Who heads the
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court is the head of the Judicial
Branch and is responsible for its administration. See Section 51-1b of
the Connecticut General Statutes. The chief court administrator is
responsible for the day-to-day management of the Judicial Branch.
What does the chief court administrator do?
The chief justice appoints the chief court administrator to oversee
the administration of the Judicial Branch. Section 51-5a of the
Connecticut General Statutes outlines the duties and powers of the chief
court administrator, who is assisted by the deputy chief court
The chief court administrator oversees five divisions within the
Administrative Services, Court Support Services, External Affairs, Information Technology, and Superior Court Operations.
An executive director manages each of the five divisions and reports to
the chief court administrator.
What is a chief administrative
judge/administrative judge/presiding judge?
The chief court administrator appoints chief administrative judges to
oversee the following Superior Court divisions: civil, criminal, family and juvenile. Their duties include
working on behalf of and with the chief court administrator on policy
matters affecting their respective areas.
The chief court administrator also appoints administrative judges and
presiding judges. Administrative judges oversee the administrative
operations of the state’s 13 judicial districts. In addition,
each judicial district has an assistant administrative judge.
Presiding judges expedite the fair disposition of court business
within a particular judicial district. They also apportion among judges
the judicial business to which such judge and other judges have been
What is the organization of the courts?
The Supreme Court is the state’s highest court. It reviews decisions
made in the Superior Court to determine if any errors of law have occurred and also reviews selected decisions of the Appellate Court.
The Appellate Court, like the Supreme Court, reviews final decisions
issued by the Superior Court to determine if errors of law have occurred.
State law specifies which types of appeals may be brought directly to
the Supreme Court from the Superior Court, bypassing the Appellate
Court. These cases include decisions where the Superior Court has found
a provision of the state constitution or a state statute invalid, and
convictions of capital felonies.
The Superior Court hears all legal matters except those over which
has exclusive jurisdiction.
How are the Superior Courts structured?
The Superior Court hears
civil, criminal, family and juvenile matters.
13 judicial districts
(JD) in which civil, criminal, family and juvenile matters are heard.
Each “JD” has at least one JD courthouse and one “geographical
area” court, although some judicial districts may have more than one
GA court location. There are 17 GA courts in the state.
Civil jury, civil non-jury, administrative appeals and family matters
generally are heard in a JD courthouse.
courts typically handle all arraignments, regardless of the severity of the crime. Each GA court receives
criminal cases from a specified group of towns. Thus, where an alleged
crime occurs determines in which GA the case will begin.
GA courts handle misdemeanors, felonies, and motor vehicle violations
that require a court appearance. The most serious criminal offenses
(i.e. capital felony, murder) are transferred from a GA to the JD level,
commonly called “Part A.” Statistics for both the JD and GA courts are
For more information about the
courts, please see the
Judicial Branch directory.
What about housing and small claims
Cases involving housing matters (evictions, civil, and criminal jury
and non-jury) are heard in
sessions in the Bridgeport, Hartford, New Britain, New Haven,
Stamford-Norwalk and Waterbury judicial districts. In all other judicial
districts, housing cases are part of the regular civil docket.
Small claims matters also are part of the civil division.
More small claims information.
Who do I contact about Probate Court?
If you have a
question about Probate Court, please contact the Office of the Probate Court
Administrator at (860) 231-2442.
What are special sessions of the Superior
The Superior Court has nine
special sessions: Child Protection Session; the Complex Litigation
Docket; Habeas Docket; Land Use Litigation Docket; Community Court in Hartford;
Domestic Violence Dockets; Housing Session; Regional Family Trial
Docket; and Tax Session.
Where can I find our information about jurors? May I see the juror questionnaire?
- Juror questionnaires are confidential under Section 51-232(c) of
the Connecticut General Statutes.
Who oversees the discipline of lawyers?
Through the inherent authority of the court, the Judicial Branch
oversees attorney discipline through the
Statewide Bar Counsel's Office
Chief Disciplinary Counsel's Office.
Decisions of the Statewide Grievance Committee may be accessed
The grievance process begins when a complaint is filed with the
Statewide Bar Counsel. The Chief Disciplinary Counsel’s Office pursues
those complaints before the Statewide Grievance Committee when there is
a finding of probable cause. The Chief Disciplinary Counsel’s Office
also litigates disciplinary matters in court.
