November 30, 2015—Judge Paul R. Wallace was appointed to the Complex Commercial Litigation Division Panel (CCLD) succeeding President Judge Jan R. Jurden as of November 30.
November 20, 2015—Kent County Resident Judge William L. Witham Jr. participated in the ribbon cutting ceremony celebrating the opening of Victory Village.
The Beau Biden Center for Veterans on November 20, 2015 in Middletown, Delaware. The village is a rehabilitation facility for veterans.
September 1, 2015—Civil Rule 77(h)B and 77(h)F amends civil fees.
Effective September 1, 2015.
September 30, 2015—Superior Court Resident Judge William L. Witham Jr. was a panelist at the 2nd Annual Delaware Firearms Law Seminar.
He spoke on 'Practice Tips and Ethical Issues for Delaware Attorneys Practicing Firearms Law in Delaware Courts'.
September 9, 2015—Judge Silverman to Retire.
Judge Fred S. Silverman to retire from the Superior Court bench on November 28, 2015.
June 1, 2015—Order Amending Criminal Rule 61(e)(5) and (e)(6).
Effective June 1, 2015 Criminal Rule 61(e)(5) and (e)(6) regarding the appointment of counsel and the withdrawal of counsel is amended.
June 1, 2015—Mark Zaffarano became our Court Administrator.
He brings years of experience to Superior Court from his work at both state and federal trial courts. He is graduate of the University of Virginia with a B.A. in Government, holds an M.P.A. in Public Administration with a specialization in Judicial Administration from the University of Southern California, and a Ph.D. in Public Administration with a specialization in Court Administration from George Mason University. Mark also graduated from the Court Executive Development Program sponsored by the National Center for State Courts' Institute for Court Management. He is an advisory board founding member of the Mid-Atlantic Association for Court Management (MAACM).
July 20, 2015—Kent County Superior Court High School Internship Program.
From July 20 through July 24, seventeen high school students will participate in the Court's internship program. The interns will learn about the court system, the trial process, tour the courthouse and meet and talk with judges, the prothonotary staff, bailiffs, court reporters, security officers and attorneys. They will observe various court proceedings such as trials, mental health court, hearings, and arraignments. The week will end with the interns participating in mock trials on July 24.
July 13, 2015—New Castle County Superior Court High School Internship Program.
The Honorable Lynne M. Parker is the coordinator of the Court's first high school internship program, July 13-July 17, 2015. The one-week internship program is designed to introduce high school students to the inner workings of the Delaware court system. Students will get a taste of each of the courts: Superior Court, Chancery Court, Court of Common Pleas and Family Court. They will observe court proceedings, meet judicial officers, and learn about our state court system. Luncheon speakers will provide face-to-face talks with former Superior Court Judge Charles H. Toliver IV, Charles Oberly III, Esq., and others.
June 5, 2015—7th Annual Veterans Legal Assistance Conference.
Kent County Superior Court Resident Judge William L. Witham Jr. was a panelist at the 7th Annual Veterans Legal Assistance Conference at the University of Baltimore School of Law on June 5, 2015. He discussed the development of the Veterans Treatment Court in Delaware. The conference provided a forum on critical legal issues for lawyers interested in representing veterans in claims for service-connected disability benefits, child support, veterans treatment courts and reemployment issues.
May 20, 2015—Superior Court Bench-Bar Liaison Program.
Administrative Directive 2015-4 amends the program and supersedes Administrative Directive 2011-5. The Bench-Bar Program established civil and criminal liaisons who serve at the pleasure of the Superior Court and act as intermediaries between the court practitioners and the resident judge or appointed liaison judge for each county. The liaisons are a point of contact to address issues between practitioners and the court. Practitioners' communications with the liaisons remain confidential unless the practitioner agrees otherwise and communications originating from the court will be confidential among the practitioners involved.
April 6, 2015—Distinguished Jurist Honoree.
At the Widener University, Delaware Law School's Distinguished Jurist Moot Court Competition, the Honorable Mark S. Vavala was the 'Distinguished Jurist Honoree'. He served as the competition's chief justice.
March 27, 2015—Administrative Directive 2015-3 rescinds Administrative Directive 2014-4.
