or Sussex County who is alleged to be delinquent, neglected or dependent;

(b) Concerning any child residing in said counties charged with having violated any law of this State or any charter, ordinance or regulation of a subdivision thereof;

() For the enforcement of any law, regulation or ordinance for the education, protection, care or support of children;

(a) For the prosecution and punishment of persons within a family charged with ill treatment, abuse, abandonment or neglect of children, or with contributing to their delinquency, neglect or dependency, or with any other offense, except felonies, against children;

(b) Wherein any husband shall, without just cause, desert or willfully neglect or refuse to provide for the support and maintenance of his wife in destitute or necessitous circumstances, or wherein any parent shall, without lawful excuse, desert or willfully neglect or refuse to provide for the support of his or her child or children, under the age of sixteen years, whether born in wedlock or otherwise, as set forth in Paragraphs 3527. Sec. 2. to 3530. Sec. 14., inclusive, of Chapter 87 of the Revised Code of Delaware of 1935;

(c) Concerning maintenance of illegitimate children as set forth in Paragraphs 3558. Sec. 11. to 3572. Sec. 25. inclusive, and 3575. Sec. 28. of Chapter 88 of The Revised Code of Delaware of 1935;

(d) Concerning children of immoral or negligent parents as set forth in Article 3 of Chapter 88, Paragraphs 3554. to 3557., inclusive, of the Revised Code of Delaware of.1935;

(e) Concerning liability of relatives for the support of an inmate of the State Welfare Home or a poor person as provided by Paragraph 1634. Sec. 31. of Chapter 54 of the Revised Code of Delaware of 1935;

(i) Relative to cruel treatment of children, disposition of children for certain purposes and the appointment of a guardian for any minor upon conviction of person having control thereof and the right of entry and investigation, as provided by Paragraphs 2546. Sec. 48. to 2549. Sec. 51., inclusive, of Chapter 70 of the Revised Code of Delaware of 1935;

(j) Relative to the offense of abducting, taking or conveying away, without color of right, of a minor child under twelve years of age, as provided by Paragraphs 2553. Sec. 55. of Chapter 70 of the Revised Code of Delaware of 1935;

(k) Relative to the offenses of aiding escape or harboring, etc., of one committed to or on parole from Woods Haven School for Girls, the Ferris School for Boys, or the Kruse School, as provided by Paragraphs 2513. Sec. 15., 2524. Sec. 26., and 2531. Sec. 33 of Chapter 70 of the Revised Code of Delaware of 1935;

(1) All violations of the law regulating child labor, as provided by Paragraphs 3601. Sec. 11., to 3629. Sec. 39. of Article 3 of Chapter 90 of the Revised Code of Delaware of 1935;

(m) Relative to the unlawful placing or admitting a resident dependent child without the written consent of the State Board of Welfare and the unlawful bringing or sending a nonresident dependent child into this State without the written consent of the State Board of Welfare, as provided by Paragraphs 1125. Sec. 11., and 1126. Sec. 12. of Chapter 41 of the Revised Code of Delaware of 1935;

(n) Relative to the sale of deadly weapons to a minor, as provided by Paragraphs 233. Sec. 199. of Chapter 6; permitting minors under eighteen years of age to be present at games of chance, as provided by Paragraph 4064. Sec. 169. of Chapter 100; admitting a minor under eighteen years of age to, or permitting him to remain in certain places of amusement where intoxicating liquors are sold, etc., as provided by Paragraph 2552. Sec. 54. of Chapter 70; and the unlawful sale or delivery of certain drugs to a minor under sixteen years of age, as provided by Paragraph 949. Sec. 14. of Chapter 28--all of the Revised Code of Delaware of 1935;

(o) Now within the jurisdiction of the Juvenile Court for Kent and Sussex Counties, as now provided by law pursuant to the provisions of Article 3 of Chapter 116, Paragraphs 4346. Sec. 31. to 4353. Sec. 38., inclusive, of the Revised Code of Delaware of 1935, which jurisdiction by this Act is extended to all children until such children shall have attained their eighteenth birthdays.

AND FURTHER, the Court shall have concurrent jurisdiction in Kent and/or Sussex County:

(a) Relative to the charge and custody of minor children when the parents shall live in a state of separation without being divorced, as provided by Paragraph 2550. Sec. 52. of Chapter 70 of the Revised Code of Delaware of 1935;

(b) Of the offense of lewdly and lasciviously playing or toying with a female child under the age of sixteen years, as provided by Paragraph 5168. Sec. 12. of Chapter 149 of the Revised Code of Delaware of 1935;

(c) Of all violations of the Liquor Control Act, wherein any person under the age of 18 years is involved.

Said Court also 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 Judge of the Superior Court, Court of General Sessions or Orphans' Court for Kent and/or Sussex County, may be assigned or transferred to it by any of said Courts, pursuant to rules of said Courts made for that purpose.

