DELAWARE DOCKET PROFILE: JUDGE SUSAN C. DEL PESCO
Upon her retirement after twenty years on the Superior Court, Judge Susan C. Del Pesco was recognized for her many professional achievements, including the many “firsts” that she received, including being the first woman president of the bar and the first woman on the Superior Court. But, as she looks back at her time on the bench, the projects she describes as having given her the greatest pleasure are projects, large and small, which preserved tradition, enhanced beauty, and made things better.
One of the special projects she fondly remembers was capturing the memories of the Herrmann Courthouse for future generations. After the courthouse was sold, she realized that its legacy was in danger of being lost. To prevent that, she spent hours, on nights and weekends, working with her son, Nick, a professional photographer, to take interior and exterior photos of the courthouse. At times, this meant squeezing into tight spaces and crawling over glass strewn spaces to get just the right artistic shot of a unique architectural feature. Through all of this, she and Nick were greatly aided by Superior Court bailiff, Evette Hernandez, who devoted many hours of her own time to assist in the project. Judge Del Pesco also arranged to have several courtroom benches and a grandfather’s clock moved to the new courthouse. The benches posed a particular problem, she explains, because they were too large to move in one piece and had to be cut apart and reassembled. They, and the many photographs of the Herrmann Courthouse, now grace the waiting areas in the Superior Court chambers and serve as a daily link to the Court’s history.
Another memory that she cherishes was the planting of a flower garden in the driveway to the judges’ parking lot. Two years ago, she and her secretary, Margaret Greene, along with Judges Mary Johnston and Jan Jurden, purchased plants in an effort to beautify this area. Working on their own, they began planting the area only to discover that it was mainly rock. With the assistance of Facilities Management employees, Michael Turano and Chuck Gilberto, they were able to complete the task and create a beautiful garden for all to enjoy. Since then, Mike and Chuck have taken it upon themselves to continue the new tradition.
Judge Del Pesco is also proud of the work of the Pattern Civil Jury Instructions Committee which she chaired and which developed and distributed the civil jury instructions currently in use. Having standard instructions has saved countless hours in getting cases to juries. With characteristic modesty, she gives the credit for its success to attorney Tom Leff who she says, did the lion’s share of the work on this project.
Most recently, she initiated the Superior Court’s Project Rightful Owner which is an effort to assist persons whose property had been sold at Sheriff’s sale to claim excess funds remaining after all mortgages and liens were paid. She appointed Daniel Kristol, Esq. as Special Master. Working as a volunteer, Kristol, a real property expert, worked with the Judge and Maggie Derrickson to create a web site so that people could find out about the excess proceeds. Sandy Autman and David Desmaris have shouldered the case processing and financial work for over a year. To the satisfaction of all involved, the project has resulted in the distribution of over $1 million since its inception. According to Judge Del Pesco, it has been “particularly gratifying to help those in the difficult situation of having lost their homes to foreclosure to secure the excess funds to which they are entitled.” Judge Herlihy has agreed to step in and continue this worthwhile project.
As Judge Del Pesco moves on to other endeavors, she will be remembered fondly for her cheerfulness and unassuming humanity by all of those with whom she has worked. But, while she will be greatly missed, her many efforts will remain as an enduring reminder of one who sought to make life a bit better in so many ways.
|Honorable Susan C. Del Pesco and her long-time judicial secretary, Marge Green, who came to the Superior Court with Judge Del Pesco from private practice.