The rescinded directive established a transitional administrative procedure pertaining to consecutive/concurrent sentences of confinement. The appropriate period for transition to and compliance with a wholly new sentencing procedure required by legislation has passed and the directive is no longer required. Effective March 27, 2015.
March 16, 2015—Kent County Resident Judge William L. Witham Jr. was a conference presenter at the University of Baltimore School of Law's forum on Veterans' Needs: The Current State of Veterans in Our Courts.
The conference presentations examined a full spectrum of mental health concerns such as the psychopathology of traumatic brain injury, addiction and the development of Veterans Treatment Courts. Resident Judge Witham reviewed his experiences in developing and overseeing the Kent County Superior Court's Veterans Treatment Court. The conference was attended by attorneys as well as 57 judges from around the country who are interested in the problem-solving court model.
January 1, 2015—On Administrative Directive 2015-1.
Effective January 1, Judge Eric M. Davis has been assigned to the Superior Court Complex Commercial Litigation Panel. Also effective January 1, Administrative Directive 2015-2. Assignment of Judges for 2015.
January 1, 2015—The Veterans Treatment Court: A New Way of Responding to Criminal Justice for Veterans
Kent County Resident Judge William L. Witham Jr. has been published in The Journal, of the Delaware State Bar Association, January 2015, Vol.38, No. 6. Judge Witham, a former member of the armed services, has oversight of the Kent County Veterans Treatment Court (VTC) that was begun in 2011. The article examines the program's imperative, mission and multi-agency cooperation in detail. The VTC operates on the problem-solving model of jurisprudence with the focus on treatment and rehabilitation as opposed to sanctioned prison methods of confinement.
November 11, 2014—On Veterans Day Resident Judge William L. Witham Jr. discussed our Veterans Treatment Court on WHYY-FM, NPR Philadelphia.
October 30th, 2014—Resident Judge William L. Witham Jr. was a guest speaker at the First Annual Delaware Firearms Seminar, sponsored by the Delaware Association of Second Amendment Lawyers.
The Judge's presentation is on "Procedures for Obtaining a License to Carry Concealed Weapon: Standards for Court Hearing and Appeal Rights — Tips for Lawyers."
October 30, 2014—President Judge James T. Vaughn Jr. Now Justice on Delaware Supreme Court.
Justice Vaughn, as President Judge of the Superior Court, continually demonstrated the highest levels of professionalism, administrative ability and sound legal judgment during his tenure as President Judge.
October 30, 2014—Superior Court's Veterans Treatment Court will expand to Sussex County starting October 30, 2014.
Both Resident Judge William L. Witham Jr. who presides over the Kent County Veterans Court and Judge Richard F. Stokes who will now oversee the Sussex County Veterans Court are themselves veterans. Judge Stokes sees the court's "goal in all of this is to get a bridge for the veteran back into society."
October 13, 2014—Administrative Directive 2014-4, Consecutive/Concurrent Sentence of Confinement.
A sentence of confinement of any criminal defendant shall be made to run consecutively with any other sentence of confinement imposed on such criminal defendant, unless a sentencing judge expressly provides that a sentence of confinement shall be made to run concurrently with another sentence of confinement.
September 4, 2014-—Superior Court Amends Civil Rule 133.
Effective September 4, 2014, Superior Court amended the rule by deleting the rule in its entirety and by substituting a new Civil Rule 133 on 'Single-transaction guardianship; settlement of tort claims for disabled person'.
September 4, 2014—Superior Court Amends/Adopts Miscellaneous Civil Rules.
Effective September 4, 2014, Superior Court amended and adopted several miscellaneous Superior Court Rules: Civil Rules 6(1)(e); Civil Rule 16(b)(5)(a); Civil Rule 26(b)(5) & (b)(6); Civil Rule 78; Civil Rule 107(b); and Civil Rule 140 that address service by mail, scheduling order deadlines, protection of communication, motion days, format of briefs, and a new Historical Society of the Superior Court of Delaware.
June 4, 2014—Effective June 4, 2014, Superior Court Amended Criminal Rule 61.
Superior Court amended several provisions of Superior Court's Criminal Rule 61 to address second or subsequent motions for postconviction relief and to clarify when appointment of counsel is required or discretionary.
March 5, 2014—Effective July 23, 2014, Designation of Pre-Trial Supervision of Juvenile Defendant Criminal Cases.
