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Appeals From the Family Court

Family Court criminal appeals are taken to the Superior Court. Family Court civil appeals are taken to Supreme Court.

A party may appeal an interim or final order of a commissioner to a Judge of Family Court pursuant to the following authority: Civil Rule 53.1, Rule 73.1 and 10 Del.C. § 915 (d)(1) and (2) and (e).

§ 1051. Appeals generally.

(a) From any order, ruling, decision or judgment of the Court in any civil proceeding, including any delinquency proceeding, there shall be the right of appeal as provided by law to the Supreme Court.

(b) From any order, ruling, decision or judgment of the Court in any criminal proceeding, there shall be the right of appeal in the first instance as provided by law to the Superior Court in the same county in which the case was adjudicated by the Court, with the further right of appeal as provided by law to the Supreme Court from an affirmance by the Superior Court of the order of the Court which was appealed, or from the entry of a judgment of conviction by the Superior Court upon a trial de novo on appeal to that Court.

(c) An appeal shall be taken within 30 days from the date of the disposition, or within such time as provided by law.

(d) No appeal shall stay the execution of any order of the Court unless such stay shall be specifically ordered by this Court in the first instance or by the appellate court. (10 Del. C. 1953, § 960; 58 Del. Laws, c. 114, § 1; 65 Del. Laws, c. 145, § 1; 66 Del. Laws, c. 162, § 1; 67 Del. Laws, c. 149, § 1; 69 Del. Laws, c. 335, § 1.)


§ 1052. Appeals from custody orders.

(a) Any order of the Court relative to the custody of any child shall be subject to review.

(b) The child's parent, guardian, next friend or any interested person or agency, at any time within 30 days after the date of such order, may appeal to the Supreme Court.

(c) In the case of an indigent person, the Court may, in its discretion, waive surety for costs upon affidavit by such person that the person is without funds and means of prosecuting the appeal.

(d) The taxing of costs shall be within the discretion of the Supreme Court. (10 Del. C. 1953, § 961; 58 Del. Laws, c. 114, § 1; 66 Del. Laws, c. 162, § 2; 66 Del. Laws, c. 162, § 2; 67 Del. Laws, c. 149, § 2; 68 Del. Laws, c. 53, § 2; 69 Del. Laws, c. 335, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.)


§ 1053. Appeals by the State in Family Court cases.

(a) An appeal may be taken by the State from the Family Court to an appellate court in the following instances:

(1) Appeal as of right. --

a. The State shall have an absolute right to appeal to an appellate court a final order of the Family Court where the order constitutes a dismissal of a petition or information or any count thereof or the granting of any motion vacating any verdict or judgment of delinquency or conviction where the order of the Family Court is based upon the invalidity or construction of the statute upon which the petition or information is founded or where the order is based on lack of jurisdiction of the Family Court over the person or subject matter.

b. Notwithstanding any section of this chapter to the contrary, the State shall have an absolute right to appeal to an appellate court from any order of the Family Court which grants an accused any of the following: a new trial or judgment of acquittal after a verdict or an adjudication of delinquency; a modification of a verdict or an adjudication of delinquency; an arrest of judgment; relief in any postconviction proceeding or in any action collaterally attacking a criminal judgment or an adjudication of delinquency; or any order or judgment declaring any act of the General Assembly, or any portion of such act, to be unconstitutional under either the Constitution of the United States or the State of Delaware, inoperative or unenforceable, except that no appeal shall lie where otherwise prohibited by the double jeopardy clause of the Constitution of the United States or of this State.

c. Notwithstanding any section of this chapter to the contrary, the State shall have an absolute right to appeal to an appellate court any ruling of the Family Court on a question of law or procedure adverse to the State in any case in which the accused was convicted or adjudicated delinquent and appeals from the judgment, except that the decision or result of the State's appeal shall not affect the rights of the accused unless the accused, on his or her appeal, is awarded a new trial or a new sentencing hearing. Once the State perfects its cross-appeal, the appellate court shall review and rule upon the questions presented therein regardless of the disposition of the accused's appeal.

d. Notwithstanding any section of this chapter to the contrary, the State shall have an absolute right to appeal any sentence on the grounds that it is unauthorized by, or contrary to, any statute or court rule, in which case the decision or result of the State's appeal shall affect the rights of the accused.

e. Any appeal brought by the State pursuant to subparagraph c. or d. of this subsection shall be personally authorized by either the Attorney General or the Chief Deputy Attorney General.

(2) Appeal in the discretion of the appellate court. -- The State may apply to an appellate court to permit an appeal to determine a substantial question of law or procedure, and the appellate court may permit the appeal in its absolute discretion. The appellate court shall have the power to adopt rules governing the allowance of such an appeal; but in no event shall the decision or result of the appeal affect the rights of the appellee and he shall not be obligated to defend the appeal, but the appellate court may require the Public Defender of the State to defend the appeal and to argue the cause; provided, however, that if the order appealed from is an order suppressing or excluding substantial and material evidence the appellate court may permit an interlocutory appeal of any pretrial order, and if the order suppressing such evidence is reversed, the appellee may be subjected to a trial.

(b) The State's rights of appeal in a delinquency proceeding provided under subsection (a) of this section shall be to the Supreme Court. The State's rights of appeal in a criminal proceeding provided under subsection (a) of this section shall be to the Superior Court in the first instance, with further rights of appeal to the Supreme Court as are provided under subsection (a) of this section, from an affirmance by the Superior Court of the order of the Family Court which was appealed.

(c) The appeal or application for appeal shall be filed with the appellate court within 30 days from entry of the order appealed from, or, in any case in which the State elects to prosecute a cross appeal, notice of the cross appeal shall be filed within 30 days from the filing of a notice of appeal by the defendant.

(d) "Order" for purposes of this section includes any judgment, order, ruling, decision, memorandum, opinion, or equivalent entry of the Court appealed from which constitutes a fixed determination by such Court.

(e) The provisions of this section shall be liberally construed so as to afford the State the broadest possible right to appeal in a criminal case, but only to the extent permitted by the Constitution of the United States and the State of Delaware. (10 Del. C. 1953, § 962; 58 Del. Laws, c. 114, § 1; 66 Del. Laws, c. 162, § 3; 69 Del. Laws, c. 335, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 481, §§