SENATE BILL NO. 454
AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 9, TITLE 10 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO COMMISSIONERS OF THE FAMILY COURT.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE:
Section 1. Amend §915(a) of Title 10 of the Delaware Code by striking the word "may" in the first sentence thereof, between the words "Governor" and "appoint" and substituting in lieu thereof the word "shall".
Section 2. Amend §915(a) of Title 10 of the Delaware Code by striking the words "advice and" and by striking the words "shall hold office at the pleasure of the Governor and in the first sentence-thereof.
Section 3. Amend §915(a) of Title 10 of the Delaware Code by inserting after the first sentence thereof the following:
"Appointees shall be duly admitted to practice law before the Supreme Court of this State."
Section 4. Amend §915(b) of Title 10 of the Delaware Code by striking the second sentence and substituting in lieu thereof the following:
"Thereafter, the Governor shall appoint, with the consent of the Senate,
one Commissioner for each county to fulfill the requirements of the Court.
Section 5. Amend §915(c) of Title 10 of the Delaware Code by striking subsection (c) in its entirety and substituting in lieu thereof the following:
"(c) The Chief Judge of Family Court shall designate the duties which each Commissioner shall undertake. Pursuant to the direction of the Chief Judge, each Commissioner serving under this chapter shall have:
all powers and duties conferred or imposed upon commissioners by law or by the Rules of Criminal and Civil Procedure for the Family Court;
the power to order the issuance of legal process to compel the attendance of necessary parties and witnesses;
the power to administer oaths and affirmations, and take
acknowledgements, affidavits and depositions;
the power 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 sections;
The power to conduct juvenile detention hearings pending
adjudication and to commit or bind, with or without surety, as a committing magistrate, for appearance at the proper court, persons charged with having violated the law together with material witnesses. A Commissioner shall assess the seriousness of the charge(s), the record, the factors stated in §936A of this title and the best interest of the juvenile in order to determine whether the juvenile shall be detained in secure detention or placed in a non-secure detention alternative or other alternative as stated in §936(b) of this title. If a Commissioner places a juvenile in secure detention, the Commissioner shall state on the record the reasons for said detention;
the power to conduct adult bail hearings and to commit or bind, with or without surety, as a committing magistrate, for appearance at the proper court, persons charged with having violated the law together
with material witnesses and impose conditions pursuant to Title 10, Chapter 9;
the power to conduct all delinquency and criminal proceedings,
including but not limited to, amenability hearings, arraignments, preliminary hearings, case reviews and trials;
the power to accept pleas (including, but not limited to, pleas of guilty, not guilty and nolo contendere) to any offense within the jurisdiction of the Family Court and to appoint counsel to represent indigent defendants;
the power to enter sentence or disposition for criminal
misdemeanors, criminal violations, criminal violation of probation and criminal contempt of court, whether the person has pleaded guilty to or has been convicted of one or more of the above offenses or whether the person has been adjudicated delinquent as a result of acts which would constitute such offenses if committed by an adult;
the power, with the consent of the parties, to enter sentence for criminal felonies, whether the person has pleaded guilty to or has been convicted of such an offense or whether the person has been adjudicated delinquent as a result of acts which would constitute a felony if committed by an adult;"
Section 6. Amend §915(d) of Title 10 of the Delaware Code by striking subsection (d) in its entirety and substituting in lieu thereof the following:
The Commissioner shall file his proposed findings and
recommendations with the Court and shall mail copies forthwith to all parties."
Section 7. Amend §915 of Title 10 of the Delaware Code by adding thereto a new subsection (e) to read as follows:
Within 10 days after being served with a copy of the
Commissioner's proposed findings and recommendations, any party may serve and file written objections to such proposed findings and recommendations as provided by rules of the Court. A judge of the Court shall make a de novo determination of those portions of the report or specified proposed findings or recommendations to which objection is made. A judge of the Court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or
recommendations made by the Commissioner. The judge may also receive
further evidence or recommit the matter to the Commissioner with instructions."
Section 8. This act shall become effective upon enactment. Approved July 10, 1992.