Connecticut Practice Book contains the Rules of Professional Conduct
and the grievance procedure.
attorney's status, including the imposition of public discipline, if any, is
available on the Judicial Branch’s website. Complaints
against an attorney are not public unless and until probable cause is
found to pursue the grievance.
What is the Connecticut Practice Book? How
can I get a copy?
The Judicial Branch’s Commission on Official Legal Publications
publishes the Connecticut Practice Book annually. It contains the Rules
of Professional Conduct for attorneys, the Code of Judicial Conduct, the
Rules for Superior Court, and the Rules of Appellate Procedure.
Practice Book is available on the Judicial
How are the rules in the Connecticut
Practice Book made?
The Rules Committee of the Superior Court, which is composed of
judges and chaired by an associate justice of the Supreme Court, considers proposed changes to the rules of practice and may
If the Rules Committee decides to pursue a proposed change, a public
hearing usually is held at the end of May. After the public hearing, and
if the committee recommends the proposal for adoption, it then goes
before the entire bench for a vote at the judges’ annual meeting. This
meeting usually occurs in June and is open to the public. If the judges
decide that circumstances require adopting a new rule or a rule change
between annual meetings, the procedures in Section 1-9 of the
Practice Book set out the mechanism for doing so.
Does the Judicial Branch oversee probation?
Yes. Adult probation and bail services are part of the Judicial
Court Support Services Division
What is the difference between a probation officer
and a parole officer?
Probation officers work for the Judicial
Branch as part of the Court Support Services Division. Parole officers
are part of the
Department of Correction,
is under the Executive Branch. The responsibilities and authority of probation officers and parole officers also differ.
Are prosecutors and public defenders part
of the Judicial Branch?
Prosecutors are not Judicial Branch employees. They work for the
Division of Criminal Justice,
which is part of the Executive Branch.
The public defenders are part of the Judicial Branch for administrative purposes only. The Public Defender Services Commission is the policy-making body and
appointing authority for the
Public Defender Services. Section 51-289(j) of the Connecticut
General Statutes says that the commission is an “an autonomous body
within the judicial department for fiscal and budgetary purposes only.”
Thus, while the commission is part of the judicial branch, it is
What is the difference between a state
marshal and a judicial marshal?
Judicial marshals are Judicial Branch employees who provide
courthouse security and prisoner transportation. State marshals are independent contractors who serve
civil process and are overseen by the
State Marshal Commission.
Neither the state marshals nor the commission fall under the Judicial
Is the Office of Victim Services the same as the
Office of Victim Advocate?
Office of Victim Services (OVS), which provides compensation and
other services to crime victims, is part of the Judicial Branch.
Court-based victim advocates are part of OVS.
Office of Victim Advocate (OVA) is an independent state agency that
evaluates and monitors how crime victims are treated by the state’s
criminal justice system. The OVA is not part of the Judicial Branch.
What is the Centralized Infractions Bureau?
The Judicial Branch in 1986 centralized the processing of infractions
Centralized Infractions Bureau
(CIB). An infraction is the breaking of a state law, regulation or
ordinance that does not require going to court. Individuals may resolve
the infraction by
paying the amount to the CIB online,
by mail or in person.
Certain violations are payable by mail to the CIB.
How many judges are there?
Under Section 51-165 of the Connecticut General Statutes, the number
of authorized judgeships is 201, including the justices of the Supreme
Court, the judges of the Appellate Court and the judges of the Superior
How does someone become a judge?
Under state law, the
Judicial Selection Commission
seeks and recommends to the governor qualified individuals for
nomination as judges. The governor must choose candidates from the
approved list. The governor then refers his or her nominees to the
General Assembly’s Judiciary Committee for confirmation after a public
hearing. Both chambers of the Legislature must approve the nominees.
If the legislature is not in session when the governor nominates
prospective judges, interim appointments may occur. The prospective
judge or judges appear before the Legislature’s Judiciary Committee at a
public hearing and may be approved by the committee as an interim
appointment. During the next regular session of the General Assembly,
the judge must again appear before the Judiciary Committee at a public
hearing and then be approved by members of the Judiciary Committee, the
House of Representatives and the Senate.
Judges serve eight-year terms; upon expiration of their term, they
may be reappointed. The Judicial Selection Commission, the governor, the
Judiciary Committee and both chambers of the General Assembly must again
approve judges who are up for reappointment.
Does the Judicial Branch oversee the
Judicial Selection Commission?
