TITLE 10

Courts and Judicial Procedure

Organization, Powers, Jurisdiction and Operation of Courts

CHAPTER 13. THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS FOR THE STATE OF DELAWARE

Subchapter II. Officers and Employees


Transferred to § 1311 of this title.

Law clerks hold major, nontenured advisory positions for the Judges of the Court. The Court of Common Pleas may appoint and remove at pleasure such judicial law clerks as shall be necessary for the proper operation of the Court.

78 Del. Laws, c. 51, § 5.;

(a) The Chief Judge of the Court shall appoint a competent person to act as Chief Clerk of the entire Court who shall be responsible to the Chief Judge for the administration of all nonjudicial activity in the Court. In addition, the Chief Judge shall appoint a competent person from each county as Deputy Clerk for the Court in that county and such other officers and employees deemed necessary to perform the business of the Court.

(b) The Clerks, other officers and employees shall hold office at the pleasure of the Court.

10 Del. C. 1953, § 1309; 59 Del. Laws, c. 133, § 1; 60 Del. Laws, c. 629, § 1; 69 Del. Laws, c. 426, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

The Court may appoint a suitable person in each county to be Deputy Clerk, who shall hold such office at the pleasure of the Court and who, during tenure in said office, shall have, exercise and perform the powers and duties of the Clerk when so instructed by the Court and shall perform such other duties as shall be assigned by the Court.

10 Del. C. 1953, § 1312; 59 Del. Laws, c. 133, § 1; 69 Del. Laws, c. 426, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

(a) The Clerk for the county in which the Clerk is appointed shall have care of the records and proceedings for said county, and shall receive all fees, fines, restitution and costs and pay the same over as provided in this chapter.

(b) The Clerk may administer all necessary oaths; the Clerk shall enter the judgments, issue commitments and executions to enforce the same and make and keep the records of the Court in all cases therein under the direction of the Judges. The Clerk shall issue all process under the Clerk's hand and the seal of the Court, signing such process by the title of office and shall tax costs.

(c) The Clerk shall have such other duties as may be prescribed by rule of court, or by administrative direction.

10 Del. C. 1953, § 1311; 59 Del. Laws, c. 133, § 1; 63 Del. Laws, c. 141, § 5; 69 Del. Laws, c. 426, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

Each Clerk and Deputy Clerk of the Court shall, before entering upon the duties of the office, give bond to the State in the sum of $5,000 with approved surety to faithfully perform and execute all the duties of the office during continuance therein. The bond shall be approved by the Chief Judge. Should any Clerk or Deputy Clerk so appointed fail to give bond as required within 30 days from the date of appointment, the Court shall make a new appointment.

10 Del. C. 1953, § 1310; 59 Del. Laws, c. 133, § 1; 69 Del. Laws, c. 426, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

(a) The Court of Common Pleas may appoint and remove at pleasure such number of bailiffs, criers, and pages as shall be necessary for the proper operation of the Court. They shall receive such compensation as shall from time to time be approved in the budget of the Court. They shall perform such duties and have such powers in connection with attendance upon the Court as the Court may from time to time prescribe and shall receive no other fees or compensation.

(b) From its staff of bailiffs, criers, and pages, the Court may appoint by court order peace officers, who shall have, during the stated terms of such appointment, unless sooner rescinded by the court order, such powers normally incident to peace officers, including, but not limited to, the power to make arrests in a criminal case, provided that the exercise of such powers shall be limited to any building or real property maintained or used as a courthouse or in support of judicial functions. The order appointing such peace officers shall be recorded in the office of the recorder of deeds in and for the county where they are employed in the same manner as gubernatorial commissions.

75 Del. Laws, c. 188, § 1; 78 Del. Laws, c. 79, § 3.;

(a) The Governor may appoint, with the consent of a majority of all members elected to the Senate, suitable persons to act as Commissioners of the Court of Common Pleas, all of whom shall hold office for a term of 4 years. Vacancies in office shall be filled for a term of 4 years by the Governor, with the consent of a majority of all members elected to the Senate. Upon second and subsequent appointments and confirmations, a Commissioner of the Court of Common Pleas shall hold office for a term of 6 years. Appointees shall be residents of the State, shall be duly admitted to practice law before the Supreme Court of this State, and shall not engage in the practice of law nor any business, occupation or employment inconsistent with the expeditious, proper, and impartial performance of their duties as judicial officers. The number of Commissioners from 1 major political party shall not exceed the number of Commissioners from another major political party by more than 1.

