Superior Court Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2008
In Superior Court this year, Judge Susan Del Pesco retired on May 30, after twenty years of service. She was the State's first female Superior Court judge. To fill this vacancy, John A. Parkins Jr., was sworn in on August 21, 2008.
Previously, on July 24, 2008, Lynne M. Parker was sworn in as a Commissioner. Commissioner Parker filled the vacancy created when Commissioner David A. White resigned to return to private practice.
Statewide for 2008, Superior Court filings totaled 23,240, a one percent increase over last year; dispositions totaled 22,386, a five percent increase. The number of non-first degree murder cases moving through the system within allotted time frames remained consistent. At the end of June this year, forty-six first degree murder cases were pending in Superior Court. Additionally, the Court disposed of 9,390 Violation of Probation cases.
Effective March 1, 2008, Superior Court adopted sweeping changes to its mandatory alternative dispute resolution (ADR) program. Civil Rule 16.1 was repealed. Civil Rule 16 was amended to require mandatory ADR in every civil case, unless expressly excluded by the rule or by the court. The revised rule was implemented as a time-saver by the court. Our core mission to those who file complaints is to give parties a prompt day in court. It is estimated that more than 1,000 additional cases per year will be added to the 4,000 cases that currently proceed through the Superior Court's alternative dispute program.
Judge Jan R. Jurden has been named Superior Court's representative to Delaware's Task Force for the Chief Justices' Criminal Justice/Mental Health Leadership Initiative by President Judge James T. Vaughn Jr. The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center selected Delaware as one of four states to participate in the national project.
The Project's mission is to improve responses to people with mental illness who are involved in the justice system. For Superior Court, the Initiative will build upon our existing pilot Mental Health Court, which Judge Jurden initiated in early 2008 and continues to oversee.
Finally, for the seventh consecutive year, the Superior Court of Delaware has been recognized as the premier court of general jurisdiction in the country by the Harris Poll State Liability Systems Ranking Study. The three counties of the Court are true to its core values, and they are U.N.I.T.E.D. in their mission "to serve the public, in pursuit of justice."
— President Judge James T. Vaughn Jr. —