Administrative Directive 2014-3. Effective July 23, 2014, the Superior Court will assign a judge in each county to provide pre-trial supervision of each juvenile defendant criminal case to assure that such cases are adjudicated without unnecessary delay to enable just and efficient resolution of juvenile defendant criminal cases. The Court, not counsel or the litigants, shall control the pace of such litigation in this Court.
March 5, 2014-—Effective March 5, 2014, a Revised Petit Jury Plan of the Superior Court of the State of Delaware has been adopted.
February 1, 2014—Amended Criminal Rule 61(e)(1).
President Judge James T. Vaughn Jr. has set the effective date as February 1, 2014 for Superior Court's new amendment to the first sentence of Criminal Rule 61(e)(1) which has been approved by the Supreme Court.
February 27, 2014—Administrative Directive 2014-2 Cases Involving Drug Evidence.
Effective February 27, 2014, Administration Directive 2014-2. If for those cases involving drug evidence scheduled for trial in March, the State identifies a case as one involving drugs submitted to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for analysis and requests a continuance, the case will be continued. A new trial date and, if requested by either party, a new final case review date will be assigned by the Prothonotary.
January 6, 2014—Criminal Rule 35A. Modification of Sentence for Offense Committed as a Juvenile.
Effective immediately, Superior Court Order Adopts Criminal Rule 35A. The rule change governs the procedure on an application by a person in custody under a sentence of the court imposed for an offense that was committed before the person reached their 18th birthday.
January 2, 2014—Administrative Directive 2014-1 Assignment of Judges.
Effective January 2, 2014, Administration Directive 2014-1, Assignment of Judges.
January 1, 2014—Peer Mentor Program Launched.
To enhance the Superior Court's Mental Health Court (MHC), a Peer Mentor Program has been added to the New Castle County MHC team.
January 1, 2014—Administrative Procedures for Release From Custody.
Effective January 1, 2014, Administration Directive 2012-4 is rescinded and replaced in the entirety with Administrative Directive 2013-5. The modified administrative procedures shall govern the release of defendants from custody in criminal cases.
August 22, 2013—Judge Rocanelli's Leadership Recognized.
The Delaware Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health presented Judge Andrea L. Rocanelli with the Judicial Partnership Award that "recognizes a leader who advances the causes of individuals challenged with mental health and/or substance abuse disorders".
July 12, 2013—Criminal Case Management Plan Resentencing Proceedings.
Effective July 12, 2013. Superior Court has adopted a plan for limited resentencing proceedings for inmates who committed first degree murder before their eighteenth birthday and were sentenced on that charge before June 4, 2013. Applications for resentencing pursuant to this plan shall be filed on or before December 31, 2014.
July 11, 2013—President Judge Vaughn Appointed Group's Chair.
Superior Court President Judge James T. Vaughn Jr. has been appointed chair of the Justice Reinvestment Oversight Group established by Governor Markell's Executive Order 40 on June 7. The Group will implement the recommendations of the Justice Reinvestment Task Force (JRI) which became state law in 2012. Its goals are to establish and review agency reporting; monitor and measure effectiveness and costs; identify any needed statutory changes; and reallocate savings. Savings are to be reinvested in programs, supervision, and support to increase public safety and reduce recidivism. Other committee members include Court of Common Pleas Chief Judge Smalls and Justice of the Peace Court Chief Magistrate Davis as well as members of the governor's administration, the state Senate, and the House of Representatives.
July 10, 2013—Project Rightful Owner Disburses $5.7 mil.
In Fiscal Year 2013 Superior Court's Project Rightful Owner disbursed $443,624.59. Since the Superior Court Project began the Court has disbursed over $5,709,895.38 in excess proceeds to the rightful owners of the money. Excess proceeds arise when the value of the property, at the time of sale, exceeds the amount of money needed to pay off all recorded liens and mortgages.
June19, 2013—Another eFiling 1st for Kent County Superior Court.
Kent County Sheriff's Office is the first in the nation to file their sheriff's returns via File & ServeXpress batch filing. The process enables the office to quickly and efficiently load multiple returns in multiple cases. The process will save time and resources for both the office and the Kent County Superior Court. File & Serve users can now view, print or download their returns for Kent County Superior Court cases free of charge.
