CHAPTER 367

FAMILY COURT--NEW CASTLE COUNTY CHANGING COMPOSITION

AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 241, VOLUME 45, LAWS OF DELAWARE, AS AMENDED, ENTITLED "AN ACT CREATING A FAMILY COURT FOR NEW CASTLE COUNTY," BY CHANGING THE COMPOSITION OF THE COURT BY PROVIDING FOR TWO FULL TIME JUDGES WITH EQUAL AUTHORITY INSTEAD OF A JUDGE AND AN ASSOCIATE JUDGE; BY PROVIDING FOR THE APPOINTMENT, POWERS, DUTIES, QUALIFICATIONS AND SALARIES OF THE JUDGES; BY ELIMINATING A STATED SALARY, AND BY PROVIDING ADDITIONAL DUTIES FOR TILE CLERK; BY INCREASING THE LIMITS OF THE TOTAL BUDGET OF TILE COURT; BY PROHIBITING THE CRIMINAL PROSECUTION OF CHILDREN.

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

Section 1. That Volume 45, Laws of Delaware, be amended by striking out the second sentence of Section 2, Chapter 241 thereof, as amended by Chapter 306 of Volume 47, Laws of Delaware, beginning with the words "This Court shall be composed of," and by enacting and inserting in lieu thereof a new second sentence of said Section 2 as follows:

"This Court shall be composed of, be in charge of and be presided over by two Judges of equal authority and rank, who may hold Court separately, jointly or concurrently, both of whom shall be appointed and shall serve as herein provided."

Section 2. That Volume 45, Laws of Delaware, be further amended by striking out the first paragraph of Section 3 of Chapter 241 thereof, as amended by Section 2 of Chapter 306, Volume 47, Laws of Delaware, and by enacting and inserting in lieu thereof a new first paragraph of said Section 3 as follows:

Section 3. DEFINITIONS:--When used in this Act without modification, the word "Court" shall mean the Family Court for New Castle County, Delaware. The word "Judge" shall mean either of the Judges of the said Court, except as modified by Section 6 of Chapter 241, Volume 45, Laws of Delaware, as amended. The word "Child" shall mean a person who has not yet attained his eighteenth birthday.

Section 3. That Volume 45, Laws of Delaware, be further amended by striking out Section 5 of Chapter 241 thereof, as amended by Chapters 212 and 213 of Volume 46, and by Chapter 306 of Volume 47, Laws of Delaware, and by enacting and inserting in lieu thereof a new Section 5 as follows:

Section 5. APPOINTMENT OF JUDGES; SALARIES; QUALIFICATIONS:--Upon the approval of this Act the Governor, by and with the consent of a majority of all members elected to the Senate shall appoint and commission two Judges, who shall have equal power and authority to hold and preside over the Court.

The Judges first appointed shall be appointed as assigned by the Governor for terms of six and twelve years respectively; each of said terms to begin on July 1, 1951. Each Judge shall serve until his successor has been appointed and confirmed.

The successors of the Judges first appointed shall be appointed in the same manner as provided in this Section for terms of twelve years; provided, however, that if a Judgeship vacancy shall occur in any manner except expiration of a term, the Governor shall fill such vacancy for the remainder of the unexpired term only.

It is herein provided that in the making of the original appointments pursuant to this Act, or in the making of subsequent appointments, or in the making of an appointment to fill any vacancy, there shall never be in office at the same time more than one Judge appointed from the same political party.

The salary of each of the Judges shall be Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000.00) per year.

The Judges shall be residents of New Castle County, duly admitted to the practice of law in the State of Delaware, and they shall be selected with reference to their interest and experience in and understanding of the problems of family and child welfare. Said Judges shall be eligible for reappointment. During their tenure of office, the Judges shall not be permitted to engage in the practice of law.