All rulings, decisions, judgments or determinations of any character made by the Judge in any cause or matter assigned or transferred to it as herein provided shall be certified by said Judge of the Juvenile Court to the Court from which same was assigned or transferred and upon approval thereof by said last mentioned Court, with or without any further proceeding, shall be entered in said last mentioned Court as the ruling, decision, judgment or determination thereof.

Such jurisdiction shall extend to and include any amendment, supplement or addition heretofore, or hereafter, made in relation to the matters and offenses above specified and shall include the right and authority to inquire of, hear, try and finally determine all such proceedings and to impose judgment by probation, fine or imprisonment, agreeable to the laws of this State, or to any charter, ordinance or regulation of a subdivision thereof in Kent and/or Sussex County.

The Court shall have authority to punish contempt, and to issue all process necessary for the exercise of its jurisdiction, which process may be executed in any part of the State, and it shall be the duty of any sheriff, county, town or city constable, or police officer, or State Police Officer within his respective jurisdiction, to execute the same when placed in his hands and to make proper return thereof, and any failure properly to execute the same and to make return as directed shall be punishable as a contempt of said Court.

The Court shall have the authority and jurisdiction of a Conservator of the Peace within Kent and/or Sussex County, and said Court shall have the jurisdiction and authority, as a committing magistrate, to commit for trial at the proper Court all persons charged with a breach of any of the laws of this State or with a breach of any charter, ordinance or regulation of a subdivision thereof; it shall commit or bind the defendant for his appearance at the proper Court to answer the charge and may bind witnesses for their appearance and may require surety of them as deemed necessary. The process issued by said Court, sitting as a committing magistrate, shall be the same as is issued by a Justice of the Peace in like cases, and all process shall be directed and shall be executed in like manner as other process issued out of the Court.

Said Court shall have no jurisdiction, other than that of a committing magistrate, in cases wherein a child, as herein defined, is charged with the commission of a capital felony.

Section 2. That Chapter 116 of the Revised Code of Delaware, 1935, as amended, be and the same is hereby further amended by striking out all of 4347. Sec. 32. of said Chapter and inserting in lieu thereof a new Section, to be known as 4347. Sec. 32., as follows:

4347. Sec. 32. Judge; Power; Term; Salary:--The Governor of the State of Delaware shall appoint and commission a Judge of said Court, who shall be a resident of Kent or Sussex County. Said Judge shall hold office for a term of twelve his and shall be eligible for reappointment. He shall serve until his successor has been appointed and confirmed. His successor shall be appointed in the same manner as provided in this Section for the Judge first appointed, for a term of twelve years. If a vacancy shall occur in any manner except expiration of a term, the Governor shall fill said vacancy as aforesaid for the remainder of the unexpired term. During his tenure of office the Judge shall not be permitted to engage in any other gainful occupation or in any political activity whatsoever.

The Judge shall have full power to adopt a seal, make and publish general rules regulating the practice and proceedings of the Court and the keeping of its records, including a schedule of costs and fees, and providing for such deposits as may be deemed necessary, and shall have all the powers of a Court of record possessed by a Court of general jurisdiction of this State.

If a vacancy shall occur by expiration of term, the Governor shall fill said vacancy as aforesaid for the full term.

The salary of the Judge shall be Ten Thousand ($10,000.00) Dollars per annum, payable monthly by the State Treasurer out of the General Fund of the State.

Section 3. That Chapter 116 of the Revised Code of Delaware, 1935, as amended, be and the same is hereby further amended by striking out all of 4348. Sec. 33. of said Chapter and inserting in lieu thereof the following to be known as 4348. Sec. 33.:

4348. Sec. 33. Place for Holding Court; Expenses; How Paid:--It shall be the duty of the respective Levy Courts of Kent and Sussex Counties to select and set apart for the Juvenile Court for Kent and Sussex Counties suitable rooms, properly furnished and equipped for the use of the Court and its Officers.

All expenses of the Juvenile Court of Kent And Sussex Counties including telephone, supplies, office equipment, books, records, writs and other papers necessary for the said Court to function in Kent and/or Sussex County as well as the travel expense of the staff personnel and Judge, shall be paid by the respective Levy Courts of Kent and/or Sussex County upon bills presented to the same, verified by the Judge of the Juvenile Court of Kent and Sussex Counties. For the purpose of this Act, travel expense of staff personnel and Judge shall be based upon the same schedule of payment as allowable by the State of Delaware to its employees in other departments.

Section 4. That Chapter 116 of the Revised Code of Delaware, 1935, as amended, be and the same is hereby further amended by striking out all of 4349. Sec. 34. and inserting in lieu thereof the following to be known as 4349. Sec. 34.:

4349. Sec. 34. Clerks; Duties; Salary:--The Judge, by and with the approval and consent of the Levy Court of the respective County in which such shall be employed, shall appoint a Clerk with stenographic experience in each County, each of whom shall receive an annual salary of Three Thousand ($3,000.00) Dollars payable monthly by the State Treasurer out of the General Fund of the State. The Clerks shall have care of the records of the Court in a respective County and shall receive all fees, fines and costs arising out of any proceeding had in the Court.