June11, 2013—Judge Witham Participates in MD Veterans Court Task Force Meeting.
On June 10, Kent County Superior Court Resident Judge William L. Witham Jr. participated via video-conference meeting with the State of Maryland Task Force on Military Service Members, Veterans, and the Courts. The Maryland Task Force was established by their General Assembly to explore the establishment of a special problem-solving court to be known as 'Veterans Courts'. Judge Witham, who has been the lead in the establishment of the Delaware Superior Court's Veterans Treatment Court, briefed the Maryland Task Force on our experiences to develop our problem-solving Veterans Court. He responded to numerous inquiries from task force members, who included judges and local Maryland legislators, on the crucial issues and logistics we resolved to launch the Veterans Courts here in Delaware.
June 7, 2013—Judge Jurden's Recognizes Mental Health Court.
On May 13, 2013, the first day-long Sisters in Success conference took place at the Baylor Women's Correctional Institution. The Growing Strong Roots: A Conference Before and About Women was a day like never before inside Baylor walls. In attendance with over a hundred women inmates were numerous judges and attorneys as well as criminal justice and mental health professionals. The Sisters in Success event was developed under the leadership of Superior Court Judge Jan R. Jurden and jointly sponsored by the Delaware Department of Correction, the Baylor Women's Correctional Institution, the Delaware Criminal Justice Council, the Women and Law Section of the Delaware State Bar Association and the Delaware Chapter of the National Association of Women Judges.
June 7, 2013—Our Independence Recognizes Mental Health Court.
Superior Court's Mental Health Court was recognized in an Our Independence June article by John P. Cyyne, Judge Jan R. Jurden Presiding: Mental Health Court. The article notes the work that the special court started six years ago under the oversight of Judge Jan R. Jurden does to help motivated defendants get help for their mental illnesses and to avoid repeat encounters with the criminal justice system.
May 15, 2013—Criminal Rules of Procedure.
Rules Amended. Superior Court Criminal Rules of Procedure. Effective May 6, 2013, Criminal Rule 61 subparagraph (e) amended regarding the appointment of counsel for first postconviction proceeding.
May 1, 2013—New Bench-Bar Liaison Selected.
New Castle County Resident Judge Richard R. Cooch announced that Thomas A. Foley, Esq. has been selected to serve as the New Castle County Superior Court Bench-Bar Committee Criminal Liaison. The committee liaisons act as intermediaries between the Superior Court practitioners and the Resident Judge to address issues between practitioners and the Court.
March 18, 2013—Judge Carpenter Appointed to ABA Board.
Judge William C. Carpenter Jr. was been appointed to the American Bar Association Board of Governors Committee on Planning, Evaluation and Programming (PEP). Judge Carpenter, who is Chair of the National Conference of State Trial Judges and on the Executive Committee of the Section Officers Conference of the ABA, will serve as that group's liaison to the Committee. The PEP is only one of 3 governing committees established by the ABA Board of Governors and oversees the Association's programming and strategic planning.
March 18, 2013—Civil Rule 3(a) & Civil Rule 10 Amended.
Superior Court Civil Rules of Procedure. On May 1, 2013 amendments to Civil Rule 3(a), Complaint and praecipe, and Civil Rule 10, Caption, Name of parties will become effective.
March 15, 2013—Civil Case Management Web Initiative Launched.
Superior Court has launched a new Web initiative for civil case management. New Castle County Resident Judge Richard R. Cooch led the initiative and consulted with the DSBA's Litigation Section on their needs for the project. He developed the initial project guidelines and was the first to have his civil case management preferences published. Our Judicial Officers' Preferences section provides detailed information about individual judge's and commissioner's particular practices and procedures for civil case management in an effort further to assist attorneys. Preference profiles do not restate procedures otherwise set forth in Superior Court Plans, Rules, Directives, or Orders. But any specific variances are specially noted.
January 2, 2013—Veterans Treatment Court Expands.
