Delaware Courts to Hold Second “Safe Surrender” Event on November 3rd at the Kent County Courthouse in Dover
The Delaware Judiciary will be hosting its second “Safe Surrender” event of 2023 on Friday, November 3rd from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Kent County Courthouse in Dover to give individuals who have outstanding warrants or capiases a chance to clear their records in a one-stop, day-long event with help from the entire justice system. In May of this year, the Delaware Judiciary held a Safe Surrender event in Wilmington where 449 individuals attended to clear their records and some 575 capiases were cleared. Justice of the Peace Court Chief Magistrate Alan Davis says the event in Wilmington was a great success, so much so they felt it would be worth holding it again, but this time in Kent County. More than a half dozen judges and courtrooms will be set aside in the Kent County Courthouse for the event. Public defenders, prosecutors, police and probation officers will all be on hand to help people clear any pending failure to appear, failure to pay – including child support – or other outstanding warrants quickly and efficiently.
Additional Information from the State of Delaware Administrative Office of the Courts
“Our May event in Wilmington was a great success, so much so we felt it would be worth
holding it again, but this time in Kent County,” said Justice of the Peace Court Chief Magistrate
Alan Davis. “While this is being held in Kent County, to be more convenient to folks in the
Dover area, it is not exclusively for Kent County residents. Anyone who has an outstanding
warrant or capias can attend and get special consideration. As I said in May, and reiterate now,
these events give people a chance to reclaim a part of their lives so they can stop looking over
their shoulder. Judges are not looking to simply inflict punishment. They are looking for
solutions, and events like this give us an opportunity to make that clear.”
More than a half dozen judges and courtrooms will be set aside in the Kent County Courthouse
for the event. Public defenders, prosecutors, police and probation officers will all be on hand to
help people clear any pending failure to appear, failure to pay – including child support – or
other outstanding warrants quickly and efficiently.
Judges will be giving special consideration to those who proactively come forward to clear their
names. This is not an amnesty event, but it is expected that the vast majority of those who
participate will leave the courthouse with their warrants cleared. For example, all those facing a
failure to pay warrant will be directed to a payment center to either pay their debt in full or set up
a payment plan to resolve the warrant. And those wanted for failure to appear will be sent to
appear before a judge and in many cases will then leave the courthouse with a new date and time
to appear. However, cases will still be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, and if a person is facing
a warrant for a violent felony, like homicide, they may be taken into custody. But even in such a
case, this event gives that individual a chance to address their case in a collaborative
environment, not just with the courts, but with the entire justice system.
“I want to commend the Delaware Judiciary for holding events like this where our neighbors can
get a second chance to resolve their legal matters, clear their records and get on with their lives,”
said Sen. Trey Paradee, D-Dover. “I also want to thank my colleague Senator Darius Brown for
playing a key role in getting these safe surrender events underway again after a nearly 15-year
hiatus. This kind of cooperation between Delaware’s legislative and judicial branch for the
betterment of our communities is exactly what we should be doing more of, and I’m thrilled that
we’re bringing this event to Kent County.”
As part of this event, there will be a number of service providers with tables on the Green,
adjacent to the courthouse, to provide assistance to participants including local civic
organizations, churches and state agencies.
Individuals who are participating will be allowed to bring a friend to accompany them during the
process, but due to the volume of people that are expected, and security concerns, participants
will be limited to just one individual with them inside the courthouse. For more information please visit the Judiciary’s Safe Surrender web page: Safe Surrender – Delaware Courts – State of Delaware.