President Judge Ridgely
Fiscal Year 2000
to the Superior Court of Delaware!
During this fiscal year the Honorable Richard R. Cooch was appointed
Resident Judge in New Castle County as the successor of Resident Judge
Vincent A. Bifferato and the Honorable T. Henley Graves was appointed
Resident Judge in Sussex County to succeed Resident Judge William
Swain Lee. The Honorable E. Scott Bradley was appointed to fill the
vacancy in Sussex County.
The Superior Court continues to apply a best commercial practices
and customer service approach to improve our performance. This year
we launched a comprehensive Web site which provides helpful
information to the legal community and the public. Some examples of
the information provided: Our history, information on e-litigation,
our nationally known Drug Court, juror orientation, court calendars,
case management plans, job postings, rules, forms, a self-help center,
and victim information. Our web site was featured in the national
To provide for the safety and security of all visitors, we completed
the transition to a single public entrance in each courthouse. Each
public entrance is staffed by security personnel who screen for weapons.
The Court's nationwide reputation as a problem-solving innovator was
recognized again when it was selected by the U.S.
Department of Justice as one of nine
pilot sites in the country to test the concept of Re-entry Courts.
Re-entry Courts focus on the need to create accountability systems
and support networks for returning offenders to increase the chances
of successful reintegration into their communities. We are testing
two approaches to Re-entry: One targets returning domestic violence
offenders in Sussex County and the other deals with the general population
of returning offenders in New Castle County.
The Court implemented the far-reaching Automated
Sentence Order Project (ASOP). The ASOP
is designed to support Delaware's sentencing process by standardizing
the format of sentence orders, accelerate the transmission of sentencing
information to the criminal history database and to other criminal
justice agencies, support the judicial decision-making process, allow
for data entry and sentence order generation in the courtroom, and
cutting back on the use of paper by sending realtime electronic court
orders to the Department of Correction.
The Court continued its efforts to improve the overall effectiveness
of the criminal justice system by interagency collaboration. We are
now conducting Contempt Hearings in welfare fraud cases where the
defendant has failed to make restitution payments to the State. Working
in cooperation with the Division of Audit and Recovery of the Department
of Health and Social Services, these Contempt Hearings have been expanded.
The Court expanded its initiatives to improve the collection rate
of unpaid Court assessments. Court staff are serving as faculty at
the training academy for new Probation and Parole Officers. We also
provide training in the use of the courts' case management system
to Records Office personnel at Gander Hill prison. We started accepting
payments to the Court by credit cards in Kent County to make the collection
process more efficient and to speed up the return of restitution funds
to victims of crime.
Finally, we refined our vision, mission and core values through the
collaborative efforts of Superior Court Judges and Staff from across
Delaware. Our vision is to be the Superior Court with the most Superior
Service in the nation. Our mission is to provide Superior Service
to the public in pursuit of justice. We have agreed that our core
values as an organization are UNITED which stands for unity, neutrality,
integrity, timeliness, equality and dedication. We are committed to
building on the quality of justice and public service for which the
Superior Court of Delaware is well known here and across the nation.
President Judge Ridgely