Veterans Treatment Court officially began in New Castle County on January 2. Judge Jan R. Jurden, herself a former member of the armed services, will preside over the New Castle County Veterans Court. In 2011, the Kent County Veterans Court pilot project implementation was led by Judge William L. Witham Jr., also a former member of the armed services. Judge Witham has ongoing Kent County program oversight. The Veterans Court mission is to work with veterans who have been charged with non-violent offenses and divert eligible veteran-defendants with substance dependency and/or mental health issues from the traditional court to a treatment-based problem-solving court. "I am very proud of the hard work of our court in bringing this most effective program to New Castle County," said President Judge James T. Vaughn Jr. "This expansion will provide greater numbers of justice-involved veterans with the means to address their substance abuse and mental health issues in an effort to create constructive lives and become productive members of our community."
November 29, 2012—Judge Witham Co-Authors Veterans Court Article.
Judge William L. Witham Jr. is a co-author of an article in a collection of articles published in the 2012 State Defense Force Monograph Series. "Reserve Force Trials, Trauma and Transitions: Examining the Modern Deployed Reserve Force Mental Health Support Needs. Another Avenue to Treatment: The Veterans Court", State Defense Force Monograph Series, Spring 2012, Homeland Security, Support for the National Guard and the State, pp. 5-36. The article relates the success of alternative "problem-solving" courts, in this specific case, the Veterans Mental Health Courts. In 2011, Delaware established the very first statewide Veterans Court in the country that is both a diversion and probation court. No other court with this expansive capability exists in the United States. The Court has achieved success due to the cooperation of the Delaware Attorney General's Office, the Office of the Public Defender, the VA and the resource agencies of the State of Delaware.
September 21, 2012—Project Rightful Owner a Six-Year Success Story.
Since May 2007, Superior Court's statewide Project Rightful Owner has disbursed the excess proceeds from Sheriff's sales to the rightful owners. And now, in its sixth year, the Project has disbursed over $5.25 million. Excess proceeds arise when the value of the property sold, at the time of Sheriff's sale, exceeds the amount of money needed to pay off all recorded liens and mortgages. Lists of the seller's name, address at time of sale, and the amount of excess proceeds are available online.
September 17, 2012—Superior Court Ranked No. One Court Again.
For the ninth year, Delaware was ranked number one overall in the Harris Interactive Inc.'s State Liability Systems Ranking Study conducted for the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform. The Court was recognized by general counsel and senior litigators as doing the best job of "having a litigation environment perceived to be " The study on corporate America's perception of which state is doing the best job of creating a fair and reasonable litigation environment with their state court liability system focused on overall treatment of tort and contract litigation, having and enforcing meaningful venue requirements, treatment of class action suits and mass consolidation suits, punitive damages, timeliness of summary judgment / dismissal, discovery, scientific and technical evidence, non-economic damages, judges' impartiality and competence, juries' predictability and fairness.
November 2, 2012—Administrative Directive 2012-5 Complex Commercial Litigation Division Panel.
Effective November 2, 2012 Superior Court President Judge James T. Vaughn, Jr. will complete the CCLD Panel term of Judge Slights.
September 25, 2012—Administrative Directive 2012-4 Procedures for Release From Custody.
Superior Court after a review of the procedures and current practice, has with Administrative Directive 2012-4 modified the current procedures and included a Code of Conduct necessary to provide a clear understanding of the Court's requirements, expectations and potential consequences upon failure to adhere to these procedures. Effective September 25, 2012. The administrative procedures shall govern the release of defendants from custody in criminal cases. [Administrative Directive No. 2005-3 is rescinded and replaced in the entirety by 2012-4.] .
September 12, 2012—Judge Jurden Selected as JLI Train-the-Trainer.
Judge Jan R. Jurden who initiated and oversees Superior Court's Mental Health Court has been selected by the Judges' Criminal Justice/Mental Health Leadership Initiative (JLI) to participate in the October Train-the-Trainer session at the American Psychiatric Association's Institute on Psychiatric Services because of her leadership ability and dedication to the mental health issue. The training provides judges with knowledge on how mental illnesses and co-occurring substance use disorders and criminogenic risk factors are likely to impact an individual's interactions with the criminal justice system, relevant procedural options, ethical considerations, and effective collaborative treatment and supervision strategies. The goal of the train-the-trainer session is for the selected trainers to deliver training to future judicial audiences.
September 7, 2012—Judge Carpenter Elected Chair of NCSTJ.
