President Judge Vaughn
Fiscal Year 2005
to the Superior Court of Delaware!
the fourth year in a row, Superior Court of Delaware has been recognized
as the premier
court of general jurisdiction in the country. The Harris
Poll State Liability Systems Ranking Study
conducted for the United
Sates Chamber Institute for Legal Reform measured corporate America's
perception of which state is doing the best job of creating a fair
and reasonable litigation environment. Delaware continues to rank
number one overall.
Fiscal Year 2005 brought several changes to the Superior Court bench.
First, on July 22, 2004, after 20 years with Superior Court, the last
14 years as President Judge, the Honorable Henry DuPont Ridgely was
appointed to the Supreme Court of Delaware. Next, on October 14, 2004,
we welcomed our new President
Judge, the Honorable James T. Vaughn Jr., formerly Kent County's
Resident Judge. Consequently, the Honorable
William L. Witham Jr., became Resident Judge of Kent County on
January 19, 2005. Finally, on February 17, 2005, the chain of events
triggered by Justice Ridgely's appointment ended when the Honorable
Robert B. Young was appointed to the Kent County Superior Court
In this year, there were 19,798 dispositions (civil and criminal),
an increase of two percent (+382 cases) from the end of the Fiscal
Year 2004. The number of non-first degree murder cases moving through
the system within allotted time frames remains consistent. Of the
non-first degree murder criminal cases, 67 percent were disposed within
120 days of indictment; and the rates for those cases disposed within
180 days and within one year remain consistent as well. A total of
seven capital murder cases went to trial this year.
(ADR) filings this year were up 4.7 percent
statewide. Even with this increase in filings, the Court continued
to see a rise in its disposition rate with a 13.5 percent statewide
increase. The ADR Help-desk responded to over 100 inquiries from arbitrators
and mediators needing information or assistance concerning scheduling.
information service continues to grow.
Eighteen separate Listservs are maintained, with over 1300 members
to provide instant notification to our users. Users include attorneys,
state officials, insurance companies, research utilities, and universities.
Our Web Feedback Help-desk responded to over 229 citizens who had
questions regarding how to locate information on the Court's opinions
and orders, forms, fees, records, and jury duty.
The COTS initiative has Superior Court judicial and non-judicial personnel
involved at many levels: the Operations Steering Committee, Executive
Steering Committee, the Core Team, the Working Committee, Training
Team, and Change Management Team, down to the subcommittee level.
We remain dedicated to and supportive of making this effort successful
for the entire judiciary. With so many involved in COTS however, it
is not an easy task to maintain our high standard of service to the
public. Special recognition is due all Superior Court staff for its
collective dedication to maintaining a level of excellence in all
Superior Court is UNITED
in its core values of unity, neutrality, integrity, timeliness, equality,
and dedication. Our vision still holds in being the best Superior
Court in the nation by providing superior service to the public in
pursuit of justice. We continue to build on the quality of justice
and public service for which we are known in our own state and every
other state in the nation.