Connecticut Court’s System consists of a Supreme Court, which is the highest court in the state, then an Appellate Court which is their court of appeals, then a Superior Court and Probate Court. The Supreme Court has one Chief Justice and six associate justices. Both the Supreme and Appellate Courts review decisions made by the lower courts and do not hold trials. The Supreme Court works from a panel of five members, and the Appellate court uses a 3-member panel to make decisions.
The Superior Courts are trial courts for the state and where most cases are held. The state is divided up into 13 judicial districts along with 20 geographical areas with 12 juvenile districts as well. Superior Courts are divided up into four divisions: civil, criminal, housing and family. Each has its own jurisdiction over types of cases and specific goals for resolution.
For the last year calculated, Connecticut took on 49,304 new civil cases and disposed of 54,874. The state also processed 84,899 criminal filings and 144,936 motor vehicle filings for that same year. In addition to regular court cases, Connecticut saw 45,604 new filings for small claims and disposed of 54,749.
Connecticut offers case lookups to the general public, but not all records are available. Juvenile records are removed from public view. Additionally, sealed or partially sealed records will not be open to the public. The only time sealed records will be disclosed is after the sealing order expires. The types of files that are automatically sealed are psychologist and psychiatrist records, domestic or sexual abuse victim’s information, judicial branch employee records, medical records, marital therapy records, and social worker records. The federal government also dictates that some information cannot be made public such as social security numbers and bank accounts.
The Connecticut Judicial Branch offers electronic filing for both self-represented individuals and attorneys. This service is available for appellate, family, housing, civil and small claims cases. Only registered users may use the system. The court clerk’s office sets up registration accounts for e-filing. The Judicial Branch has an extensive website with lots of information on how to file various types of forms for different types of cases. Motions, briefs, objections and other documents can always be filed in person with the clerk of the courthouse where the case will be heard.
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In 2012, the Connecticut courts received 763,239 filings. In 2016, the number of filings decreased by 9.2% and counted 693,010 filings and had 491,320 outgoing cases
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Domestic relations caseload of Connecticut at year end of 2016 has increased by 32.5% compared to the last 5 years.
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The number of criminal cases in Connecticut courts counts to 109,848, with 21,217 felony cases and 88,631 misdemeanors accordingly.
|Year||Criminal Caseload||Misdemeanor Caseload||Felony Caseload|
Connecticut’s Superior Court is where all trial cases take place except those involving probate matters. Connecticut’s Superior Court system is divided into 13 jurisdictional districts, 20 geographical areas, and 12 juvenile districts. For the most part, criminal and civil cases along with domestic relations matters are heard in district court locations. Other types of criminal and civil cases are resolved in geographical area courthouses, and juvenile districts have jurisdiction over cases involving minors. The Superior Court is split into four divisions: criminal, civil, housing and family. Each division specializes in cases of their area of expertise.
Connecticut also has stand-alone Probate Courts. These courts have jurisdiction over matters of probate including deceased person’s property, adoptions, testamentary trusts, conservatorships, guardianship of minors, the management of estates belonging to children along with the commitment of mentally ill adults to care facilities. Probate Courts have one judge that is elected by the public for a four-year term. Judges must be attorneys to qualify. There are 54 Probate Court districts within the state and six Regional Children’s Probate Courts in Connecticut. Probate Courts take place in municipal buildings such as town or city halls.