The Judicial Selection Commission
(860-256-2957) is an independent, non-partisan commission of
lawyers and non-lawyers appointed by the governor and leadership of the General
Assembly to seek and approve qualified applicants for judgeships. The
commission also evaluates incumbent judges who seek reappointment and
forwards to the governor for consideration the names of those judges
recommended for reappointment. The Judicial Selection Commission’s
powers are outlined in Section 51-44a of the Connecticut General
What is the Judicial Review Council?
Judicial Review Council
(860-566-5424) investigates complaints against judges and may
initiate an investigation. Its powers and composition are outlined in
sections 51-51k and 51-51l of the Connecticut General Statutes. The
Judicial Branch does not oversee the Judicial Review Council.
What is a judge trial referee/senior Judge?
Age 70 is the constitutionally mandatory retirement age for Supreme
Court justices, Appellate Court judges and Superior Court judges. Judge
trial referees are judges who are 70 years or older and who have been
designated by the chief justice to hear certain types of cases
prescribed by statute.
Senior judges have retired from full-time active service, but they have not
reached age 70. Senior judges are constitutional officers who have all of the authority that Superior Court judges have.
Who makes judges’ assignments? How often do
The chief court administrator, in consultation with the deputy chief
court administrator, assigns Superior Court judges. These assignments
generally occur annually and typically run from September of one year to
the end of August in the succeeding year. However, reassignments also
may occur during the court year. The Judicial Branch website lists the
assignments of all judges as well as all of the judges at a
particular court location.
How much do judges earn?
Judges' salaries are set by the Legislature and are outlined in
Section 51-47 of the Connecticut General Statutes.
Will a judge comment on a particular case
Rule 2.10 of the Code of Judicial Conduct prohibits a judge or staff
from making any public statement that might reasonably be expected to
affect the outcome or impair the fairness of a matter pending or
impending in any court. The rule specifically allows a judge to make
public statements in the course of official duties, to explain court
procedures and to comment on any proceeding in which the judge is a
litigant in a personal capacity.
What is a magistrate?
A magistrate is a lawyer who is not a judge but who is authorized to
hear and decide certain types of cases, such as motor vehicle/small
What is a Family Support Magistrate?
A federal mandate in 1986 for all states led to the establishment of
the Family Support Magistrate Division of Superior Court.
Family Support Magistrates are not judges but perform some judicial
functions, such as hearing cases involving child support, spousal support and
What is the Committee on Judicial Ethics?
Committee on Judicial Ethics
is appointed by the chief justice to issue formal and informal advisory
opinions to judicial officials regarding their ethical and professional
conduct. Its opinions are based on its interpretation of the Code of
Judicial Conduct, court rules and state statutes. Four of the committee’s
members are judges or judge trial referees, and one of its members is a law
professor specializing in professional ethics. The committee posts its
activities on the
Ethics Committee webpage,
which also includes its annual reports, membership, minutes and agendas, and
policy and rules.
I’m awaiting a ruling from the Connecticut
Supreme or Appellate Court on a case that I’ve been following. How do I check on that?
The best way is to monitor the Judicial Branch website, where you can
advance release rulings
from both the
courts. Advance release opinions are court decisions that are scheduled to be released in advance of their publication in the Connecticut Law Journal. These cases are available on the Advance Release Opinions webpage at approximately 11:30 a.m. The list of cases that will be released on any particular day is posted at 8:30 a.m. on the day of the release.
In addition, slip opinions are court decisions whose effective dates are the same day they are issued. All juvenile court cases are released as slip opinions. When slip opinions are released, they are available at 3 p.m. on the day of the release, and they are included in a list of cases to be released that will be posted at approximately 1 p.m.
When will the Supreme Court or Appellate Court release a
There is no date set for the release of a Supreme Court or Appellate Court opinion. We
recommend that you monitor the Judicial Branch’s website on a regular
basis if you are waiting for a ruling from either the Supreme Court or
I have some questions regarding the Supreme
Court’s opinion or the Appellate Court's opinion and what it means. Can I get an explanation?
Judicial Branch personnel cannot comment on court opinions or explain their implications.
What other information regarding the
Supreme and Appellate courts is available online?
dockets of the Supreme and
courts are accessible through the website. In addition,
information for Supreme and Appellate cases
filed after Jan. 1, 1991, is available online. This information includes
case status, trial court case information, names of the attorneys and
parties, transcript and exhibit information, the due date of briefs and
information about motion, order and transfer activity.
addition, Supreme Court briefs and other documents may be accessed
online through the
Case Look-up section
. Please note that some case information is confidential under Connecticut law, including case information about juveniles and youthful offenders. Information about these cases may not be available on this site.
