Welcome to the Superior Court of Delaware!
During this fiscal year the Honorable Richard R. Cooch was appointed Resident Judge in New Castle County as the successor of Resident Judge Vincent A. Bifferato and the Honorable T. Henley Graves was appointed Resident Judge in Sussex County to succeed Resident Judge William Swain Lee. The Honorable E. Scott Bradley was appointed to fill the vacancy in Sussex County.
The Superior Court continues to apply a best commercial practices and customer service approach to improve our performance. This year we launched a comprehensive website which provides helpful information to the legal community and the public. Some examples of the information provided: Our history, information on e-litigation, our nationally known Drug Court, juror orientation, court calendars, case management plans, job postings, rules, forms, a self-help center, and victim information. Our website was featured in the national e-magazine Civil.com.
To provide for the safety and security of all visitors, we completed the transition to a single public entrance in each courthouse. Each public entrance is staffed by security personnel who screen for weapons.
The Court's nationwide reputation as a problem-solving innovator was recognized again when it was selected by the U.S. Department of Justice as one of nine pilot sites in the country to test the concept of Re-entry Courts. Re-entry Courts focus on the need to create accountability systems and support networks for returning offenders to increase the chances of successful reintegration into their communities. We are testing two approaches to Re-entry: One targets returning domestic violence offenders in Sussex County and the other deals with the general population of returning offenders in New Castle County.
The Court implemented the far-reaching Automated Sentence Order Project (ASOP). The ASOP is designed to support Delaware's sentencing process by standardizing the format of sentence orders, accelerate the transmission of sentencing information to the criminal history database and to other criminal justice agencies, support the judicial decision-making process, allow for data entry and sentence order generation in the courtroom, and cutting back on the use of paper by sending realtime electronic court orders to the Department of Correction.
The Court continued its efforts to improve the overall effectiveness of the criminal justice system by interagency collaboration. We are now conducting Contempt Hearings in welfare fraud cases where the defendant has failed to make restitution payments to the State. Working in cooperation with the Division of Audit and Recovery of the Department of Health and Social Services, these Contempt Hearings have been expanded.
The Court expanded its initiatives to improve the collection rate of unpaid Court assessments. Court staff are serving as faculty at the training academy for new Probation and Parole Officers. We also provide training in the use of the courts' case management system to Records Office personnel at Gander Hill prison. We started accepting payments to the Court by credit cards in Kent County to make the collection process more efficient and to speed up the return of restitution funds to victims of crime.
Finally, we refined our vision, mission and core values through the collaborative efforts of Superior Court Judges and Staff from across Delaware. Our vision is to be the Superior Court with the most Superior Service in the nation. Our mission is to provide Superior Service to the public in pursuit of justice. We have agreed that our core values as an organization are UNITED which stands for unity, neutrality, integrity, timeliness, equality and dedication. We are committed to building on the quality of justice and public service for which the Superior Court of Delaware is well known here and across the nation.
— President Judge Ridgely —