Section 4. That Volume 45, Laws of Delaware, be further amended by striking out Section 6 of Chapter 241 thereof, and by enacting and inserting in lieu thereof a new Section 6 as follows:

Section 6. POWER OF JUDGES; JOINTLY; SEPARATELY:--The Judges, when acting jointly, as shall be evidenced by their order in writing, signed by both Judges, shall have full power:

To adopt a seal; to establish a schedule of costs and fees; to require that all the process of the Court shall be tested in the names of either or both Judges; to provide for such deposits as may be deemed necessary; to determine the allocations of moneys within the Court's budget; to submit the Court's budget to the proper authorities; to provide for the keeping of the Court's legal and social records; to make Court rules and regulations establishing the Court's practices, processes and procedures, legal and social; to require bonds from such Court employees as they shall deem necessary; to appoint and to discharge employees, and to fix their duties and salaries, any language contained in any Section of Chapter 241 of Volume 45, Laws of Delaware, as amended, appearing to be to the contrary hereof notwithstanding.

Each of the said Judges, acting separately, shall have full power to exercise all other powers granted to "The Judge" under Chapter 241 of Volume 45, Laws of Delaware, as amended, and particularly to apply any of the Court's rules, regulations, practices, processes and procedures in any given cause, action or matter properly before the Court, and subject to the provisions of Chapter 241 of Volume 45, Laws of Delaware, as amended, and shall have all the powers of a Court of record possessed by a Court of general jurisdiction of the State.

Section 5. That Volume 45, Laws of Delaware, be further amended by striking out the first paragraph of Section 7 of Chapter 241 thereof, as amended by Chapter 213 of Volume 46, Laws of Delaware, and by enacting and inserting in lieu thereof a new first paragraph of said Section 7, as follows:

Section 7. CLERK:--The Judges shall appoint a suitable person to act as Clerk of the Court, who shall hold said office at the pleasure of the Judges, in manner and form as is set forth in Section 4 of this Act. He shall have care of the legal records of the Court and he shall receive all fees, fines, costs and cash bail, arising out of any proceeding had in this Court. After deducting the cost of the service of process of the Court and the costs of executing the orders of the Court, relating to matters properly before it, including a Court order under Section 17 of Chapter 241 of Volume 45, Laws of Delaware, he shall each month pay over the balance of the proceeds of fines, costs and forfeited bail bonds in his hands, one-half to the Mayor and Council of the City of Wilmington, and one-half to the Levy Court of New Castle County.

Section 6. That Volume 45, Laws of Delaware, be further amended by striking out Section 8 of Chapter 241 thereof, as amended by Chapter 212 of Volume 46, Laws of Delaware, and as further amended by Chapter 306 of Volume 47, Laws of Delaware, and by enacting and inserting in lieu thereof a new Section 8, as follows:

Section 8. APPOINTMENT OF DIRECTOR, PROBATION OFFICERS AND OTHER EMPLOYEES; SALARIES; BUDGET:--Subject to the provisions of Section 6 of Chapter 241, Volume 45, Laws of Delaware, as amended by this Act, and of Section 10 of said Chapter, the Judges shall select and appoint a Director, and such Supervisors and Probation Officers and other employees as they shall deem necessary, and shall fix the salaries of all the employees of the Court, except such salaries as are established by law, and shall determine all necessary expenses incurred by the employees in the performance of their duties, and all other necessary expenses of the Court; provided, however, that the total budget of the Family Court for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 1951 and ending June 30, 1952, and for each like fiscal year period thereafter, shall not exceed the sum of One Hundred and Thirty-five Thousand Dollars ($135,000.00).

Section 7. That Volume 45, Laws of Delaware, be further amended by striking out the first paragraph of Section 14 of Chapter 241 thereof, and by enacting and inserting in lieu thereof new matter as follows:

Section 14. CRIMINAL PROSECUTION OF CHILDREN FORBIDDEN; PROCEEDINGS IN DELINQUENCY:--When any child is arrested with or without warrant, he shall not be taken before the Municipal Court of the City of Wilmington; the Court of Common Pleas for New Castle County, or before a Justice of the Peace, Alderman or any other Magistrate, but shall be taken directly before the Family Court if it be in session, or if it be not in session, then to the place of detention designated by either of the Judges of the Family Court.

No child as defined in this Act shall be charged with or prosecuted for any crime or unlawful act, other than a capital felony, in any Court in New Castle County.

The Family Court shall take exclusive jurisdiction of such arrested child and shall forthwith proceed in his interest as a delinquent child by petition as set forth in Section 12 of Chapter 241, Volume 45, Laws of Delaware.

Approved June 21, 1951.