In addition, cases for relief from physical abuse, foreign protective orders, and other matters that would be likely to publicly reveal the identity or location of a protected party may not be displayed and may be available only at the courts in accordance with the Federal Violence Against Women Act of 2005.
The Supreme Court also makes available on its website, free of charge, audio recordings of oral arguments. Audio recordings are typically available on the website the same day as oral argument.
What information is available online about
Superior Court cases?
Civil, Housing and Small Claims Matters
- If a matter predates mandatory e-filing of cases, then disclosable documents in a civil, housing or small claims case are unavailable through Case-Look up. The documents may be reviewed at the court clerk’s office in the Judicial District where the case is pending.
- When jury selection begins in a civil matter, the public display via the Judicial Branch website is disabled until the jurors are dismissed or the case is disposed. E-filed documents and orders in the case may be viewed at any Judicial District courthouse and at many Geographical Area courthouses during normal business hours.
- Livestreamed civil and housing matters are available here.
- Understanding the display of case information.
- How do I sign up for e-mail notification on civil, family or housing cases?
Further information regarding housing matters is here. Further information regarding small claims matters is here.
Criminal/Motor Vehicle Matters
What is a PSI? Can I get a copy?
PSI stands for presentence investigation. Section 54-91a(a) of the General Statutes says: “No defendant convicted of a crime, other than a capital felony, the punishment for which may include imprisonment for more than a year, may be sentenced, or defendant’s case otherwise disposed of, until a written report of investigation by a probation officer has been presented to and considered by the court, if the defendant is so convicted for the first time in this state; but any court may, in its discretion, order a presentence investigation for a defendant convicted of any crime or offense other than capital felony.”
It is not uncommon for court officials – the judge, prosecutor or public defender, for example – to refer to the PSI during a sentencing. A PSI, however, is not disclosable to the public, pursuant to Section 43-9 of the Connecticut Practice Book.
What information is available regarding investigative grand juries?
Please see Section 54-47e of the General Statutes.
What does the term “court file” mean?
A court file is the official record of the court and includes
documents from a case.
What information may be contained in a
court file pertaining to a criminal or motor vehicle matter?
The contents of a file depend on the nature of the case and the
charges (see Connecticut Practice Book Section 7-13 for more detailed
information). Among other things, the file’s contents may include
the following documents:
executed arrest warrant;
original affidavit in support of probable cause;
summons and complaint;
uniform arrest report (UAR);
information or indictment and any substitute information;
written plea of nolo contendere;
documents relating to programs for:
Youthful Offender (Y.O.)
Accelerated Rehabilitation (A.R.)
Alcohol Education Program (A.E.P.)
Drug Education Program
Family Violence Education Program
Determination of competency to stand trial or suspension of
notice of rights;
orders regarding probation; and
What information is contained in a court
file pertaining to a civil or family matter?
The contents of a civil or family file depend on the nature of the
case and the allegations. The file’s contents may include the following
The complaint, amendments to the complaint, a substituted
complaint or an amended complaint;
Orders of notice, appearances and officers’ returns;
Military or other affidavits;
Cross complaints, third-party complaints and amendments;
Memorandum of decision;
Judgment file or notation of the entry of judgment and all
modifications of judgment; and
Executions issued and returned.
Are records of juvenile matters open to the
Generally, all records of juvenile matters are
confidential in accordance with state law.
What are the rules regarding sealing of
court documents/closing of Superior Court courtrooms?
Please see the
Connecticut Practice Book for these rules: Sec. 11-20, Sec. 11-20A,
Sec. 11-20B, Sec. 25-59, Sec. 25-59A, Sec. 25-59B, Sec. 42-49; Sec.
How do I know when a motion to seal a file
or to close a courtroom has been filed?
A notice of
motions to seal documents and to close proceedings in family, civil
and housing matters is posted on the Judicial Branch website.
For criminal cases, please see sections 42-49(e) and 42-49A(f)(1) of
How long is an arrest affidavit sealed?
Please see Section 36-2(b), (c) and (d) of the
Can I get a copy of the probable-cause
document the judge referred to in court?
Please see Practice Book section 37-12(d) which reads: "Unless the
judicial authority entered an order limiting disclosure of the
affidavits submitted to the Judicial authority in support of a finding
of probable cause, whether or not probable cause have been found, all
such affidavits, including any police reports, shall be made part of the
court file and be open to public inspection and copying..."