The Clerks may administer all necessary oaths, enter judgbond to the State of Delaware in the sum of Five Thousand ($5,000.00) Dollars, with sufficient surety, to execute faithfully all the duties of his or her office during his or her continuance therein, such bond to be approved by the Judge and the respective Levy Court; and should the Clerk so appointed fail to give bond from the date of his appointment, the Judge by and with the approval of the respective Levy Court shall make a new appointment.

The Clerks may administer all necessary oaths; enter judgments, issue commitments and execution to enforce the same, and make up and keep the records of the Court in all cases therein under the direction of the Judge. The Clerks shall issue all process under his or her hand and the seal of the Court and attest the same in the name of the Judge, signing it by his or her title of office, and shall tax costs.

The Clerks may issue warrants, upon complaint filed in writing, and upon oath, in all cases within the jurisdiction of and returnable before the Judge.

The Clerks may take bail from persons arrested when the Court is not in session, subject to revision by the Court, and shall also under like direction of the Judge, do all other acts necessary to carry out the jurisdiction and process of the Court.

Section 5. That Chapter 116 of the Revised Code of Delaware, 1935, as amended, be and the same is hereby further amended by striking out all of 4350. Sec. 35. and inserting in lieu thereof the following to be known as 4350. Sec. 35.:

4350. Sec. 35. Probation Officers; Appointment; Salary and Duties:--The Judge, by and with the approval and consent of the Levy Court of the respective County in which such shall be employed, shall appoint a Probation Officer in each County, each of whom shall receive an annual salary of Three Thousand ($3,000.00) Dollars payable monthly by the State Treasurer out of the General Fund of the State. The Probation Officer shall hold office at the pleasure of the Judge by and with the approval of the Levy Court.

The Judge shall satisfy himself as to their education, ability, experience, personality, knowledge of and general adaptability to probation service. The word "experience" as used in this Section shall include knowledge gained in the supervision over or care of children and from personal contacts with adults and children.

The Probation Officers shall possess, and are hereby vested with all the power and authority of the sheriffs of Kent and Sussex Counties to make arrests and authority to go into the home of any delinquent, dependent, incorrigible or neglected child.

When any child is to be brought before the Court, it shall be the duty of the Probation Officer to make investigation of such case and to be present in Court to represent the interests of the child when the case is heard, to furnish to the Court such information and assistance as the Court or Judge may require and to take charge of any child before and after the trial, as may be directed by the Court; and in all cases before final disposition of the case is made there shall be a social and psychological study of the child and in more serious cases a psychiatric study with the assistance of a mental hygiene clinic.

Section 6. Other Employees; Appointment of; Salary:--The Judge by and with the approval and consent of the Levy Court of the respective County in which such shall be employed, or by and with the approval and consent of the Levy Courts of both Counties in the event the employee is to operate in both Counties, shall appoint such other employees and officers as from time to time shall prove necessary, such as a negro family worker, gentleman Probation Officer to work with alcoholics, etc.; provided, however, that the total remuneration of such additional employees shall not exceed the sum of Twelve Thousand ($12,000.00) Dollars. Said remuneration of said additional employees shall be paid by the State Treasurer out of the General Fund of the State of Delaware.

Section 7. That Chapter 116 of the Revised Code of Delaware, 1935, as amended, be and the same is hereby further amended by striking out all of 4352. Sec. 37. and inserting in lieu thereof the following to be known as 4352. Sec. 37.:

4352. Sec. 37. Certain Sections of an Act Creating a Family Court for New Castle County to Apply to This Article:--Sections 12, 13, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 22, 23, 24 and 27 inclusive, of the Act Creating a Family Court for New Castle County, as approved April 20, 1945, shall apply to the Juvenile Court of Kent and Sussex Counties with the same force and effect and to the same extent as they now apply to the Family Court for New Castle County, and where the word Director appears it is to be construed to mean a Probation Officer, and when reference is made to other Courts within New Castle County it is to be construed to apply to the respective Courts of Kent or Sussex County as the case may be.

Section 8. That Chapter 116 of the Revised Code of Delaware, 1935, as amended, be and the same is hereby further amended by striking out all of 4353A. Sec. 38A.

Section 9. Functions of Court During Illness or Absence of Judge:--In the event the said Judge of the Juvenile Court of Kent or Sussex County shall be unable to give his attendance to Court by reason of illness or otherwise, said Judge may, by and with the consent and approval of the Levy Court, appoint a member of the Bar of the respective County involved to hold Court in Sussex County and/or Kent County to preside over the Juvenile Court of Kent and Sussex Counties as a Deputy Judge during the absence of the Judge of the Court, and while so presiding said Deputy or Deputies shall receive such remuneration as shall be agreed upon by the Levy Court and the Judge out of funds allocated and provided for under Section 6 of this Act.

Section 10. Invalid Sections Shall Not Affect Other Sections:--If any word, section, paragraph, clause, or sentence of this Act shall be declared invalid by a Court of competent jurisdiction, the remaining sections, paragraphs, clauses and sentences shall not be affected.

Approved June 21, 1951.