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State of Delaware

Methods of Judicial Selection: Delaware

Limited Jurisdiction Courts

Family Court
Jurisdiction: domestic relations; juvenile; misdemeanors; moving traffic violations
Selection of Judges: gubernatorial appointment from judicial nominating commission with senate consent*
Retention of Judges: gubernatorial appointment from judicial nominating commission with senate consent*
Qualifications: local resident; state resident 5 yrs; law degree; practiced in state 5 yrs
Justice of the Peace
Jurisdiction: civil cases < $15,000; traffic cases; felony arraignments; non-jury misdemeanors
Selection of Judges: gubernatorial appointment from magistrate screening committee with senate consent
Retention of Judges: reappointed by governor
Qualifications: local and state resident
Court of Common Pleas
Jurisdiction: civil cases < $50,000; appeals from justice of peace and alderman's courts; administrative appeals from DMV; preliminary hearings
Selection of Judges: gubernatorial appointment from judicial nominating commission with senate consent*
Retention of Judges: gubernatorial appointment from judicial nominating commission with senate consent*
Qualifications: local and state resident; law degree; practiced in state 5 yrs; state citizen
Alderman’s Court
Jurisdiction: misdemeanors; traffic offenses; parking violations; minor civil matters
Selection of Judges: appointed by the mayor or the city governing body
Retention of Judges: varies by municipality
Qualifications: varies by municipality
*The Delaware Constitution stipulates that no more than a bare majority of judges on these courts may be members of the same political party.