Family Court

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - A House panel is set to consider a bill that could make the workings of Delaware's Family Court system more transparent.

The bill, which passed the state Senate unanimously in June, was scheduled to be discussed Wednesday in the House Judiciary Committee.

The legislation includes recommendations from a task force formed to consider the feasibility of opening more Family Court proceedings, which often are conducted in secret, to the public.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Gov. Jack Markell has nominated a public defender who represents juveniles to be a judge at Family Court.

Markell nominated Natalie J. Haskins on Wednesday, according to a news release from the governor's office. She would fill the vacancy left when Judge Alan Cooper died last month.

Haskins, who lives in Wilmington is a graduate of the University of Delaware and received her law degree from American University. She began her career at a Wilmington law firm and also was deputy attorney general.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - The state Senate has confirmed Gov. Jack Markell's nominations for cabinet secretaries to lead Delaware's education and safety and homeland security departments.

With Wednesday's confirmation votes, former Wilmington public safety director Jim Mosely will succeed retiring Safety and Homeland Security Lewis Schiliro.

Steven Godowsky, a longtime education administrator, will replace Mark Murphy as education secretary.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - The state Senate is set to vote on a bill outlining what proceedings in Delaware's family court system should be open to the public.

Delaware's constitution says all courts shall be open, but many Family Court proceedings are nevertheless closed to the public because of laws passed by the General Assembly.    

Those closed proceedings include hearings involving adoption, termination of parental rights, custody rights and visitation, guardianship, paternity and divorce.    

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - A task force studying the feasibility of opening Family Court civil proceedings in Delaware is putting the final touches on a report to be submitted to lawmakers.

Delaware's constitution says all courts shall be open, but many Family Court proceedings are nevertheless closed to the public because of laws passed by the General Assembly.

Those closed proceedings include hearings involving adoption, termination of parental rights, custody rights and visitation, guardianship, paternity and divorce.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delaware House members are set to vote on a bill revising laws regarding the placement of children in state custody.

The bill to be voted on Thursday strikes a provision in the current law that requires the consent of the Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families for the placement of a child in a non-relative's home.

The legislation would make the children's department's assessment of the proposed placement simply a factor for a Family Court judge to consider.

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WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - Delaware investigators say they are looking at a growing number of cases where drug evidence disappeared or was tampered with at the state drug lab.

The News Journal reports that investigators are now looking at 21 cases and the attorney general's office says the investigation is continuing. Defense attorneys in those cases were being notified Wednesday.

Officials say most of the 21 cases appear to have been closed. They come from all three counties and involve arrests between 2010 and 2013.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delaware's new chief justice is urging caution for lawmakers as they consider whether to open certain Family Court proceedings to the public.

Leo Strine Jr. was asked about an ongoing Family Court reform initiative Monday during a presentation by the judiciary to legislative budget writers.

Strine said the idea of opening Family Court proceedings regarding sensitive issues such as child custody makes him "really uncomfortable."

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Members of a task force studying limitations on public access to Family Court proceedings are recommending that some proceedings currently closed be presumed open to the public.

Panel members voted Tuesday to recommend that divorce, alimony and property division proceedings be presumed open.

They also voted to recommend that child custody and visitation hearings be presumed open, while barring minor children involved from listening to testimony. Task force members also agreed that adoption proceedings should remain closed.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - A task force studying the feasibility of increasing public access to Family Court proceedings in Delaware is continuing its work as a February deadline for submitting a report approaches.

Members of the task force were scheduled to meet in Dover on Tuesday, and again in early December.

The Family Court has jurisdiction over all domestic relations, juvenile delinquency and intra-family misdemeanors.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - A task force established by state lawmakers to study public access to Family Court proceedings in Delaware is getting down to work.

Members of the task force gathering at Legislative Hall on Thursday face a February deadline for reporting on the feasibility of opening Family Court proceedings to the public.

Delaware's constitution says all courts shall be open, but many Family Court proceedings nevertheless take place behind closed doors because of laws passed by the General Assembly.

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WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - State officials are reminding residents that all child support enforcement offices in Delaware will be closed to the public for the rest of the week.

Officials say the offices will be closed from Tuesday through Friday to implement a new computer system.

Customer service will be available by telephone at 302-577-7171, and officials say individuals referred by the Family Court for purge payments will be served at the local offices during this period.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) – The state of Delaware is facing a rash of judicial vacancies over the next months and years.

There are four positions on the Delaware Superior Court bench…one position on the Court of Common Pleas in New Castle County and one vacancy on Family Court in Sussex County will open up.

In the next two years, at least two positions are likely to be available on Superior Court because of retirements.