Under what circumstances would a clerk’s
office or records center respond that there is no public record of a
The following situations could apply:
nolle more than 13 months old;
dismissal/not guilty/acquittal that occurred more than 20 days
the file is sealed by statute or court order;
defendant granted absolute pardon;
the case involves a juvenile.
Do the state’s Freedom of Information laws
apply to the court?
Under state law, the state’s Freedom of Information
laws apply with respect to the administrative functions of the Judicial
The Connecticut Practice Book and state statutes
govern court access, records and proceedings.
How do I find what time and where a Judicial Branch meeting will occur?
The Judicial Branch's meetings, agendas and minutes
are posted on the
Judicial Branch website.
What are the
rules regarding cameras in Superior Court? PDF
Is there anyone to whom I should submit a camera
Media organizations may e-mail camera requests to
Rhonda.Hebert@jud.ct.gov and they will forward the request to the
Can I bring in my camera cell phone?
Yes, individuals are allowed to bring their camera cell phones into
Judicial Branch facilities. However, they may not use their phone to
take pictures. View a complete listing of rules regarding
electronic devices in the
courts. Also view Section 1-10 of the
Can I use my laptop to take notes during a
Under Practice Book Section 1-10(a), "Personal computers may be used
for note taking in a courtroom. If the judicial authority finds that the
use of computers is disruptive of the court proceeding, it may limit
such use. Other electronic devices in court facilities are subject to
policies promulgated by the chief court administrator." See
The Use and Possession of Electronic Devices in Superior Court
Do the Supreme and Appellate Courts have rules
regarding electronic devices? Yes. Please see Section 70-9 of the
Practice Book, Coverage of Court Proceedings by Cameras and
Electronic Media. You will also want to review: the Protocol for
Broadcasting, Televising, Recording or Photographing Oral Arguments
for both the
Courts; and the
Supreme and Appellate Courts’
Guidelines for Possession and Use of Electronic Devices..
What kinds of cases are handled in Juvenile
Child protection, delinquency, and Family with Service Needs cases
are handled at Connecticut’s 11 juvenile court locations, which are located in Bridgeport, Hartford,
Middletown, New Britain, New Haven, Rockville, Stamford, Torrington,
Waterbury, Waterford and Willimantic.
Child Protection involves cases of
neglect, termination of parental rights and emancipation. These matters
typically involve the filing of an action or a petition at the Superior
Court for Juvenile Matters. Usually the state Department of Children and
Families – the agency responsible for investigating allegations of child
abuse and neglect – files the petition.
Delinquency: A child or youth under age 18 may be convicted as
delinquent if he or she has violated any federal or state law or
municipal or the violation of any order of the Superior Court other than
the commission of certain infractions or violations or a motor vehicle
violation for which a term of imprisonment may be imposed. See
Adult and Juvenile Offenses for 16-year-olds.
In many towns, police may divert a case to a juvenile review board.
These boards generally are limited to misdemeanor cases and situations
where police believe the matter may be resolved with mediation or short-
term intervention. Not every town has such a board.
Family With Service Needs:
Status/non-criminal offenses (that is, runaway, truancy, beyond control)
committed by a juvenile before reaching 18 years of age.
What is the Child Protection Session?
Child Protection Sessions are located in Middletown and Willimantic.
They serve as a statewide juvenile trial court, accepting child
protection cases referred by local juvenile court judges. The referral
criteria include: age of the case, significance of the action
(termination of parental rights is the most important), and complexity
of the case.
What information is available regarding the
Superior Court for Juvenile Matters?
Generally, all records of cases in Juvenile Court are confidential
under Section 46b-124 of the Connecticut General Statutes. The Judicial
Branch may provide general administrative information about Juvenile
Court, for example, the number of cases handled annually, budget, types
of programs, etc. Information also is available on the Judicial Branch
Where can I get basic information about the
role and functions of Juvenile Court?
Sections 46b-120 through 46b-150h of the Connecticut General Statutes
may provide the basic information that you are seeking.
Does the Judicial Branch operate detention
centers for juveniles?
The Judicial Branch operates two juvenile detention
centers, one each in Bridgeport and Hartford. These are pre-trial (cases not
yet adjudicated) facilities.
Contact Rhonda Stearley-Hebert (860) 757-2270,
Contact Alison Chandler (860) 757-2270,