Governor Markell Nominates Ferris Wharton to Superior Court of New Castle County

Wilmington, DE – Governor Markell today announced the nomination of Ferris W. Wharton, a veteran of the state and federal Departments of Justice and currently an Assistant Public Defender, to serve on the New Castle County Superior Court. If confirmed by the Delaware Senate, Wharton will fill the vacancy left by Judge Charles H. Toliver IV, who announced last month that he would not seek a third 12-year term. To meet political balance requirements, Judge Toliver’s replacement must be a Republican.

“Throughout his lifelong commitment to public service and strengthening our legal system, Ferris Wharton has demonstrated the integrity and outstanding command of the law that we expect from our judges,” said Governor Markell. “He has excelled as a lawyer on both sides of the courtroom, bringing high-profile criminals to justice and representing suspects who do not have the resources to defend themselves. In every role he has met the high standards to which public officials should be held and I am proud to nominate him to be a member of the finest judiciary in the nation.”

After a brief time in private practice, Wharton became a Deputy Attorney General in 1980. He was involved in successfully prosecuting a wide variety of cases in more than 20 years in that role, including convictions for murder, drug crimes and sexual offenses. He served as head of the state’s Rape Response Unit, Felony Trial Unit and Drug Unit, and rose to the position of Chief Deputy Attorney General.

In 2003, Wharton accepted a position as Assistant United States Attorney, which he held until he ran for State Attorney General in 2006. Following a stint as of counsel at Fox Rothschild LLP, Wharton has spent the last six and a half years as an Assistant Public Defender, representing indigent defendants.

“I am humbled and very appreciative of the confidence the Governor has shown in me by nominating me to this position,” said Wharton. “If I am fortunate enough to be confirmed by the Senate, I will do my best to reward that confidence and to uphold the high standards of Delaware’s judiciary.”

Over the course of his career, Wharton has received numerous honors. He was twice named Deputy Attorney General of the Year and was inducted as a Fellow of the American College of Trial lawyers, a recognition limited to no more than one percent of the total lawyer populations of a state.

Wharton’s commitment to service has extended beyond the courtroom, including on the Board of Managers of the Downtown YMCA in Wilmington, during which time he played a leading role in raising money for the Y’s annual Campaign for Kids. In other volunteer efforts to help less fortunate youth and families, he served on the Board of Directors of Neighborhood House, an 80 year old social service agency in Southbridge, and as an in-school mentor at Martin Luther King Elementary School.

A native of Delaware, Wharton, 61, graduated from Mt. Pleasant High School in 1970 and received a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Delaware in 1974 before earning his law degree at the University of Illinois College of Law and being admitted to the Delaware Bar in 1978. He resides in Wilmington.