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Delaware Docket Newsletter
Spring 2012


JP Judges
Left to right:
Hon. Vincent Kowal of New Castle County
Hon. Deborah Keenan of Sussex County
Hon. Susan Ufberg of New Castle County

The Justice of the Peace Court is pleased to welcome three new judges to the bench. The Honorable Vincent Kowal, the Honorable Susan Ufberg, and the Honorable Deborah Keenan began their Justice of the Peace Court Basic Legal Education program (BLE) on April 30, 2012. The BLE criminal program, which lasts approximately five weeks, is intended to provide Justices of the Peace with both academic and practical exposure to all aspects of the criminal justice system. The program provides intense training in both a classroom and courtroom setting related to the duties of a Justice of the Peace. Classroom sessions during the criminal BLE module include topics such as criminal law, criminal procedure, warrants, bail setting, civil offenses, evidence, arraignments, sentencing and truancy, among others. New judges also work in tandem with experienced judges in the courtroom and participate in mock trials. New judges also participate in a civil BLE program within 2 years of their start date to prepare them for work on the civil bench at the Justice of the Peace Court. "Our upcoming civil BLE will be held in September of this year and is slated to include classes such as torts, contracts, replevin, landlordÔÇÉtenant law, and decision writing, amongst others," says Jody Huber, staff attorney for the Justice of the Peace Court. Once judges have completed both the criminal and civil BLE modules, they may serve on both benches and rotate on a yearly basis.

"We've added some exciting components to the Basic Legal Education Program this session, including webcasts from the National Judicial College and guest speakers from various state agencies. Our new judges bring varied backgrounds and life experiences to our sessions. It really is a process where we all learn from each other," says Jody Huber, staff attorney at the Justice of the Peace Court and coordinator of the BLE program.