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Housing Court Information Now on Judicial Branch Website

The public may now access information from Housing Courts through the Judicial Branch's website, at http://www.jud2.ct.gov/housing/.

Data includes information from summary process eviction cases only, and initially, case data will be available from the Hartford and New Britain Housing Sessions only. But as Housing Sessions in New Haven, Waterbury, Bridgeport, and Norwalk go online with the ForeCourt Computer Project, their case data will become available on the Internet.

Housing Session case information may be searched by: docket number, party name, premise address, court calendar, attorney case list, attorney calendar, and attorney search. The case information went on line this month.

"It is expected that the Housing Session summary process lookup will be a big time saver for attorneys and pro se litigants, who will be able to use the web self-service style, looking up their case data without a trip or telephone call to the clerk's office," said Jeffrey S. Hammer, Deputy Chief Clerk for Housing Matters in Hartford.

Hammer added: "The clerk's offices will benefit as well with less informational calls and more focused requests for information. The frequently asked questions -- such as `What is my docket number?' and 'Did my motion for default for failure to appear enter?' or 'When is my hearing' -- will be answered quickly through the web."

Chief Court Administrator Joseph H. Pellegrino said that putting housing information on the web is another way to make the Judicial Branch more accessible to the people it serves.

"The Judicial Branch is committed to providing this type of information in the best way possible -- through the Internet, which reaches millions of individuals on any given day," Judge Pellegrino said. "In addition, such a service provides our court clerks with more time to handle matters that aren't as easily answered."

The Information Age, along with the success of the Judicial Branch's Civil and Family Case Lookup, prompted the Judicial Branch to consider requests from attorneys and pro se litigants for a Housing Session Internet lookup. This latest development is an offshoot of the Judicial Branch's ForeCourt Computer Project, which started in March 1997 as an effort to computerize the Housing Court's summary process eviction cases with specialized software.

In January 2001 Hartford's Housing Session collected information from calls it received. During a one-week period, the Housing Session received almost 1,000 phone calls -- 68 percent of which would have been assisted by the eviction case lookup.

Branch officials met in June 2001 to explore the potential of putting eviction data on the website. As a result, Joseph D. D'Alesio, Executive Director of Superior Court Operations, authorized the project through the efforts of the Branch's Judicial Information Systems and Robert Gorman of Relational Semantics Inc., whom the Branch hired to develop the software.

A committee oversaw the project. Members included: Chair Melissa Farley, Executive Director of the Judicial Branch's External Affairs Division; Norman Ross, Manager of the Branch's Computer Systems Support; Elizabeth Bickley, Deputy Director of Judicial Information Systems, Applications, Development & Support; Don Turnbull, Manager of Web Application, Judicial Information Systems; Suzanne Colasanto, Chief Clerk for Housing Matters, Hammer, and Gorman.

"This core group of individuals channeled their energy into proposing what should be included on the Web," Hammer said. "Mr. Gorman did a wonderful job as software engineer in taking the ideas and translating them into the finished project. The Judicial Information Systems did a superb job in creating a backbone for the web presence, overseeing the nightly downloads of data."

So far the response has been very positive.

"It's really a lot more convenient than calling the clerk's office," Attorney David Pels of Greater Hartford Legal Assistance said. "It saves us time in looking up the status of cases and obtaining calendars."

To access the Housing Session information, go to the Judicial Branch's website at

https://www.jud.ct.gov and click on "Case Look-Up Housing."

For information, please contact Melissa Farley, Executive Director of the External Affairs Division, at 860-757-2270.


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