At the August American Bar Association meeting, Judge William C. Carpenter Jr. was elected Chair of the National Conference of State Trial Judges. He is the first Delaware judge to hold this leadership position. NCSTJ is the oldest and largest organization of general jurisdiction state trial judges in the nation and is an advocate for nationwide issues affecting trial judges. Judge Carpenter related that "this is a critical time for many courts throughout the country with reduction in funding and attacks by groups who believe a court is ruling inconsistent with their political, religious or social beliefs. As such, the mission of the conference will be to not only improve the administration of justice but to promote the public's understanding of our judicial system to ensure that the third branch of our government remains independent and is free to rule fairly and impartially."
June 6, 2012—Mental Health Court Targets Recidivism.
Superior Court's Mental Health Court was recognized for its success in a recent News Journal article by Beth Miller, "Mental Health Court Targets Recidivism: Hugs, Thanks and Applause – Where Justice is United for Extra Chance". The article explains that the special court under the oversight of Judge Jan R. Jurden was established in 2008 to help motivated defendants get help for their mental illnesses and avoid repeat encounters with the criminal justice system. With the agreement of prosecutors, some participants are in on probation, some are in as a diversion from the regular court system. "There are plenty who don't make it. Almost half must leave the program for one reason or another. The success stories, though, unfold in the courtroom as [Judge] Jurden asks for information from representatives of the public defender's office, the Attorney General's Office, probation officers, treatment coordinators and social workers, all of whom attend the hearings." The program is capped at 40 people, but Jurden says if resources were sufficient, the demand would easily triple the number of participants in a few months' time. "Everybody is starting to realize that this is a bad problem," Jurden said. "Prisons are not meant to be asylums."
May 16, 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. The proclamation recognizes twenty-three years of Drug Courts in the United States and eighteen years of Problem-Solving Courts in the State of Delaware. Delaware's first Problem-Solving Court began operations in 1994 with the creation of the Superior Court Drug Court. Delaware now operates over fifteen problem-solving courts including drug courts, gun court, mental health courts, reentry courts, truancy courts, trauma-informed probation court and veterans' treatment court. Problem-Solving Courts are specialized courts that address matters under a court jurisdiction through a multi-disciplinary and integrated approach incorporating collaboration between the court, other governmental entities and community organizations. The goal of these specialized courts is to reduce recidivism rates and save criminal justice resources by holding defendants accountable for their actions while ensuring that they have access to services to support their efforts to become productive tax-paying citizens. The courts facilitate community-wide partnerships, bringing together public safety and healthcare professionals in the treatment of substance abuse and mental illness and the fight against criminality. Problem-Solving Court Month will be celebrated with graduations, courts site-visits and presentations throughout the state. Chief Justice Myron T. Steele said, "I am pleased to recognize the important works of the judiciary and others in resolving the complex issues faced by the litigants in these courts." Governor Markell's proclamation encouraged Delaware citizens to recognize the efforts of problem-solving court practitioners and the approximately 5,000 individuals who have successfully graduated from a problem-solving court in Delaware.
May 1, 2012—-E-Filing Update. Designation of Cases Filed as Civil Miscellaneous for e-Filing.
All Civil Miscellaneous cases, excluding expungements, gun permits, material witness warrants, search warrants, appeals from the Disability Board, and petitions or applications from the Department of Justice for information and/or documentation pertaining to a criminal or civil investigation, filed with the Prothonotary in any county shall be filed electronically using LexisNexis File & Serve eFiling system (now File & ServeXpress™).
December 12, 2011—V.A. Delegation Attend Kent County Veterans Court.
On December 2, Kent County Resident Judge William L. Witham Jr. hosted a delegation of Veterans Administration officers and specialists to view the Kent County Veterans Court in action. The delegation represented many states including Massachusetts, Virginia, Mississippi, and Texas. Although there are Veterans Courts in other states, Delaware is the first statewide program and the first to combine both diversion and probation into the one program. During the day, the group attended a pre-court multi-agency team session, a Veterans Court session, and a Veterans Court graduation.
December 9, 2011—Superior Court Judge Jurden Receives DSBA Award.
Judge Jan R. Jurden was the awarded the 2011 Outstanding Service to the Courts and the Bar Award. The yearly award is presented to the Delaware judge or lawyer who "by exemplary service to the Delaware Courts and the Delaware Bar has substantially assisted the Courts and the Bar and strengthened public trust and confidence in the State's court system and the administration of justice." One of the many reasons Judge Jurden received the 2011 Award was for starting the Mental Health Court.
