SENATE BILL NO. 170
AS AMENDED BY SENATE AMENDMENT NOS. 1 AND 2
AN ACT TO AMEND PART VI, TITLE 11, DELAWARE CODE, TO PROVIDE FOR DISTRIBUTION OF MONEYS RECEIVED AS A RESULT OF THE COMMISSION OF A CRIME TO VICTIMS OF CRIME.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE:
Section 1. Amend Part VI, Title 11, Delaware Code, by adding thereto a new Chapter 91 to read as follows:
"CHAPTER 91. DISTRIBUTION OF MONEYS RECEIVED AS A RESULT OF COMMISSION OF A CRIME
§9101. Declaration of purpose
The General Assembly finds that it is against public policy and the welfare of the citizens of Delaware to allow a person accused or convicted of a crime to benefit financially from a published reenactment of said crime or any Incidents involved therein. The General Assembly further finds that a system is required to provide for the distribution of moneys received as a result of the commission of a crime in order that victims of crime may be adequately compensated.
The following words terms, and phrases, when used in this Chapter, shall have the meanings ascribed to them except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:
(1) "Board" shall mean the Violent Crimes Compensation Board, as established by this Title.
(2) "Victim" shall mean a person who suffers personal, physical, mental, or emotional injury, or pecuniary loss, as a direct result of the commission of a crime enumerated in Chapter 5 of this Title.
(3) "Person convicted of a crime" shall mean any person convicted of a crime in this State either by entry of a plea of guilty or by conviction after trail, and any person who has voluntarily and Intelligently admitted the commission of a crime for which such person fs not prosecuted.
§9103. Distribution of moneys received as a result of the commission of crime
(a) Every person, firm, corporation, partnership, association, or other legal entity contracting with any person or the representative or assignee of any person accused or convicted of a crime In this State, with respect to the reenactment of such crime, by way of a movie, book, magazine article, tape recording, phonograph record, radio or television presentation, live entertainment of any kind, or from the expression of such accused or convicted person's thoughts, feelings, opinions, or emotions regarding such crime, shall submit a copy of such contract to the Board and pay over to the Board any moneys which would otherwise, by terms of such contract, be owing to the person so accused or convicted or his representatives. The Board shall deposit such moneys in an escrow account for the benefit of and payable to any victim or the legal representative of any victim of crimes committed by (1) such convicted person; or (2) by such accused person, but only if such accused person Is eventually convicted of the crime and provided that such victim, within five (5) years from the establishment of such escrow account, brings a civil action in a court of competent jurisdiction and recovers a money Judgement for damages against such person or his representatives.
(b) The Board, at least once every six months for five (5) years from the date It receives such moneys, shall came to have published a legal notice in a newspaper or newspapers of general circulation in the county wherein the crime was committed, and in the county contiguous to such county, advising such victims that such escrow accounts are available to satisfy money judgements pursuant to this Chapter. The Board may, In its discretion, provide for such additional notice as it deems necessary.
(c) Upon dismissal of charges or acquittal of any accused person, the Board shall immediately pay over to such accused person the moneys In the escrow account established on behalf of such accused person.
(d) Upon a showing by any convicted person that five (5) years have elapsed from the date of establishment of such escrow account, and further that no actions are pending against such convicted person pursuant to the provisions of this Chapter, the Board shall immediately pay over any moneys in such escrow account to such person or his legal representatives.
(e) For purposes of this Chapter, a person found not guilty as a result of the defense of mental disease or defect pursuant to the provisions of this Title shall be deemed to be a convicted person.
(f) Whenever it is found, pursuant to the provisions of this Title, that a person accused of a crime is unfit to proceed as a result of mental disease or defect because such person lacks the capacity to understand the proceedings against him or to assist in his own defense, the Board shall bring an action in a court of competent jurisdiction to determine disposition of the escrow account.
(g) Notwithstanding any inconsistent provisions of law or court rules with respect to the timely bringing of an action, the five (5) year period provided for in this Chapter shall not begin to run until an escrow account has been established.
(h) Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this Chapter, the Board shall make payments from an escrow account to any person accused or convicted of crime upon order of any court of competent jurisdiction after a showing by such person that such moneys shall be used for the exclusive purpose of retaining legal representation at any stage of the criminal proceedings against such person, Including the appeals process. The Board may in its discretion and after notice to victims of the crime make payments from the escrow account to a representative of any person accused or convicted of a crime for the necessary fees and expenses incident to the generation and procurement of the monies paid into the escrow account, provided the Board finds that such payments would be in the best interest of the victims of the crime and would not be contrary to public policy. The total of all payments made from the escrow account under this subsection shall not exceed one-fifth of the total moneys paid into the escrow account and available to satisfy civil money judgements obtained by victims of the crime.
(i) Any action taken by any person accused or convicted of a crime, whether by way of execution of a power of attorney, creation of corporate entities, or otherwise, to defeat the purpose of this Chapter, shall be null and void as against the public policy of this State.
(j) For purposes of this Chapter, notwithstanding any other provision of the Delaware Code, claims on moneys in the escrow account shall have the following priorities:
(1) Payments ordered by the Board or a court pursuant to subsection (h) of this Section.
(2) Judgements obtained by the Division of Revenue, State of Delaware, against the convicted or accused person.
(3) Subrogation claims of the State in an amount not to exceed one-third of the net amount of the civil judgement obtained by a victim which Is payable directly to the victim from the escrow account.
(4) Civil judgements of the crime victims.
(5) Other judgement creditors or persons claiming moneys through the person accused or convicted of a crime who present lawful claims, including local government tax authorities.
(6) The person accused or convicted of the crime.
(k) The Board may bring an action in a court of competent jurisdiction for a declaratory judgement where it cannot determine the priority of claims and the proper distribution of any escrow account.
(l) Moneys in an escrow account shall not be subject to execution, levy, attachment, or lien except in accordance with the priority of claims established in this Chapter.
§9104. Board is exclusive escrow agent
Notwithstanding any other provisions of law, the Board shall have exclusive jurisdiction and control, as escrow agent, over any moneys subject to the provisions of this Chapter. No distribution of moneys in such escrow accounts shall be made except by determination and order of the Board.
§9105. Judicial review
Any party aggrieved by a final determination and order of the Board may appeal such final determination and order to the Superior Court.
Any person convicted of a violation of this Chapter shall be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.
Section 2. This Act shall apply to violations committed on or after its effective date. Any law in effect before the effective date of this Act shall continue to apply to conduct committed before the effective date of this Act and prosecuted on or after said date. For the above purpose, this Act shall not be construed to repeal any such law.
Section 3. The provisions of this Act are severable, and, if any phrase, clause, sentence, or provision of this Act, or the application of such phrase, clause, sentence, or provision shall be held invalid, the remainder of this Act and the application of such provision or provisions to persons of circumstances other than those to which it was held invalid or inconsistent shall not be affected thereby.
Approved July 13,1983.