CHAPTER 119

PROVIDING FOR PENSIONS FOR MEMBERS OF STATE JUDICIARY

AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 29, DELAWARE CODE, BY ADDING A NEW CHAPTER PROVIDING FOR PENSIONS FOR MEMBERS OF THE STATE JUDICIARY.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Delaware:

Section 1. Title 29, Delaware Code, is amended by adding a new chapter thereto as follows:

CHAPTER 56

PENSIONS FOR MEMBERS OF THE STATE JUDICIARY

§ 5601. Board of State Judiciary Pension Trustee; membership; powers and duties

(a) There shall be a Board of State Judiciary Pension Trustees hereafter in this chapter referred to as "Trustees".

(b) The Trustees shall consist of the Chief Justice, the Secretary of State, and the president of the Farmers' Bank of the State of Delaware.

(c) The Trustees shall have control and management of the State Judiciary Retirement Fund provided for in this chapter and shall be responsible for all matters regarding the application and administration of this chapter. When the Trustees are considering the eligibility of the Chief Justice for benefits under this chapter, the senior Associate Justice shall fill his place with the Trustees.

§ 5602. State Judiciary Retirement Fund; contributions; use

(a) The State Judiciary Retirement Fund shall be established by the Trustees and kept by the State Treasurer. Each member of the State Judiciary who elects to accept the pro-

visions of this chapter shall contribute each year 5% of the first $7,500 of his annual salary to the Fund. Such contributions shall be pro-rated on a monthly basis.

(b) The Trustees shall invest and accumulate the contributions made to the Fund and shall pay all pensions under this chapter from the Fund. If at any time there shall be insufficient money in the Fund for the purposes of this chapter, the State Treasurer shall transfer funds from the General Fund to make up any such deficiency.

§ 5603. Requirements for pension benefits

(d) Each member of the State Judiciary, as it is presently or may hereafter be established by Article IV, Section 2, of the Constitution of Delaware, who shall accept the provisions of this chapter shall, upon his involuntary retirement from the State Judiciary after serving at least twelve years as a member thereof, receive an annual pension from the State, payable to him in equal monthly installments, commencing when he has attained the age of 65 years and continuing during the remainder of his lifetime.

(e) Each member of the State Judiciary, as it is presently or may hereafter be established by Article IV, Section 2, of the Constitution of Delaware, who shall accept the provisions of this chapter shall, upon his retirement from the State Judiciary, whether voluntary or involuntary, after serving at least 24 years as a member thereof, receive an annual pension from the State, payable to him in equal monthly installments, commencing upon the date of retirement and continuing during the remainder of his lifetime.

(f) If a member of the State Judiciary shall become permanently disabled, physically or mentally, while in office, he shall, from and after the ascertainment of such incapacity in the manner hereafter set forth, receive an annual pension from the State, payable in equal monthly installments during the remainder of his lifetime. A member of the State Judiciary may be deemed to be permanently physically or mentally incapacitated to perform the duties of his office after the Trustees

have considered, a certificate to that effect signed by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, or if the Chief Justice shall be the subject of such certificate, then by the Senior Justice of the Supreme Court, and by three persons duly licensed to practice medicine or surgery in this State and who have been actively engaged in such practice in this State for at least ten (10) years immediately preceding the signing of such certificate; said three persons to be previously designated by the Trustees.

§ 5604. Amount of pensions; method of determining

The amount of the annual pensions shall be determined by first arriving at the retiring member's average annual compensation during his highest paid five consecutive years in the State Judiciary and multiplying this by two percent (2%), and then multiplying the product thus obtained by the number of years of service (including fractions of years) of the retiring member in the State Judiciary.

§ 5605. Definition of involuntary retirement

Retirement from the State Judiciary shall be deemed to be involuntary, if, upon expiration of his term of office, a judge shall fail to be reappointed and confirmed, unless he shall have declined reappointment.

§ 5606. Acceptance of provisions; result

(a) Each new member of the State Judiciary, as it is presently or may hereafter be established by Article IV, Section 2, of the Constitution of Delaware, may accept the provisions of this chapter at the beginning of his first term of office by written declaration to that effect, which declaration shall be filed in the office of the Secretary of State. Upon the filing of such written declaration by a member of the State Judiciary, the benefits of this chapter shall be available to him. Present members of the State Judiciary shall elect whether or not they desire to accept the provisions of this chapter within 30 days after this chapter becomes law.

(b) Any declaration of acceptance of this chapter as hereinbefore provided shall constitute an authorization and direc-

tion by the member of the State Judiciary making the same that if a certificate of permanent physical or mental incapacity of such member shall be thereafter filed as provided for in section 5603 (c) of this chapter, such certificate shall, without any further act by such member, be deemed to constitute a res'gnation by such member, effective immediately after the filing of such certificate. A declaration of acceptance shall also authorize deductions for the contributions provided for in section 5602 of this chapter.

(c) For the purpose of determining the amount of his annual pension pursuant to the provisions of section 5604 of this chapter, the number of years of service of any present member of the State Judiciary shall include the period of his service prior and subsequent to such declaration, as a member of the State Judiciary as it is established by Article IV, Section 2, of the Constitution of Delaware, and as it has been and shall be established by any counterparts of said Section 2 prior and subsequent to the date of the enactment of this chapter.

§ 5607. Manner of making claim for benefits

(a) A judge entitled to benefits under section 5603 (a) of this chapter may make claim therefor by giving notice in writing to the Trustees that he has attained the age of 65 years and desires to retire.

(b) A judge entitled to benefits under section 5603 (b) of this chapter may make claim therefor by giving notice to the Trustees in writing of his retirement, whether his retirement be voluntary or involuntary, stating in such notice the date upon which such retirement shall become effective.

(c) Benefits under section 5603 (c) of this chapter shall be claimed on behalf of the judge entitled thereto by notice in writing to the Trustees from the Chief Justice or the Senior Justice of the Supreme Court, as the case may be.

(d) Upon receipt of any notice hereinabove mentioned, the Trustees shall consider the retirement and if they find that benefits are due under this chapter they shall notify the State

Treasurer who shall make payments of benefits hereunder out of the State Judiciary Retirement Fund or out of such funds as shall be appropriated for such purposes.

§ 5608. Termination of pension benefits

Any benefits available to any judge under the provisions of this chapter shall immediately terminate upon his appointment to and acceptance of any judicial office under State or Federal law.

§ 5609. Refunds or guaranteed returns

(a) If any member of the State Judiciary ceases to serve as such without becoming eligible for benefits under this chapter, all contributions he has made to the Fund by deductions from any salary paid to him as a member of the State Judiciary shall be returned to him without interest.

() If for any reason the total payments to a retired member of the State Judiciary do not equal at the time such payments cease under this chapter all contributions made by deductions from any compensation paid .to such member, the balance of such contributions shall be paid to the member or the member's estate without interest.

Section 2. All statutes and parts of statutes inconsistent with this Act are hereby repealed to the extent of such inconsistency only.

Approved May 18, 1955.