The state court of Connecticut follows a three-tire court system
- The Supreme Court of Connecticut as a court of last resort.
- The Appellate court, and
The Superior Courts
- The cases heard in the Supreme Court have first been decided in the Superior Court, which is a trial court where a judge or a jury makes a decision based on conflicting stories from witnesses who describe the history of the controversy.
- The losing party in the Superior Court has the right to one appeal to the appellate court. The Appellate Court of Connecticut is the intermediate court of appeals.
- Appeals come to the Supreme Court in one of two ways:
- A person who is dissatisfied with the judgment of the Appellate Court can ask the Supreme Court to take another look at the legal issues that are at stake, by filing a request that the appeal be certified.
Other appeals come to the Supreme Court as a result of a decision to transfer the case to itself instead of having it be heard in the Appellate Court, or as a result of a law mandating that an appeal must be heard by the Supreme Court.
APPELLATE COURT (INTERMIDIATE COURT)
- Appellate courts hears the appeals and review from the trial courts.
- Appeals or motions for leave to appeal, are generally arise from judgments or orders by the trial Court.
- An appeal from the Judgment and order of the Court may be filed with in 45 days from the date that judgment or order.
If all issues as to all parties are not closed out at trial, the judgment, order or decision is interlocutory in such instances, a motion for leave to appeal may be made, asking the court to consider the matter before it is final.
- The superior courts of the State are courts of first instances.
- The superior courts have the following divisions to deal with different varieties of cases.
- Civil Division
- Criminal Division
- Civil Division hears cases in which someone is being sued to protect civil, personal or property rights.
- It also deal in the typical cases like
- automobile or personal accidents,
- landlord-tenant disputes,
- product or professional liability disputes, and
- disputed contracts
- Landlord-tenant cases and small claims cases are usually heard in geographical area courts.
- Administrative appeals and civil jury and non-jury cases are usually heard in judicial district courthouses.
Tax cases are heard in a special tax session.
The Civil Division is divided into five parts or types:
- Administrative Appeals;
- Civil Jury;
- Civil Non-Jury;
- Landlord-Tenant, including evictions (called summary process);
- Criminal Division hears cases where the state is prosecuting a person (the defendant) who is accused of breaking the law.
- The state is represented by a state's attorney.
- There are three kinds of criminal cases, depending on the severity of the offense:
- crimes which include felonies- punishable by prison sentences more than one year- and misdemeanors- punishable by prison sentences of one year or less;
- violations which include motor vehicle cases punishable by a fine only; and,
infractions where a fine may be paid by mail without requiring a court appearance (for example, traffic tickets). All criminal cases but the most serious ones are heard in geographical area courts around the state.
- Family Division hears cases involving juveniles and family relationships.
- Typical cases include
- child custody,
- child support,
- relief from abuse (temporary restraining orders),
- juvenile delinquency,
- child abuse and neglect, and
- termination of parental rights.
- Juvenile Matters is a special subdivision of Superior Court designed to protect the rights of children, family relationships and confidentiality.
- Cases in juvenile court include:
termination of parental rights;
emancipation of a minor;
delinquency (crimes committed by children under age 16);
neglected or uncared for children and youth; families with service needs (FWSN)
The Probate division has the following jurisdiction:
Trusts and Estates
- probating wills and the administration of estates;
- overseeing testamentary and living trusts;
- determining title to real and personal property; and,
construing the meaning of wills and trusts.
Guardians, Conservators and Civil Commitment
- appointing guardians for persons who are mentally retarded;
- approving sterilizations and placements of persons who are mentally retarded;
- appointing a guardian of the estate or person for a child;
- for persons with mental illness and/or for persons who are incapable of managing or administering their own affairs, appointing conservators of the person and the estate; and,
committing those suffering from severe mental illness to an appropriate facility.
- removing unfit parents as guardians of their children;
- hearing the claims of paternity of unwed fathers;
- terminating the parental rights of parents who cannot fulfill their parental responsibilities; and,
- granting name changes;
- approving or disapproving the marriage of a youth under the age of sixteen years;
- waiving the blood tests required for the issuance of a marriage license; and,
- assisting persons in obtaining passports