CHAPTER 457

FORMERLY

HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 11

AS AMENDED BY HOUSE AMENDMENT NO. 1

ESTABLISHING A COMMITTEE TO STUDY AND DRAFT LEGISLATION REGARDING THE CONSOLIDATION OF THE MUNICIPAL COURT OF THE CITY OF WILMINGTON WITH THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS.

WHEREAS, the Court Consolidation Committee, created in 1985 pursuant to Senate Bill No. 130, issued a report on December 22, 1986 wherein it recommended consolidation of the three state trial courts; and

WHEREAS, the Court Consolidation Committee further recommended that the Municipal Court of the City of Wilmington either be merged into the consolidated court or be abolished and its personnel and functions transferred to the Justice of the Peace Courts and the then consolidated Superior Court."; and

WHEREAS, the Court Consolidation Committee anticipated several problems with the consolidation of the Municipal Court, but expressed hope that the Municipal Court would shortly become a part of the consolidated Superior Court; and

WHEREAS, the general idea of consolidating the Municipal Court of the City of Wilmington into the state court system is supported by the Governor, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the State of Delaware, the Chief Judge of the Court of Common Pleas, and the Chief Judge of the Municipal Court of the City of Wilmington, among others; and

WHEREAS, the Long Range Courts Planning Committee, on May 25, 1989, suggested that further studies be conducted regarding the consolidation of the Municipal Court with the Court of Common Pleas to aid in overcoming the financial burden on the City of Wilmington resulting from a separate court system; and

WHEREAS, since the Court Consolidation Committee report was issued in 1986, significant changes in the courts have occurred, including: a dramatic increase in the criminal case load in the Court of Common Pleas, where criminal dispositions rose by 50.1% during the period between Fiscal Year 1986 and Fiscal Year 1988 suggesting consideration of additional personnel; significant increases in the case load of Municipal Court; a dramatic increase in the cost to the City of Wilmington to support Municipal Court due to the expiration of the City's rent credits for the Public Building in Fiscal Year 1991; the increasingly adverse effects on the administration of justice and employee morale in Municipal Court due to persistent questions about the court's status in light of promises of eventual consolidation in the indefinite future; the inequitable and increasingly dramatic difference between the salary and pension benefits of the judges of the Court of Common Pleas and the judges of the Municipal Court, which serves a comparable role in the administration of justice; and

WHEREAS, there remains disagreement concerning the best manner in which to implement the consolidation as well as disagreement concerning the distribution of the Municipal Court case load between the Court of Common Pleas and the Justice of the Peace Courts and the resulting need for additional personnel in those courts; and

WHEREAS, any proposal to abolish the Municipal Court must take into account the concerns and needs of the current employees of the Municipal Court.

NOW, THEREFORE:

BE IT RESOLVED, that a committee is hereby created to study the best manner by which to effectuate consolidation of the Municipal Court of the City of Wilmington with the Court of Common Pleas and to prepare a draft Municipal Court consolidation bill for introduction into the General Assembly on or before January 31, 1991.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the committee shall consist of eleven (11) persons with one person appointed by the majority leader of the House, one person appointed by the minority leader of the House, one person appointed by the majority leader of the Senate, one person appointed by the minority leader of the Senate, and the remaining members appointed by the Supreme Court of the State of Delaware including at least one judge of the Court of Common Pleas, one judge of the Municipal Court of the City of Wilmington, the Chief Magistrate or his designee, one representative of the State Budget Office and one representative from the certified bargaining agent for the Municipal Court employees.

Approved June 27, 1990.