SENATE BILL NO. 225
AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 9, TITLE 10 AND CHAPTER 5, TITLE 13, DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO FAMILY COURT PROCEEDINGS.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE:
Section 1. Amend §913, Chapter 9, Title 10, Delaware Code, by striking the existing §913 in its entirety and in lieu thereof substituting a new §913 to read as follows:
"§913. Masters; Appointment; Duties; Review.
(a) The Chief Judge, after consultation with other Judges on the Court, may appoint, commission, set salaries for and discharge Masters in the Court. A Master, at the time of appointment and thereafter, shall be a suitable person who has been a resident of the State for at least 5 years immediately preceding the appointment. The salaries so set shall be a part of the annual budget of the Court and shall reflect the experience and time commitment of the person appointed to such office.
(b) The Court as to all cases in a class or type of proceeding designated in the Court Rules, or the Chief Judge as to any individual case or proceeding, may direct that a hearing be held in the first instance by a Judge or Master; except, however, a Master shall not conduct adult bail and juvenile detention hearings, nor any hearings involving charges against juveniles which are classified as felonies when committed by an adult. The Department of Justice with respect to all other delinquency and adult misdemeanor charges, shall have the discretion, unless it has entered an appearance, whether to participate in delinquency and adult misdemeanor proceedings assigned by the Court to a Master, or, within a reasonable time, to transfer any delinquency or adult misdemeanor matter for consideration by a Judge.
(c) Masters shall regulate all of the proceedings in every hearing before them. All proceedings before Masters shall be recorded. Masters shall have full authority to order the issuance of legal process to compel the attendance of necessary parties and witnesses; to administer oaths in the discharge of their official duties; to examine the parties and witnesses; to pass upon all questions of competency of witnesses and admissibility of evidence; to require the production of all books, papers, writings, vouchers and other documents applicable thereto; to grant adjournments and extensions of time; and generally to do all other acts, and direct all other inquiries and proceedings in the matters before them, which they may deem necessary and proper, including appropriate sanctions except incarceration, subject at all times to the revision and control of the Court.
(d) At the end of any hearing or within a reasonable time thereafter, a Master shall enter the order in writing which shall announce the result and provide an explanation therefor. Every written order by a Master shall inform all parties that, as provided in this section, there is an absolute right to a review de novo by a Judge and that in the absence of a request within 10 days for de' novo review, the written order of a Master shall become enforceable by any legal means. Any party may obtain a review de novo of any Master's written order by a Judge by filing with the Court a written request therefor within 10 days from the date of a Master's written order; except, however, there shall be no review by a Judge in contravention of any state or federal constitutional prohibition against double jeopardy.
(e) Upon request for review de novo, the case shall be placed upon the calendar of the Court and treated for all purposes as if it had not been referred to a Master. Upon review de novo, unless otherwise stipulated by the parties the Court shall not admit evidence that there has been a proceeding before a Master, the nature of the Master's written order, nor any other matter concerning the conduct or outcome of the Master's proceeding; except, however, recorded sworn testimony and other evidence admitted at a Master's hearing may be used as the basis for an interim order of the Court, and generally in the same manner as sworn testimony given at a deposition in the case.
(f) A request for a review de novo shall be the sole remedy of any party with respect to a Master's written order, except for posthearing motions before the Master. A Master's written order shall become an enforceable judgment of the Court only after the time for requesting a review de novo has expired without any such request. A judgment derived from a Master's written order shall have the same force and effect as any other judgment of the Court, except that it shall not be subject to appeal.
(g) The Court may adopt appropriate and specific rules to effectuate the intent and purpose of these statutory provisions relating to Masters."
Section 2. Amend §934(b)(3), Title 10, Delaware Code, by striking the existing §934(b)(3) in its entirety and in lieu thereof substituting a new §934(b)(3) to read as follows:
"(3) May order the child detained in a facility designated by the Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families provided that the child, after having been given ample opportunity, shall fail to furnish the required bail; and provided that detention appears necessary for the child's or the public's protection."
Section 3. Amend §940, Chapter 9, Title 10, Delaware Code, by striking the existing §940 in its entirety and in lieu thereof substituting a new §940 to read as follows:
"§940. Prosecution of Adults; Process; Bail.
(a) Prosecution of a person subject to the jurisdiction of the Court who has reached his 18th birthday prior to the time of commission of the offense shall be without trial by jury and may be prosecuted either by an information or a complaint. Neither the Attorney General nor any of his Deputy Attorneys General is required to appear to prosecute any such criminal case before a Master.
(b) A summons or other process may be employed to command the appearance of such person before the Court.
(c) Notwithstanding any other provision in this Chapter, such person may be released on his own recognizance; or under such bail as a Judge of the Court may require pending disposition of the case; or, in default of bail, such person may be committed to the Department of Services to Children, Youth, and Their Families or to the Department of Correction, pending disposition of the case.
(d) In connection with either a secured release or an' unsecured release, a Judge of the Court may impose one or more of the following conditions:
(1) Require the person to return to the Court at any time upon notice, and submit himself to the orders and processes of the Court;
(2) Place the person in the custody of a designated person or organization agreeing to supervise him;
(3) Place the person under the supervision of a presentence officer, probation officer or pretrial services officer;
(4) Place restrictions on the travel, associations, activities, consumption of alcoholic beverages, drugs or barbiturates or place of abode, of the person during the period of release;
(5) Require the person to have no contact or restricted contact with the victim, victim's family, victim's residence, place of employment, school or location of offense;
(6) Require periodic reports from the person to an appropriate agency or officer of the Court, including the attorney for the accused;
(7) Require psychiatric or medical treatment of the person;
(8) Require the person to provide suitable support for his family under supervision of an office of the Court;
(9) Require a person, who has been convicted, to duly prosecute any post-conviction remedies or appeals; and if the case is affirmed, or is reversed and remanded, such person shall forthwith surrender himself to the Court;
(10) Impose any other condition deemed reasonably necessary to assure appearance as required, and to carry out the purposes of this Chapter.
(e) If the person Is committed, In lieu of ball, a Judge of the Court may require such person, while in custody, to have no contact with the victim or with the victim's family;
(f) The accused, or the Attorney General, may apply to the Court for any modification of any determination by the Court as to the decision of the type of release, the amount and nature of the bond or surety or the conditions of release.
(g) Where a Judge modifies any bail amount, such Judge shall review conditions and may impose any conditions as are set forth in this section, including specific considerations for the safety of the victim and the community.
(h) If the accused has furnished surety, a Judge of the Court shall, at that time, review conditions and may impose conditions as are set forth in this section including specific considerations for the safety of the victim and the community."
Section 4. Amend §512, Chapter 5, Title 13, Delaware Code, by striking the existing §512 in its entirety and in lieu thereof substituting a new §512 to read as follows:
1512. Interim Order.
At any time before trial upon a petition and upon notice to the respondent, the Court shall conduct a hearing and thereafter may enter such interim order, pending final judgment, as seems just, for the support of any dependent for whom support is sought."
Approved January 31, 1990.