December 8, 2011—Superior Court Celebrates 20 Years of e-Filing.
December 2, 2011 marks the 20th Anniversary since the Court initiated the first electronic docketing & filing system for civil cases in the U.S. The 1991 experimental civil e-filing used the CLAD (Complex Litigation Automated Docketing) e-filing system; it began on December 2, 1991 with one filing, Playtex, Inc. v. Columbia Casualty, et al. CLAD was the brainchild of now retired Delaware Superior Court Judge Susan C. Del Pesco and Wilmington attorney Richard K. Herrmann. Today all the original CLAD case data is still available using the Court's current LexisNexis e-filing system.
October 8, 2011—Superior Court Judge Slights at The Sedona Conference®.
Judge Joseph R. Slights III participated as a panelist at the 2011 Annual Meeting of "The Sedona Conference® Working Group On Electronic Document Retention & Production," in Austin, Texas, October 6-7, 2011. The meeting addressed the adequacy of State and Federal Rules of Civil Procedure in dealing with the burden and responsibility of retaining electronically stored data both pre and post litigation.
September 25, 2011—Superior Court Judge Slights at American Law Institute Meeting.
Judge Joseph R. Slights III participated in the September 23, 2011 Members Consultative Group Meeting for the American Law Institute's Project to draft a Restatement (Third) Torts: Liability for Economic Harm, held at the ALI headquarters in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This project will focus on torts that involve economic loss, or pecuniary harm not resulting from physical harm or physical contact to a person or property. The project will update coverage of economic torts in Restatement Second, Torts and address some topics not covered in prior Restatements.
July 1, 2011—E-Filing Expanded to Civil Appeals.
All Civil Appeals from Boards, Agencies, Commissions and Courts, including Certioraris, filed with the Prothonotary in any county shall be filed electronically using the LexisNexis File & Serve (now File & ServeXpress™).
June 16, 2011—Superior Court Adopts a Bench-Bar Liaison Program.
The Program was adopted June 2, 2011 and establishes 2 volunteer liaison positions in each county; 1 civil and 1 criminal liaison. The liaisons serve at the pleasure of the Superior Court and act as intermediaries between the Court practitioners and the Resident Judge or appointed Liaison Judge for each county. The liaisons are a point of contact to address issues between practitioners and the Court. Practitioners' communications with the liaisons will remain confidential unless the practitioner agrees otherwise, and communications originating from the Court will be confidential among the practitioners involved.
June 14, 2011—New Kent County Courthouse Opening Celebration Held.
The long anticipated new Kent County Courthouse opening ceremonies were held today. But in reality, the Superior Court officially opened for Court business on June 6 in the newly built Kent County Courthouse at 414 Federal Street in Dover, Delaware. Kent County Superior Court Resident Judge William L. Witham Jr. coordinated and oversaw the courthouse opening ceremony; in attendance at the event were judicial officers, attorneys, government leaders and other dignitaries. Both Superior Court President Judge James T. Vaughn Jr. and Kent County Resident Judge William L. Witham Jr. spoke at the ceremony. Now, the renovation of the historic courthouse has begun; its 14-month renovation, or Phase 2, will complete the project.
May 1, 2011—Complex Civil Litigation Division Panel Expanded.
Effective May 1, President Judge James T. Vaughn Jr. announced that Judge Mary M. Johnston will join the Court's Complex Civil Litigation Division Panel (CCLD).
May 1, 2011—Governor Presents Mental Health Court Excellence Award.
Governor Jack A. Markell presented the Superior Court New Castle County Mental Health Court Team with Excellence Awards. The Mental Health Court Team is the 2010 recipient of the prestigious Governor's Team Excellence Award. The annual award recognizes teamwork to produce superior customer service and tangible results. The team consists of staff from Health & Social Services, Treatment Access Center (TASC), Department of Correction, Probation and Parole, Public Defender, Department of Justice, University of Delaware and Superior Court. "This team has shown exemplary efforts in finding efficiencies and extending better services to Delawareans in need," said Governor Markell. "The team found ways to save money and provide self sufficiency for a special population of people that needed help."
