TITLE 10

Courts and Judicial Procedure

Organization, Powers, Jurisdiction and Operation of Courts

CHAPTER 18. EMERGENCY INTERIM JUDICIAL SUCCESSION


This chapter is known and may be cited as the "Emergency Interim Judicial Succession Act."

10 Del. C. 1953, § 1801; 53 Del. Laws, c. 149; 81 Del. Laws, c. 449, § 1.;

The General Assembly finds and declares that in the event of an emergency event, it is necessary to provide for special emergency judges who can exercise the powers and discharge the duties of judicial offices if regular judges are unavailable. The General Assembly finds and declares that the creation of special emergency judges does all of the following:

(1) Assures continuity of government through legally constituted leadership, authority, and responsibility in offices of the government of the State.

(2) Provides for the effective operation of government during an emergency.

(3) Facilitates the early resumption of functions temporarily suspended.

10 Del. C. 1953, § 1802; 53 Del. Laws, c. 149; 81 Del. Laws, c. 449, § 2.;

As used in this chapter:

(1) "Attack" means any action or series of actions causing, or which may cause, substantial damage or injury to persons or property by any means, including through biological, chemical, radiological, or nuclear means or through the use of other weapons, technologies, or processes.

(2) "Emergency event" means an impending or existing attack, act of terrorism, disease, accident, or other natural or man-made disaster that does 1 or more of the following:

a. Threatens the life, health, or safety of the public.

b. Has, or has the potential to, damage or destroy property or disrupt service, commerce, or other economic activities.

c. Makes the continuation of normal government operations difficult or impossible.

(3) "Regular judge" means the individual holding an office under this chapter before the emergency event.

(4) "Special emergency judge" means an individual designated under this chapter to exercise the powers and discharge the duties of an office held by another individual who is unavailable until a successor is qualified and appointed as may be provided by the Delaware Constitution or other law of this State or until the other individual who is unavailable is able to resume the exercise of the powers and discharge the duties of the office.

(5) "Unavailable" means either that a vacancy in an office under this chapter exists or that the regular judge is absent or unable to exercise the powers and discharge the duties of the office.

10 Del. C. 1953, § 1803; 53 Del. Laws, c. 149; 81 Del. Laws, c. 449, § 3.;

(a) A special emergency judge may exercise the powers and discharge the duties of an office under this chapter if both of the following apply:

(1) If a judge appointed under Article IV, § 2 of the Delaware Constitution is unavailable to exercise the powers and discharge the duties of the judge's office.

(2) If no other judge authorized to act in the event of absence, disability, or vacancy or no special judge appointed in accordance with the provisions of the Delaware Constitution or other law of this State is available to exercise the powers and discharge the duties of such office.

(b) Each Governor shall do all of the following:

(1) Designate for each member of the Supreme Court and the Superior Court not less than 3 nor more than 7 special emergency judges.

(2) Specify the order of succession of the individuals selected under paragraph (b)(1) of this section.

(3) Review and revise, as necessary, designations made under this subsection to ensure that at all times there are at least 3 qualified special emergency judges for each member of the Supreme Court and the Superior Court.

(c) A special emergency judge designated under subsection (b) of this section shall, in the order specified, exercise the powers and discharge the duties of an office under this chapter if a regular judge or another special emergency judge immediately preceding the special emergency judge in the order of designation is unavailable.

(d) A special emergency judge shall exercise the powers and discharge the duties of an office under this chapter until such time as a vacancy that exists is filled in accordance with the Delaware Constitution or other law of this State, or until the regular judge or another special emergency judge preceding the special emergency judge in the order of succession becomes available to exercise the powers and discharge the duties of the office.

(e) An individual may not be designated or serve as a special emergency judge unless the individual may, under the Delaware Constitution or other law of this State, hold the office of the judge to whose powers and duties the individual is designated to succeed.

10 Del. C. 1953, § 1804; 53 Del. Laws, c. 149; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 81 Del. Laws, c. 449, § 4.;

(a) At the time of an individual's designation as a special emergency judge, the individual shall take such oath as may be required for the individual to exercise the powers and discharge the duties of the office to which the individual may succeed.

(b) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no individual, as a prerequisite to the exercise of the powers or discharge of the duties of an office under this chapter to which the individual succeeds, is required to comply with any other provision of law relative to taking office.

10 Del. C. 1953, § 1805; 53 Del. Laws, c. 149; 70 Del Laws, c. 186, § 1; 81 Del. Laws, c. 449, § 5.;

(a) An individual authorized to act as a special emergency judge may exercise the powers and discharge the duties of an office under this chapter as authorized in this chapter only after an emergency event has occurred.

(b) The General Assembly may, by concurrent resolution, terminate the authority of special emergency judges to exercise the powers and discharge the duties of office as provided in this chapter.

10 Del. C. 1953, § 1806; 53 Del. Laws, c. 149; 81 Del. Laws, c. 449, § 6.;

Until an individual who is designated as a special emergency judge is authorized to exercise the powers and discharge the duties of an office under this chapter, the individual serves at the pleasure of the Governor and may be removed or replaced by the Governor at any time, with or without cause.

10 Del. C. 1953, § 1807; 53 Del. Laws, c. 149; 81 Del. Laws, c. 449, § 7.;