House Bill 134
152nd General Assembly (Present)
Becomes effective upon date of signature of the Governor or upon date specified
AN ACT TO AMEND TITLES 9, 10, 15, 16 AND 29 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO THE DIVISION OF FORENSIC SCIENCE AND THE MEDICAL EXAMINER.
This is a housekeeping bill to remove outdated references to the term “coroner” in the Delaware Code. Created in 1682, the Office of the Coroner was one of the earliest elective offices in Delaware. The primary responsibility of the coroner was to investigate all cases in which a person died while in prison, was killed, died an unnatural death, or the circumstances of the death were unknown. It was also the duty of the coroner to arrest a person believed to have committed murder or manslaughter and to perform the duties of the sheriff when the sheriff was unavailable. The Office of the Coroner was abolished in 1969 and the responsibility for determining the cause of death is now the responsibility of the Medical Examiner. Today, it is outside the Medical Examiner’s scope of employment to perform many of the job duties that coroners were historically expected to do, and this bill clarifies that Medical Examiners are only responsible for investigating causes of death throughout the State under the provisions of Chapter 47 of Title 29, relating to forensic science.