SENATE BILL NO. 319
AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 10 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO ORGANIZATION AND OPERATION OF THE JUSTICE OF THE PEACE COURT.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE :
Section 1. Amend Chapter 92 of Title 10 of the Delaware Code by deleting the existing chapter in its entirety and replacing it with the following:
"CHAPTER 92. ORGANIZATION AND OPERATION.
§ 9201. Definitions
As used in this chapter:
(1) 'Court' shall mean the Justice of the Peace Court.
(2) 'Rules' means rules of the Justice of the Peace Court promulgated under Article IV, § 13 of the Constitution.
§ 9202. Administration and supervision of the Court; Chief Magistrate.
(a) The Justice of the Peace Court shall, unless otherwise provided in this chapter, be administered and supervised in all respects pursuant to the provisions of Article IV, § 13 of the Constitution and such rules of the Court as shall be promulgated thereunder. Such rules may prescribe and regulate the form and manner of process, pleading, practice and procedure governing civil and criminal proceedings in the Justice of the Peace Court from inception to termination. As provided in Art. IV, § 13(1) of the Delaware Constitution, the authority of the Court to promulgate such rules shall be subject to the review of the Supreme Court.
(b) Such rules shall not abridge, enlarge or modify the substantive rights of any person.
(c) Nothing in this title, anything therein to the contrary notwithstanding, shall in any way limit, supersede or repeal any such rules heretofore prescribed under authority of law.
(d) The Justice of the Peace Court shall have and exercise such jurisdiction, both criminal and civil, as shall be conferred upon it by law.
(e) In addition to the number of justices of the peace specified by § 9203 of this title, the Governor, by and with the consent of a majority of all the members elected to the Senate, shall appoint a justice of the peace who shall serve as Chief Magistrate and administrative head of the Justice of the Peace Court.
§ 9203. Number of justices of the peace in each county.
In the counties of this State there shall be no more than the following number of justices of the peace:
New Castle ……………………………………………………29
§ 9204. Place of holding courts.
The Justice of the Peace Court shall hold court in at least one place in Wilmington, 5 places in the remainder of New Castle County, 3 places in Kent County, and 5 places in Sussex County, and in such other places as from time to time shall be designated in the rules.
§ 9205. Court Hours.
Each of the places where court is held shall be open at such times as shall be provided by the rules; provided, however, that in each county there shall be at least one court available at all times.
§ 9206. Statewide jurisdiction of the justices of the peace.
Each justice of the peace shall serve in the county in which the justice of the peace resides. The justice of the peace may be assigned from time to time, for such hours and length of time as may be established by the rules or administrative policy. A justice of the peace may, with consent, be assigned to hold court in any part of the State and for that purpose, the jurisdiction of the justice of the peace shall be considered as statewide.
§ 9209. Salaries of the justices of the peace and the Chief Magistrate.
(a) The Chief Magistrate and the justices of the peace shall receive such compensation from the State as shall be provided by law.
(b) A justice of the peace shall not receive any other fees or emoluments for discharging the duties of his or her office, except as may otherwise be provided by law or by the rules, or engage in any occupation concerned with or growing out of the collection of any judgment rendered by a justice of the peace, or engage in the private practice of law, or hold any state office, or be employed by the State in any other capacity except as otherwise provided by law, Court rules or by the Judicial Code of Conduct.
§ 9210. Offices; supplies; Basic legal education and continuing legal education requirements for justices of the peace.
(a) The State shall provide each justice of the peace with such space, supplies, and equipment as shall be necessary and appropriate to enable the justice to properly carry out his or her duties at the locations designated for the justice to hold court.
(b) There shall be basic and continuing legal education requirements for justices of the peace which shall be as prescribed by Court Rule.
§ 9211. Assignment of retired justices of the peace to active duty.
(a) Any retired justice of the peace may be designated by the Chief Magistrate, with the approval of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, to serve temporarily in any Justice of the Peace Court in the State; provided, however, that the retired justice of the peace:
(1) Was serving in good standing as a justice of the peace at the time of retirement;
(2) Had been appointed and confirmed for a second term prior to retirement;
(3) Assents to such designation; and
(4) Is not involved or employed in any position which would create a conflict of interest with the position of justice of the peace including, but not limited to, any position concerned with or growing out of the collection of any judgment rendered by a justice of the peace, the private practice of law, the holding of any state office or employment by the State in any capacity.
(b) Any retired justice of the peace accepting an active duty designation shall be compensated on a per diem basis on the formula representing 1/260 of the annual salary for a justice of the peace serving a 2nd term. In no event shall the total annual compensation of the retired justice equal the current annual salary for a justice of the peace serving a 2nd term. Each retired justice of the peace serving shall also be reimbursed for travel necessarily incurred for the performance of such active duty as approved by the Chief Magistrate.
(c) Expenditures for work performed under this section shall be made from funds appropriated for this purpose, from surplus personnel funds contained within the Justice of the Peace Court’s appropriation, with the approval of the Administrative Office of the Courts and the Budget Office, and/or from other appropriate funds.
§ 9223. Security personnel.
All security personnel of the court shall have the full powers of a justice of the peace court constable including the power of arrest, while performing court related functions throughout the State.
Approved June 30, 2002