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Delaware Docket Newsletter

SPRING 2012

We are pleased to present the Spring 2012 issue of the Delaware Docket, the Newsletter of the Delaware Judiciary, which is published semi-annually to provide updates on activities and events in the Judicial community. All are welcome to suggest topics, contribute articles for future editions, and provide suggestions on the newsletter. Please use the links below to navigate the current issue or view the printable pdf versionpdf icon.

 

Patricia Griffin, State Court Administrator and Managing Editor
Amy Quinlan, Deputy State Court Director and Articles Editor
Connie Magee, Executive Assistant and Layout Editor


FEATURED STORIES


Conference of Chief Justices Midyear Meeting Held in Delaware
Chief Justice Myron T. Steele hosted the 2012 Midyear Meeting of the Conference of Chief Justices (CCJ) in Wilmington, Delaware. This is the first time that Delaware has hosted the full Conference of Chief Justices.

The Youth Forum Goes International
Twenty four French high school students experienced the American prosecutorial process first hand when they assisted in the case of The State v. The Cellphone Thief tried in New Castle County's Superior Court on April 20, 2012.

Family Court Members Go the Extra Mile to Connect with the Young Women of Grace Cottage
Around 5:00 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month, Jennifer Ellsworth‐Aults, law clerk to Judges Aida Waserstein and Barbara Crowell, can be seen heading off to Grace Cottage on the Ferris School Campus on Centreville Road in New Castle County. Grace Cottage is the staff‐secured residential facility that houses adolescent girls.

Judicial Branch Employee of the Year
George Wyatt, the Judicial Branch Employee of the Year, has provided outstanding service to the Court of Common Pleas since his hire in 1996 as a Senior Court Clerk and his subsequent promotion to Judicial Case Manager.

Law Day Brings Civics Games to Delaware Schools
Judges, attorneys, law students, and paralegals visited approximately 127 public elementary and middle schools in New Castle County, Kent County, and Sussex County as part of this year's Law Day initiative.

Delaware Judiciary Recognized

Justice of the Peace Court to Open New Community Court
Working collaboratively with the AOC, the Justice of the Peace Court is seeking to relocate Wilmington's Justice of the Peace Court 20 and transform it into a community court.

Family Court Measures Performance in Dependency & Neglect Cases
The Family Court was awarded funding by the Court Improvement Program. The program provides funding to States and Tribes to develop programs that focus on preventing the abuse of children in troubled families, protecting children from abuse, and finding permanent placements for those who cannot safely return to their homes.

Important Chances to Superior Court's Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Mediation Program
On September 21, 2011, Governor Markell signed House Substitute 1 for House Bill 58 which established the Automatic Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Mediation Program (the
"Mediation Program").

Justice of the Peace Court Police Prosecution Program in Full Swing as of June 1, 2012
On June 1, 2012, the Police Prosecution program (implemented initially in Justice of the Peace Court 6 on June 1, 2007) expanded to full operation in all twelve criminal Justice of the Peace
Courts.

Justice Reinvestment Initiative Releases Final Recommendations
Delaware's recent budget crisis created serious challenges for the criminal justice system. Although the number of people in the state's prisons has remained relatively constant in recent years, spending on corrections has risen sharply over the past decade.

Court of Common Pleas Expands Mental Health Court to Kent and Sussex Counties
The Court of Common Pleas established the first Mental Health Court in the State of Delaware in 2003 which continues to operate successfully today. The New Castle County Mental Health Court follows a diversion model, similar to the existing drug court model.

The Justice of the Peace Court Welcomes New Judges
The Justice of the Peace Court is pleased to welcome three new judges to the bench. The Honorable Vincent Kowal, the Honorable Susan Ufberg, and the Honorable Deborah Keenan began their Justice of the Peace Court Basic Legal Education program (BLE) on April 30,
2012.

Superior Court Establishes Bench-Bar Program
Superior Court President Judge James T. Vaughn, Jr. recently implemented Administrative Directive 2011‐5 establishing the Superior Court Bench‐Bar Program. The program provides for two volunteer liaison positions in each county, one of which will act in civil cases and the other in criminal cases.

Upbeat Mural Graces Sussex County Family Court Courtroom
Thanks to the support of the Rehoboth Art League (RAL) and the vision of 18 past and present foster care children of the Youth Advisory Council (YAC), Judge Peter B. Jones's Sussex County Family Court courtroom now showcases a bright, 25‐foot‐wide mural depicting foster care children's hopes and challenges as they travel along life's path.

Student Accused of Arsenic Poisoning at Prep School on Trial at 2012 High School Mock Court Competition
Months of polishing opening statements and closing arguments, sharpening rhetorical skills, and mastering the rules of evidence were finally put to the test on Friday, February 24 and Saturday, February 25, 2012 as 24 high schools competed in the 21st annual Delaware Mock Trial Court
competition.

Justice of the Peace Holds Management Retreat
On March 20, 2012, the Justice of the Peace Court held a Management Retreat including judges, managers, court security managers, and administrative staff. The goal of the retreat was to refocus energy on the development of innovative and effective court management tools.

Three New Interactive Forms are Now Available to Help Pro Se Litigants File Civil Actions in JP Court
New interactive online tools are now available, free of charge, to help self‐represented litigants file debt, replevin, and trespass actions in the Justice of the Peace Court. Developed by the Administrative Office of the Courts and the Justice of the Peace Court, in partnership with Legal Services Corporation of Delaware, and with programming support from Ohio DR Software, LLC, the interactive forms for debt, replevin, and trespass actions complete the planned series of five online tools.

Continuing Education for Attorneys on Court Interpretation
On February 10, 2012, Maria Pérez‐Chambers, Program Coordinator of the Administrative Office of the Courts' Court Interpreter Program (CIP), provided members of the Delaware
Bar with an informative overview of Delaware's Judiciary Language Access Plan and Practices for
Attorneys Working with Foreign Language Interpreters.

Judge Hopkins of the Justice of the Peace Court Retires
Justice of the Peace Court Judge William Hopkins retired on March 21, 2012 and was honored during a presentation at Legislative Hall on May 2, 2012.

May 2012 Proclaimed Problem-Solving Court Month in the State of Delaware
On May 15, 2012, Chief Justice Myron T. Steele, Secretary Rita Landgraf (Department of Health and Social Services), Commissioner Carl C. Danberg (Department of Correction), as well as members of the judiciary and legislators, joined Governor Jack Markell as he proclaimed May 2012 Problem‐Solving Court Month in the State of Delaware at a ceremony in Legislative Hall.

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