Crimes and Criminal Procedure
Victims of Crimes
CHAPTER 91. Distribution of Moneys Received as Result of Commission of Crime
The General Assembly finds that it is against public policy and the welfare of the citizens of Delaware to allow a person accused or convicted of a crime to benefit financially from a published reenactment of said crime or any incidents involved therein. The General Assembly further finds that a system is required to provide for the distribution of moneys received as a result of the commission of a crime in order that victims of crime may be adequately compensated.64 Del. Laws, c. 169, § 1;
The following words, terms and phrases, when used in this chapter, shall have the meanings ascribed to them except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:
(1) “Board” shall mean the Violent Crimes Compensation Board, as established by this title.
(2) “Person convicted of a crime” shall mean any person convicted of a crime in this State either by entry of a plea of guilty, a plea of nolo contendere, a “Robinson plea” or by conviction after trial as well as a person found not guilty as a result of the defense of mental disease or defect pursuant to this title.
(3) “Victim” shall mean a person who suffers personal, physical, mental or emotional injury, or pecuniary loss, as a direct result of the commission of a crime enumerated in Chapter 5 of this title.64 Del. Laws, c. 169, § 1; 67 Del. Laws, c. 260, § 1; 68 Del. Laws, c. 394, § 1;
(a) Every person, firm, corporation, partnership, association or other legal entity contracting with any person or the representative or assignee of any person convicted of a crime in this State, with respect to the reenactment of such crime, by way of a movie, book, magazine article, tape recording, phonograph record, radio or television presentation, live entertainment of any kind, or from the expression of such convicted person’s thoughts, feelings, opinions or emotions regarding such crime if such expression represents the primary contents of a movie, book, magazine article, tape recording, phonograph record, radio or television presentation, or live entertainment of any kind, shall submit a copy of such contract to the Board and pay over to the Board any moneys which would otherwise, by terms of such contract, be owing to the person convicted or the person’s representatives. The Board shall deposit such moneys in an escrow account for the benefit of and payable to any victim or the legal representative of any victim of crimes committed by such convicted person, provided that such victim, or the legal representative of any such victim, within 5 years from the establishment of such escrow account, brings a civil action in a court of competent jurisdiction and recovers a money judgment for damages against such person or the person’s representatives.
(b) The Board, at least once every 6 months for 5 years from the date it receives such moneys, shall cause to have published a legal notice in a newspaper or newspapers of general circulation in the county wherein the crime was committed, and in the county contiguous to such county, advising such victims that such escrow accounts are available to satisfy money judgments pursuant to this chapter. The Board may, in its discretion, provide for such additional notice as it deems necessary.
(c) Upon a showing by any convicted person that 5 years have elapsed from the date of establishment of such escrow account, and further that no actions are pending against such convicted person pursuant to this chapter, the Board shall immediately pay over any moneys in such escrow account to such person or the person’s legal representatives.
(d) Notwithstanding the foregoing provision of this chapter, the Board shall make payments from an escrow account to any person convicted of crime upon order of any court of competent jurisdiction after a showing by such person that such moneys shall be used for the exclusive purpose of retaining legal representation at any stage of the criminal proceeding against such person, including the appeals process. The Board may in its discretion and after notice to victims of the crime make payments from the escrow account to a representative of any person convicted of a crime for the necessary fees and expenses incident to the generation and procurement of the moneys paid into the escrow account, provided the Board finds that such payments would be in the best interest of the victims of the crime and would not be contrary to public policy. The total of all payments made from the escrow account under this subsection shall not exceed one fifth of the total moneys paid into the escrow account and available to satisfy civil money judgments obtained by victims of the crime.
(e) Any action taken by any person convicted of a crime, whether by way of execution of a power of attorney, creation of corporate entities or otherwise, to defeat the purpose of this chapter, shall be null and void as against the public policy of this State.
(f) For purposes of this chapter, notwithstanding any other provision of the Delaware Code, claims on moneys in the escrow account shall have the following priorities:
(1) Payments ordered by the Board or a court pursuant to subsection (d) of this section.
(2) Judgments obtained by the Division of Revenue, State of Delaware, against the convicted person pursuant to Chapter 5 of Title 30.
(3) Subrogation claims of the State in an amount not to exceed one third of the net amount of the civil judgment obtained by a victim which is payable directly to the victim from the escrow account.
(4) Civil judgments of the crime victims.
(5) Other judgment creditors or persons claiming moneys through the person convicted of a crime who present lawful claims, including local government tax authorities.
(6) The person convicted of the crime.
(g) The Board may bring an action in a court of competent jurisdiction for a declaratory judgment where it cannot determine the priority of claims and the proper distribution of any escrow account.
(h) Moneys in an escrow account shall not be subject to execution, levy, attachment or lien except in accordance with the priority of claims established in this chapter.64 Del. Laws, c. 169, § 1; 68 Del. Laws, c. 394, § 2; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1;
Notwithstanding any other provisions of law, the Board shall have exclusive jurisdiction and control, as escrow agent, over any moneys subject to this chapter. No distribution of moneys in such escrow accounts shall be made except by determination and order of the Board.64 Del. Laws, c. 169, § 1;
Any party aggrieved by a final determination and order of the Board may appeal such final determination and order to the Superior Court.64 Del. Laws, c. 169, § 1;
Any person convicted of a violation of this chapter shall be guilty of a class A misdemeanor.64 Del. Laws, c. 169, § 1;