Supreme Court

So what is the final stopping place that is the ultimate authority on Delaware law? The Delaware Supreme Court. As the highest court in the state, the Supreme Court has final appellate jurisdiction in criminal matters and civil final judgments from Superior Court, and certain orders from Family Court and the Court of Chancery. The Delaware Supreme Court has quite a reputation. We have mentioned that the Court of Chancery has a worldwide reputation because so many corporations are incorporated here in Delaware. Well, when a corporation is unhappy with a Chancery decision, it is appealed to the Delaware Supreme […]

Superior Court

What happens in Superior Court? Superior Court has statewide original jurisdiction over criminal and civil cases except for equity cases (which is Chancery Court) and domestic relations matters (which is Family Court) For criminal matters, Superior Court has exclusive jurisdiction over all felonies (except those involving juveniles which are heard in Family Court). For civil matters, the court has jurisdiction in cases in value over 50,000. So typically personal injury and medical malpractice cases are handled in the Superior Court. Superior Court also serves as an intermediate appellate court from over 50 administrative agencies, the Court of Common Pleas, and […]

JP Court and Family Court

We want to give everyone a baseline knowledge of the main courts in Delaware and the types of cases that each court hears because almost everyone has to deal with a court at some point in their lives. The main courts in Delaware are the JP courts, Family Court, Court of Common Pleas, Superior Court, Chancery Court and the Supreme Court. Justice of Peace Court JP Court has jurisdiction in civil cases worth 15,000 or less, some criminal misdemeanors, most motor vehicle violations (except felonies) and all landlord/tenant matters. There are no jury trials in JP Court, and you can […]

Court of Common Pleas

So far we have talked about the Justice of the Peace Courts and Family Court. So now let’s talk about the Court of Common Pleas – sometimes called CCP. The Court of Common Pleas has both civil and criminal jurisdiction. In civil cases, cases with an amount in controversy up to 50,000 can be heard. CCP also handles change of name petitions, habitual motor vehicle hearings and appeals from DMV and JP proceedings. In civil matters like these, there are no jury trials. In criminal cases, CCP has jurisdiction over all misdemeanors except certain drug offenses, all criminal motor vehicle offenses, preliminary […]

Court of Chancery

The Court of Chancery has jurisdiction over equity cases. So what is an equity case? It’s a case where the remedy sought is something other than money damages. Things like writs, injunctions, and orders of specific performance. So what kinds of cases are these? Some examples are corporate matters, commercial and contract matters, trusts, estates, and other fiduciary matters, disputes involving the purchase and sale of land, questions of title to real estate, and guardianships. Basically, the Court of Chancery is where you go if you are trying to get someone to do something or to stop doing something.

DRE being used in Delaware DUI Cases

DRE = Drug Recognition Experts There is a new trend in prosecuting drug related DUI cases. That is the Drug Recognition Expert. The State of Delaware is now occasionally using Drug Recognition Experts in DUI cases. As of the writing of this article, it is unclear what Delaware’s approach to Drug Recognition Experts will be. The purpose of a Drug Recognition Expert is to a) determine whether a suspect is impaired b) determine whether the suspect is impaired because of a medical condition or the use of drugs, and c) If impaired because of drugs, what type of drugs are […]

MurrayPhillips P.A.

MurrayPhillips P.A. now serving all of Delaware MurrayPhillips, a Delaware Criminal Defense law firm now serves all of Delaware. Julie Murray and Ron Phillips started their law firm on January 1, 2015. Prior to joining forces, the two lawyers each had their own law firm, Murray Law and The Law Office of Ronald D. Phillips Jr. respectively. While Phillips concentrated his efforts on criminal law and DUI with a little family law, Murray had a general practice that included civil litigation, real estate and Wills and Estates. Phillips has practiced extensively in Kent and Sussex County while Murray focused her […]

Beach Replenishment – From the Guard Chair

Beach Replenishment – Part II, continuation of “Beach Replenishment – A Perspective from an Old Salt”.  http://www.murrayphillipslaw.com/?p=2124  I saw Mrs. S standing on the shoreline staring at the ocean looking quite upset. I became acquainted with Mrs. S nearly 30 years ago as a young lifeguard. She was always very nice to me and we would exchange pleasantries whenever we would see each other on the beach. Over the many summers I spent lifeguarding, I got to know her as she would catch me up every spring on the events of her winter back in the city. As a career […]

The Myth of the Presumption of Innocence

               The Myth of the Presumption of Innocence     The Constitutional principle that everyone is entitled to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt is often misunderstood and is often the subject of conversation with. I often get questioned as to how someone could be charged with a crime for which there appears to be little evidence or why they need to post bail to stay out of jail pending trial if they are presumed innocent. The constitution does not specifically say that an individual is entitled to the […]

Beach Replenishment-A Perspective From an Old Salt

In addition to being a Delaware lawyer, I am also a part-time lifeguard with a career that has spanned 32 summers guarding the Delaware beaches as well as a lifelong surfer. On a recent trip to Rodanthe on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, I had the opportunity to watch as my two youngest children accomplished the milestone of paddling into and surfing their first waves unassisted by Dad. Thereafter, I literally could not get them out of the water the rest of the trip. They caught the surfing bug that first bit me more than 35 years ago. *When […]

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