(b) Individuals appointed as Commissioners under this section shall take the oath or affirmation prescribed by article XIV, § 1 of the Delaware Constitution before they enter upon the duties of their offices.

(c) The salaries of Commissioners shall be part of the annual budget of the Court of Common Pleas. The salary of a Commissioner shall not be reduced during the term being served below the salary fixed at the beginning of that term.

69 Del. Laws, c. 426, § 2; 74 Del. Laws, c. 165, § 3.;

(a) Each Commissioner serving under this chapter shall have:

(1) All powers and duties conferred or imposed upon Commissioners by law or by the Rules of Criminal and Civil Procedure for the Court of Common Pleas.

(2) The power to administer oaths and affirmations, issue orders pursuant to Chapter 21, Title 11 of the Delaware Code concerning release or detention of persons pending trial, and take acknowledgements, affidavits, and depositions.

(3) The power to accept pleas of not guilty to any offense within the jurisdiction of the Court of Common Pleas and to appoint counsel to represent indigent defendants.

(4) The power to accept a plea of guilty to a misdemeanor or violation, including any violation of probation, or violation of Title 21, or any other violation defined in the Delaware Code, and, with the consent of the parties, to enter a sentence thereon.

(b) Commissioners may be designated to perform the following with the approval of the Chief Judge or the Chief Judge's designee:

(1)a. A judge may designate a Commissioner to hear and determine any pretrial matter pending before the Court, except the following motions: for judgment on the pleadings, for summary judgment, to dismiss or quash an indictment or information made by the defendant, to suppress evidence in a criminal case, to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted and to involuntarily dismiss an action. A judge of the Court may reconsider any pretrial matter under this paragraph (b)(1)a. where it has been shown that the Commissioner's order is based upon findings of fact that are clearly erroneous, or is contrary to law, or an abuse of discretion.

b. A judge may also designate a Commissioner to conduct hearings, including evidentiary hearings, and to submit to a judge of the Court proposed findings of fact and recommendations for the disposition, by a judge of the Court, of any motion excepted in paragraph (b)(1)a. of this section or of applications for postconviction relief made by individuals convicted of criminal offenses.

c. The Commissioner shall file proposed findings and recommendations under paragraph (b)(1)b. of this section with the Court and shall mail copies forthwith to all parties.

d. Within 10 days after being served with a copy of proposed findings and recommendations under paragraph (b)(1)b. of this section any party may serve and file written objections to such proposed findings and recommendations as provided by rules of 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.

(2) A judge may also designate a Commissioner to serve as a special master or master pro hac vice pursuant to the applicable provisions of the Court of Common Pleas Civil Rules of Procedure.

(3) A Commissioner may be assigned such additional duties by the Chief Judge, including assignments to other courts upon designation by the Chief Justice, as are not inconsistent with the Constitution and laws of the State. A Commissioner designated to sit in another court may exercise the powers and duties of a Commissioner appointed to said court.

69 Del. Laws, c. 426, § 2; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

(a) Any retired Commissioner may be designated by the Chief Judge, with the approval of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, to serve temporarily in the Court of Common Pleas provided, however, that the retired Commissioner:

(1) Was serving in good standing as a Commissioner at the time of retirement;

(2) Assents to such designation; and

(3) Is not involved or employed in any position which would create a conflict of interest with the position of Commissioner, including, but not limited to: the private practice of law; the holding of any state office; or employment by the State in any capacity.

(b) Any retired Commissioner 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 Commissioner. In no event shall the per diem pay for a retired Commissioner exceed the maximum per diem pay for retired judges as provided in § 5610(b) of Title 29, nor shall the total annual compensation of the retired Commissioner equal or exceed the current annual salary for a Commissioner. Each retired Commissioner serving shall also be reimbursed for travel necessarily incurred for the performance of such active duty as approved by the Chief Judge.

(c) Expenditures for work performed under this section shall be made from funds appropriated for this purpose, or from other court funds approved to be expended for this purpose.

78 Del. Laws, c. 315, § 2.;