Connecticut Judicial System and Court System: How Does it Work?
Organization of the courts
The Supreme Court, Appellate Courts, Superior Courts, and Probate Courts form the judicial system in the state of Connecticut. The Chief Justice is the head of the judicial system in the state. The Chief Court Administrator handles all the related administrative matters.
Connecticut Supreme Court
In the state of Connecticut, the highest court is the Supreme Court. It has a Chief Justice and with the CJ are six associate judges. A panel of five judges hears every case. For every critical case, the full seven-judge bench takes up the case.
The Supreme Court usually does not hear witnesses or examine the evidence. It takes decisions based on arguments, and records of the lower courts. The Supreme Court would hear cases that involve capital punishment and also where a law or constitutional provision is invalid.
The Supreme Court may transfer cases from the Appellate Court to itself. It may also review appellate court findings. It can also move its cases to the appellate court.
Connecticut Appellate Court
The Appellate court is the court of appeal, which reviews decisions made in the Superior Courts. There are nine judges in this court. The Chief Justice appoints one of them as the Chief Judge. Three judges hear each case. The entire court may also hear cases sometimes.
The Appellate Court does not hear witnesses or receive fresh evidence. It bases its decisions on the records of the lower courts, and briefs filed by the attorneys and arguments in the court.
Connecticut Superior Court
The Superior Court hears all legal cases, except those related to probate. The state has 13 judicial districts, 20 geographic areas, and 12 juvenile districts. Major cases are heard at the judicial district. There are four divisions in the Superior Court:
- Criminal: This handles all criminal cases. Here the State files a case against a defendant accused of breaking the law.
- Civil: These deal with cases related to individuals. This refers to civil laws, property laws, and personal disputes. A plaintiff (complainant) files a case against a defendant and usually demands damages in terms of money.
- Housing: They deal exclusively with housing cases in Bridgeport, Hartford, New Haven, Stamford-Norwalk, and Waterbury districts. In the other districts, it is tried as a civil case.
- Family: This division deals with family matters like divorce, child custody and also juvenile related matters.
Connecticut Probate Court
This court deals with matters related to wills, trusts, adoptions, etc. There are 54 probate court districts in the state. Probate judges are usually attorneys paid by the state.
Connecticut Federal system
Like in all other states of the country, there are two judicial systems, one is the Connecticut system of justice as per the state Constitution. The other is the Federal system, as per the US Constitution. Federal courts handle issues related to Federal law.
When the Supreme Court of Connecticut gives a decision, it can be appealed to the US Supreme Court if there is any issue related to US Constitutional law.
Connecticut Judicial System Operations
The Chief Court Administrator handles the Administrative operations of the courts. There are various divisions like the Administrative Services Division, Court Support Services Division, Information Technology Division, External Affairs Division, and the Superior Court Operations Division. They handle all administrative matters related to the judicial system.
When it comes to judicial operations, the judges of the courts have full authority to handle all cases, presiding over the cases and award judgment by law.
The Judicial system exists to uphold the laws made by the state of Connecticut.