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Delaware Docket Newsletter
Summer 2014

New Judges Take Office

SUPREME COURTThe Honorable Karen Valihura was sworn in for her first term Karen Valihuraas Justice of the Supreme Court of Delaware on Friday, July 25, 2014. Chief Justice Leo E. Strine, Jr., administered the oath of office and remarks were made by Governor Jack A. Markell and Edward P. Welch, Esquire, head of the Wilmington office of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, LLP.

Prior to her appointment to the Supreme Court, Justice Valihura was a partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, LLP, where she practiced law since 1989. Her practice in complex commercial and corporate issues included federal and state securities fraud claims, mergers and acquisitions, and fiduciary duties of directors. Due to her preeminence in the field, Justice Valihura has been consistently selected for inclusion in Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business and The Best Lawyers in America.

Justice Valihura served on the Advisory Board of the John L. Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance and served two terms on the Supreme Court's Board of Professional Responsibility and five years on the Court's Permanent Ethics Advisory Committee on the Delaware Lawyer Rules of Professional Conduct. Additionally, Justice Valihura served her community as a member of the Board of Directors for the Delaware Special Olympics for eighteen years and as a member of the Delaware Bar Foundation for eight years. Justice Valihura received her undergraduate degree from Washington and Jefferson College in 1985 and her law degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. She was admitted to the Delaware Bar in 1989.

Chancellor Bouchard with other judges on the Court of Chancery,
after being sworn in.

COURT OF CHANCERY—The Court of Chancery sat in special session in the New Castle County Courthouse for the investiture of the Honorable Andre G. Bouchard on May 23, 2014 as Chancellor of the Court of Chancery of Delaware.  Governor Jack A. Markell and United States Senator Thomas R. Carper spoke at the investiture ceremony and Chief Justice Leo E. Strine, Jr., conducted the oath of office.  Bouchard was sworn in as the 22nd Chancellor of the Court during a private ceremony on May 5, 2014.  Chancellor Bouchard received his J.D. from Harvard Law School.  Prior to his appointment, Chancellor Bouchard spent 28 years in private practice and most recently was the managing partner of Bouchard Margules and Friedlander, P.A., a corporate and commercial litigation boutique he founded. 

Judge Ferris W. WhartonSUPERIOR COURTThe Honorable Judge Ferris W. Wharton was sworn in for his first term as Judge of the Superior Court of Delaware on Friday, July 11, 2014. Participants in the ceremony included James T. Vaughn, Jr., President Judge of the Superior Court, who administered the oath of office, members of Judge Wharton's family who assisted with the robing and led the Pledge of Allegiance, as well as Lt. Governor Matthew Denn, State Prosecutor Kathleen Jennings, and Public Defender J. Brendan O'Neill who made remarks.

Judge Wharton served as an Assistant Public Defender from 2007 until his appointment to the Superior Court. Prior to that, he was of counsel to the firm of Fox Rothschild LLP and an Assistant United States Attorney from 2003 to 2006. Judge Wharton served with the Delaware Department of Justice from 1980 to 2003 as Chief Deputy Attorney General, State Prosecutor, Chief Prosecutor for Kent County, Chief Prosecutor for New Castle County, as well as head of the Department's Rape Response Unit, Drug Unit, and Felony Trial Unit. Judge Wharton was also a member of the Board of Bar Examiners from 1991 to 1999, and from 2007 until his appointment to the Bench. He is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. Judge Wharton received his undergraduate degree from the University of Delaware in 1974 and his law degree from the University of Illinois College of Law in 1978.

Family Court Commissioners Join the Bench

Angela FowlerThe Honorable Angela Fowler was sworn in for her first term as Commissioner of the Family Court of Delaware on April 11, 2014. The Honorable Chandlee Johnson Kuhn, Chief Judge of the Family Court, administered the oath of office and Commissioner Fowler's family and friends led the Pledge of Allegiance and assisted with the robing. Before her appointment, Commissioner Fowler served as a Hearing Officer for the Industrial Accident Board since 2009. Prior to that, she was a Deputy Child Advocate for the Office of the Child Advocate for eight years and a Deputy Attorney General. Since 2001, Commissioner Fowler has held the position of Adjunct Professor at Wilmington University. For the past three years, she has also been an Adjunct Instructor at Delaware Technical and Community College.

The Honorable Para K. Wolcott was sworn in for her first term as a Commissioner of the Family Court of Delaware in April 2014. Commissioner Wolcott began her career in the judiciary as a law clerk with Family Court of the State of Delaware (2005-2006). From 2006 until her appointment, the Commissioner worked as Deputy Attorney General with the Department of Justice in the Domestic Violence Unit, the Vehicular Crimes Unit, the Major Crimes Unit of the Criminal Division, and the Misdemeanor Trial Unit. Commissioner Wolcott also represented the Division of Family Services and litigated child abuse, dependency and neglect cases.