Family Court

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delaware's Supreme Court has reversed a judge's ruling allowing a couple supervised visits with their grandchildren, despite the objections of the children's parents.

The court on Tuesday said that the Family Court ruling issued earlier this year amounted to an abuse of discretion.

The Family Court acknowledged that the parents' objections to visitation by the grandparents were not unreasonable, given clear evidence of the grandparents' meddling in the children's lives and their hostility toward the parents.

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WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - A 17-year-old Delaware girl has been sentenced to 6 months in a juvenile facility for a school bathroom attack that left a 16-year-old classmate dead.
The girl was convicted by a Family Court judge in April in the death of Amy Joyner-Francis. On Monday, the judge gave her a 6-month term in a secure, residential treatment program.
A 17-year-old co-defendant who was convicted of conspiracy for helping plan the attack was sentenced to 18 months of probation.

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The Family Court building in Dover was evacuated after a pipe was found at the entrance by a police officer at around 5 p.m. yesterday.  

WBOC reports the pipe was removed by a robot to a secure location and where it was determined not to be an explosive device.

The television station reports that authorities believe the pipe was left outside by someone who did not want to carry it into the building.

Police say they are likely to find out who left the pipe.

No one was injured.

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WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - Three girls charged in a fatal school bathroom fight in Wilmington are going on trial nearly a year after a 16-year-old girl's death.

Attorneys have said the non-jury trial starting Monday in Family Court could last up to two weeks.

A judge ruled last year that a 16-year-old girl facing the most serious charge, criminally negligent homicide, would not be tried as an adult, leaving all three defendants to be tried as juveniles.

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The clock is ticking down for this year’s legislative session in Delaware at the end of June.

The lawmakers are facing a $32 million reduction in funding for capital projects as well as non-profits and charities from the forecast at the beginning of the year.

So they will have to decide which capital improvement projects will get state money that range from construction to infrastructure.

Under the Grand-in-Aid legislation they must choose which charities and non-profits will get funding from the Grant-in-Aid bill.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - House lawmakers have unanimously approved a bill limiting the use of leg shackles on defendants in Family Court juvenile delinquency proceedings.

Lawmakers approved the bill Wednesday only after adding an amendment delaying its implementation until money is appropriated for more courthouse security.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delaware lawmakers are eyeing changes regarding the use of leg shackles on defendants in Family Court juvenile delinquency proceedings.

Supporters of the bill say mandatory or routine use of shackles can be demeaning and cause psychological harm to a child. They argue that restraints should be used only when are there no less restrictive alternatives to prevent flight or physical harm to the child or to others. They say there should not be an automatic presumption that shackles are needed.


DOVER, Del. (AP) - Two 16-year-old girls charged with conspiracy in a Delaware high school restroom assault that left another girl dead have waived arraignment and are now scheduled for trial.
The two girls, charged in an April 21 altercation at Wilmington's Howard High School of Technology that resulted in the death of 16-year-old Amy Joyner-Francis, had been scheduled to appear Thursday morning in Family Court in Wilmington. Their trials are scheduled for June 15.

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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.