Petition of Bernard J. SMYTH. Bernard J. SMYTH, Petitioner,
George K. SHOCKLEY, as Alderman of the City of Dover, Defendant.
Herman C. Brown, Dover, for petitioner, Bernard J. Smyth.
David P. Buckson, Dover, for George K. Shockley, Alderman of the City of Dover.
Section 52 of the City Charter of Dover provides, inter alia:
'The Alderman shall have jurisdiction and cognizance of all breaches of the peace and other offenses committed in the City * * *.'
The same section of the Dover City Charter further provides:
'* * *. Within his jurisdiction as aforesaid, the Alderman shall have all the powers and authority of a Justice of the Peace for Kent County.'
The appointment of the Alderman is authorized by the Dover City Charter. The Charter provides the method for his selection and appointment; neither the Governor of the State of Delaware, nor the Senate of the General Assembly of the State of Delaware has or exercised any power or jurisdiction, [54 Del. 268] or in any way participated in the appointment or confirmation of Mr. Shockley to his office as Alderman.
Title 11 Del.C.1953 § 5502, provides:
'The accused, in all criminal cases where a justice of the peace in Kent County has jurisdiction and power to hear and finally determine the matter, may elect to have the case tried by the Court of Common Pleas for Kent County.'
Title 11 Del.C.1953 § 5901, stresses and further sustains this right of election in an accused as it specifically provides:
'* * * the accused has the right to elect to have the case tried by the Court of Common Pleas * * *. Every justice of the peace and the officer making the arrest shall advise such accused of his right to so elect, and every officer making the arrest and every justice of the peace * * * is required to so advise the accused before the justice of the peace shall have jurisdiction to try the case.'
Title 11 Del.C. § 5904 empowers Justices of the Peace to punish for 'any offense against an authorized ordinance of a city or town.'
There is no doubt as to the jurisdiction of the Court of Common Pleas of Kent County over offenses against an authorized Ordinance of a city or town, if the charges are brought before that Court or before a Justice of the Peace and the accused elects to be tried in the Court of Common Pleas.
George K. Shockley is the duly appointed Alderman of the City of Dover. As such he is, by the Dover City Charter, empowered to hear and determine all breaches of the peace and other offenses embraced within the Ordinances of the City of Dover, including persons charged with being drunk and disorderly on the streets of the City of Dover. Petitioner, Bernard J. Smyth, was arrested by a member of the City [54 Del. 269] Police of ...