May 16, 2011—Superior Court Expands E-Filing To Civil Appeals.
In 1991 when Delaware became the first state court in the nation to implement electronic filing Superior Court announced that the system would eventually apply to all civil filings. Administrative Directive 2011-4 now expands the use of efiling to all cases filed as civil appeals to take further advantage of electronic filing speed, efficiency, storage and cost savings. Effective July 1, 2011, all Civil Appeals from Boards, Agencies, Commissions and Courts, including Certioraris, filed with the Prothonotary in any county shall be filed electronically using the LexisNexis File & Serve eFiling system provided that a paper copy of the certified record and evidence of the proceedings below must be filed. An electronic copy of those documents is not required. Superior Court has direct experience with eFiling through LexisNexis File & Serve with the speed, efficiency, storage savings and cost savings that electronic filing provides the Court, counsel and litigants.
May 1, 2011—Complex Civil Litigation Division Panel Expanded.
Effective May 1, President Judge James T. Vaughn Jr. announced that Judge Mary M. Johnston will join the Court's Complex Civil Litigation Division Panel (CCLD).
February 18, 2011—Kent County's First Veteran Treatment Court.
Superior Court held the first session of the Diversionary Veteran's Treatment Court. The Veteran's Court involves the Delaware Superior Court, Department of Veteran's Affairs, Department of Justice, Office of Public Defender and the Treatment Access Center. Resident Judge William L. Witham Jr. who oversees the Veteran's Court thanked the project's partners for their dedication in assisting justice-involved veterans. The goal of Veteran's Court is to divert veterans with mental illness who are charged with nonviolent felonies and misdemeanor crimes away from jail and into rehabilitative programs. Veterans in the program must attend regular court status conferences, participate in the development of their treatment plans, and engage in community groups as required. After completion of the program, prosecution for the offense will not proceed and the charges will be dismissed.
February 1, 2011—Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Mediation Program Modified.
Effective February 1, 2011; Administrative Directive 2011-2 replaces the previous Administrative Directive. Superior Court Administrative Directive 2011-2 issued by President Judge James T. Vaughn Jr. made modifications to the joint Court/State residential mortgage foreclosure mediation program, created in September 2009. It doubles the amount of time a homeowner facing foreclosure can enter into the mediation program from 15 to 30 days. The program provides assistance to homeowners and lenders through mediation to negotiate possible alternatives to foreclosure. "The Superior Court continues to fully support the Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Mediation Program," Judge Vaughn said. "When the program was created, we were aware that changes may be needed to improve it. The changes now recommended by the committee do that and the decision to approve them was an easy one for the Court. The program continues to be committed to give homeowners the opportunity to negotiate an alternative to foreclosure, without affecting substantial rights of lenders." According to Community Legal Aid Society, since the program's inception in September 2009 through June 30, 2010, 100 homeowners have qualified for the mediation program. Seven have worked out agreements to avoid losing their homes, while another 18 have reached an agreement outside the program. Another 31 homeowners have agreed to continue the mediation so the parties can collect and exchange additional information. The parties often exchange the information prior to the next mediation and resolve the matter outside the mediation program. Amended Date, Page 7, No. 13: "This First Amended Administrative Directive shall apply to all mortgage foreclosure actions within its scope filed on or after February 1, 2011; actions filed before February 1, 2011 but on or after September 15, 2009 shall be controlled by the original Administrative Directive, 2009-3."
January 5, 2011—Mental Health Court Team Receives Excellence Award.
Superior Court's New Castle County Mental Health Court Team is the 2010 recipient of the Governor's Team Excellence Award. This annual award recognizes teamwork to produce superior customer service and tangible results. Mental Health Court's team consists of employees from the Department of Health and Social Services/Treatment Access Center (TASC), Department of Correction/Office of Probation and Parole, Office of the Public Defender, Department of Justice, University of Delaware and Superior Court. The team developed the first felony mental health court in Delaware using an innovative and comprehensive approach toward treatment and supervision of mentally ill probationers. Through this team's efforts, Delaware saved almost $90,000 and identified new treatment, case management and mental health services for participants in the program. "This team has shown exemplary efforts in finding efficiencies and extending better services to Delawareans in need," said Governor Markell. "The team found ways to save money and provide self sufficiency for a special population of people that needed help."