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THE FAMILY COURT WELCOMES JUDGE RYAN, AND COMMISSIONERS MAXWELL AND WILLIAMS

Judge Paula Ryan
Judge Paula Ryan and her family at her investiture on January 18, 2013

The Family Court of the State of Delaware welcomed Judge Paula T. Ryan, and Commissioners James J. Maxwell and Dawn M. Williams to the bench. Judge Ryan, Commissioner Maxwell, and Commissioner Williams were unanimously confirmed by the 147th General Assembly during a Special Session in December 2012.

Judge Ryan is a seasoned litigator having been with the Department of Justice since 1996 where she tried cases in Family Court, the Court of Common Pleas, and Superior Court. In 2007, Judge Ryan was appointed Chief Prosecutor of Sussex County and, in that capacity, supervised approximately 20 Deputy Attorney Generals in addition to prosecuting cases that included Earl Bradley, and Derrick Powell, convicted of capital murder for killing Georgetown Police Officer Chad Spicer. Family Court Chief Judge Chandlee Johnson Kuhn stated: “Judge Ryan’s exemplary work ethic and experience already has been noted in her short time on the bench. She is a tremendous addition to our team.” When asked what brought her to Family Court, Judge Ryan said “I applied for the position in Family Court, because I wanted to continue my public service to the children and families of Delaware, in a different capacity.  In this transition, I have been very fortunate to have extremely helpful and knowledgeable people in Sussex Family Court to guide and assist me as I make my way through each challenging and interesting day in Family Court.”

Commissioner Maxwell
Commissioner James Maxwell, his wife, Wendy, and Governor Markell at his swearing in ceremony

 

Commissioner Maxwell is well versed in Family Court related matters. He represented numerous state agencies during his 22 years with the Department of Justice, including the Delaware Department of Services for Children, Youth and their Families, and prosecuted child abuse and neglect cases, Child Protection Registry cases, and termination of parental rights hearings in Family Court. “Commissioner Maxwell’s familiarity with Family Court has allowed for a smooth transition as he moved from standing before the bench to sitting behind it,” according to Chief Judge Kuhn.

 

 

 

Commissioner Williams
Commissioner Williams with Governor Markell at her Investiture

Regarding Commissioner Williams, Chief Judge Kuhn noted that “she is an asset to Family Court and will shine in and outside the courtroom.” In 1999, Commissioner Williams joined the Office of the Public Defender and defended clients at all stages of the criminal litigation process in all state courts. Commissioner Williams was later promoted to Supervising Attorney for the New Castle County Family Court Unit, and in that role assisted in policymaking for juvenile justice, consulted attorneys statewide, trained new attorneys and law clerks, and assisted in formulating agency wide procedures. Prior to becoming a defense attorney, Commissioner Williams worked at the Department of Justice, in private practice, and as a law clerk for the United States Court of Federal Claims. Commissioner Williams said she “look[s] forward to learning from [her] colleagues on the bench and . . . hope[s] to continue to positively serve the people of Delaware in this new role.”

For further information, contact leann.summa@state.de.us

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