CHAPTER 533

RELATING TO STATE JUDICIARY PENSIONS

AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 56, TITLE 29, DELAWARE CODE, (APPROVED MAY 18, 1955) BY CHANGING, FOR THE PURPOSE OF PROVIDING PENSIONS FOR ITS MEMBERS, THE MEANING AND COMPOSITION OF "THE STATE JUDICIARY"; BY CHANGING THE METHOD OF DETERMINING THE AMOUNT OF PENSION OF A RETIRING MEMBER THEREOF BY INCLUDING IN HIS YEARS OF SERVICE ALL YEARS SERVED AS A JUDGE PRIOR AND SUBSEQUENT TO HIS BECOMING, AS A RESULT OF THIS ACT, A MEMBER 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 striking out § 5603 and enacting in lieu thereof a new § 5603, as follows:

§ 5603. State Judiciary; meaning; composition; requirements for pension benefits

(a) The term "State Judiciary" wherever used in this Chapter and for the purposes of this Chapter means the aggregate number of Judges who, at any given time, meet all the requirements and possess all the qualifications set forth herein.

For the purposes of this Chapter, any Judge is a member of the State Judiciary who:

1. Was appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate; and

2. Now does or may hereafter receive his entire remuneration as Judge in the form of a salary paid by the State of Delaware; and

3. Presides over a Court of Record; and

4. Is prohibited by law, during his tenure of office, from engaging in the private practice of law or from engaging in any other gainful occupation or political activity.

Each member of the State Judiciary 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 Judge, receive an annual pension from the State, payable to him in equal monthly installments, commencing when he has attained the age of 65 years, or commencing upon involuntary retirement in case he has reached the age of 65 years prior to such retirement, and continuing during the remainder of his lifetime.

(b) Each member of the State Judiciary 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 Judge, or after having reached the age of 72 years and having served at least 12 years as a Judge, 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.

(c) 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 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.

Section 2. Title 29, Delaware Code, is further amended by striking out § 5604 and enacting in lieu thereof a new § 5604 as follows :

§ 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 for his services as a Judge and multiplying this by two percent (2%), and then multiplying the product thus obtained by the total number of years of service as a Judge (including fractions of years), including all years of service of the retiring Judge both prior and subsequent to his becoming a member of the State Judiciary and both prior and subsequent to his filing a declaration of acceptance of the provisions of this Chapter in accordance with § 5606 hereof.

Section 3. Title 29, Delaware Code, is further amended by striking out § 5606 and enacting in lieu thereof a new § 5606 as follows:

§ 5606. Acceptance of provisions; result

(a)Each new member of the State Judiciary, whether by appointment and confirmation or as a result of this Act, may accept the provisions of this Chapter by written declaration to that effect within 30 days following his becoming a member of the State Judiciary. The declaration of acceptance 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. Any Judge who was, prior to the approval of this Act, a member of the State Judiciary, who has not already done so, may file his written declaration of acceptance of the provisions of this Chapter within 30 days after this Act becomes law.

Any declaration of acceptance of this Chapter as hereinbefore provided shall constitute an authorization and direction 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 § 5603

()of this Chapter, such certificate shall, without any further act by such member, be deemed to constitute a resignation 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 § 5602 of this Chapter.

Approved November 8, 1955.