Connecticut Superior Court
The Connecticut Superior Courts are trial courts in Connecticut.
Civil cases are those between two aggravated parties and fall into five categories:
- Landlord - tenant
- Small claims
- Administrative appeals
- Civil jury
- Civil non-jury (case decided upon by a judge)
The most challenging civil cases are assigned to the Complex Litigation Docket. Cases involving multiple parties, complicated legal arguments or claims for damages that may total hundreds or millions of dollars are typically assigned to this docket. Judges on these dockets commit to serving in the assignment for a minimum of three years. Claims for mass torts, medical malpractice, construction contract or intellectual property disputes, among others, may be suitable for assignment to the Complex Litigation Docket. Judges from the following judicial districts are assigned to the Complex Litigation Docket:
Hartford Judicial District
Stamford Judicial District
- Judge Barbara Brazzel-Massaro
Waterbury Judicial District
Criminal cases are those between individuals accused of breaking the law and the state. The criminal division of Superior Court hears cases on felonies, misdemeanors, violations (punishable by fine only), and infractions (no court appearance necessary).
Family cases consist of juvenile matters, child support and paternity actions, and all other family matters including divorce.
Housing cases are heard by the Superior Court in the Bridgeport, Hartford, New Haven, Stamford-Norwalk and Waterbury judicial districts. Elsewhere, these cases fall under the regular civil docket.
Senior judges, referees and magistrates
In the Connecticut Superior Court, senior judges, judge trial referees, state referees and family support magistrates serve alongside Superior Court judges.
Judges are eligible to retire at age 65 or after serving 20 years as a judge. Judges who retire before reaching the mandatory retirement age of 70 become senior judges. These judges are eligible to serve out the remainder of their terms at the court where they were assigned. A senior judge may be reappointed to succeeding terms until they reach age 70. They have the same powers as a Superior Court judge. When a judge takes senior status, the Governor nominates a successor for their seat on the bench.
The mandatory retirement age for Superior Court judges in Connecticut is age 70. Judge trial referees (also known as state referees) are judges who are 70 years or older. Subject to certain restrictions, a senior judge automatically becomes a state referee upon turning 70. The judge may retain this position until their term as a judge or senior judge expires. Thereafter, the judge is eligible to be reappointed as a state referee for the remainder of his or her life. Judge trial referees and state referees have the power of a judge of the Superior Court on matters referred by the Superior Court.
Senior judges, state referees and judge trial referees earn a $220 per diem, in addition to their pensions.
The Governor appoints family support magistrates for three year terms. Although they are not judges, they do perform some judicial functions. Their duties include hearing paternity, child and spousal support matters.