Connecticut Criminal Court Records
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What are Connecticut Criminal Court Records?
Connecticut criminal court records refer to all official information generated and documented during criminal court proceedings. This information includes, but is not limited to, pleadings, trial testimonies, exhibits, and orders. In accordance with the Connecticut Freedom of Information Act, members of the public can request and/or inspect these records except where otherwise stated by statutory law.
Understanding the Connecticut Criminal Court System
The Connecticut state court system consists of a Supreme Court, an Appellate Court, Superior Courts, and Probate Courts. The Superior Courts are further divided into Criminal, Civil and Family Divisions. The state of Connecticut judicial branch is explained in detail as follows:
The Supreme court hears appeals from cases either already heard in the appellate court or transferred directly from the superior courts. It consists of 7 justices who sit in panels of 5 when hearing appeals. However, the chief justice may instruct the court to sit as a panel of 7 when hearing important cases. The Supreme Court also exercises exclusive jurisdiction in certain matters which are determined by the state’s constitution. This includes, but is not limited, to cases involving the death penalty. The Connecticut State Supreme Court reaches its decisions by reviewing the procedures and decisions of the lesser courts. During this court’s proceedings, no new witness testimony is introduced, however arguments from lawyers for each party are heard, after which the case is taken under advisement and a judgment issued within a few months by the court. The Supreme Court is the state’s highest court and the chief justice is the head of the state of Connecticut judicial branch.
The Connecticut Appellate Court consists of 9 justices who generally sit in panels of 3 and hear appeals from superior courts with the aim of determining if errors of law may have been committed. Similar to the supreme court, no new testimony is introduced during this court’s proceedings and decisions are reached by reviewing the briefs, records and oral arguments presented by lawyers for both parties.
The state of Connecticut's judicial branch is divided into 13 judicial districts, 20 geographical areas, and 12 juvenile districts, and has Superior Courts spread out across it. These courts are the state’s courts of general jurisdiction and are responsible for hearing all criminal and civil cases, excluding the cases under the jurisdiction of the probate courts. The Superior Courts are further subdivided into:
- Criminal Division: This division hears cases in which the accused party is being prosecuted by the state of Connecticut for alleged criminal offenses. In the state of Connecticut judicial branch, criminal offenses typically refer to misdemeanors and felonies which are punishable by a maximum of 1 year’s imprisonment for misdemeanors and a minimum of a 1 year’s imprisonment for felonies, violations which are punishable by a fine only and infractions which can be settled by fines without requiring the offending party to appear in court.
- Civil Division: This division hears all civil matters filed in the Superior Courts. These cases typically involve a monetary settlement and may be decided by either a judge, a jury or a non-judicial officer.
- Family Division: This division hears cases that involve family relationships and juvenile matters. Juvenile matters fall under a special subdivision of this court that was specifically created to protect the rights of children as well as maintain the confidentiality of all juvenile cases.
Typically, major criminal, civil and family cases are heard at the judicial district court locations, juvenile matters are heard at the juvenile district court locations while other criminal matters and civil matters are heard at the geographical area court locations.
Probate Courts have jurisdiction over all probate matters. These include, but are not limited to, cases that involve testamentary trusts, estates of minors and deceased persons and guardianship cases.
What’s included in a Connecticut Criminal Court Record?
Criminal court records in the state of Connecticut judicial branch typically contain similar information. The information readily available in these records may however vary depending on the type case as well as the criminal charges. Typically, a Connecticut criminal court record may contain the following information:
- Notice of rights
- Infraction/violation complaint
- Executed arrest warrant
- Summons and complaint
- A written plea of nolo contendere
- Uniform arrest report
- Original affidavit in support of the probable cause
- Orders regarding probation
- Judgment mittimus
Obtaining Connecticut Criminal Court Records
Pursuant to the Connecticut Freedom of Information Act, members of the public have the right to request public records from the state of Connecticut judicial branch. Interested parties who wish to inspect and/or obtain copies of criminal court records may do by any of the following means:
- Inspecting and/or obtaining records in-person
- Sending verbal and/or written requests to the appropriate record custodian
- Accessing records online
How Do I Access Connecticut Criminal Court Records in Person?
This method of accessing criminal court records in the state of Connecticut is recommended for requesters who wish to access specific case information. To obtain these records in person, interested parties may wish to proceed through the following steps:
Identify The Right Court
The criminal division of the superior courts generally handles all criminal cases for the state of Connecticut. As stated earlier, these superior courts are spread out across 13 judicial districts, 20 geographical areas, and 12 juvenile district locations. Therefore, the first step for interested parties who wish to access criminal court records in person is identifying the particular court where the case in question was filed. Directions to and contact information for the courthouses in all these locations can be gleaned from an online courthouse directory which is maintained and updated by the state of Connecticut judicial branch as a means of aiding members of the public with this step.
Gather Case Information
After the right court has been located, parties who wish to access criminal court records will be required to provide the record custodian with any relevant information necessary to facilitate a records search. This information usually includes the case name and case docket number. Interested parties may access and obtain case docket numbers online by utilizing the Case Look-Up function provided by the state of Connecticut's judicial branch.
Visit the Court Record Custodian
Criminal court records for the state of Connecticut judicial branch are typically maintained by the clerk of court for each courthouse. Interested parties who wish to access these records in person should visit the office of the clerk at the courthouse where the case was filed. Contact details for the Connecticut clerks of court can be found in the online courthouse directory provided in the ‘Identify the Right Court’ segment above.
Provide Identification and Pay Any Required Fees
In accordance with state law, interested parties who wish to obtain copies of criminal court records may be required to provide a government-issued photo ID and may be charged a fee before obtaining these records. The fee typically depends on the number of copies and the storage medium of the records being requested by the interested party.
How Do I Find Connecticut Criminal Court Records by Mail?
Members of the public who wish to obtain copies of criminal court records through this method are advised to first establish that this option is available at the court where the records are domiciled. This can be done by contacting the clerk of court at the appropriate court. The process for obtaining court records via mail generally involves a written request for these documents sent to the record custodian. This request should contain as many details of the criminal court case as possible, as well as details of the requestor. When sending the request, interested parties should also include any required payment (usually money orders or checks made out to the office of the record custodian) and a self-addressed envelope.
How Do I Obtain Copies of Disposed Superior Court Records in Connecticut?
Interested parties who wish to obtain copies of disposed of superior court records are required to send all requests via email to the superior court's records center. Parties may also direct queries to the centralized services unit of the superior court at (860) 263-2750. These requests should include the case name and docket number of the case. Once a request has been sent, record(s) availability, as well as any additional requirements would be relayed directly to the requestor. Once feedback has been gotten as to the availability, these records may be picked up in person at any superior court locations in the state of Connecticut judicial branch or the superior court centralized services unit located at
225 Spring Street,
Wethersfield, CT 06109
These records can also be obtained by e-mail, either via the email address through which the request was made, or any other e-mail address specifically indicated in the request. Obtaining copies of disposed superior court records via email is usually free, However, limitations may occur depending on the size of the files being requested. Parties who wish to pick up these records in person may be required to pay any applicable fees.
How to Find Connecticut Criminal Court Records Online?
The state of Connecticut's judicial branch provides interested parties with online access to some criminal court records through its Case Look-Up portal. Through this database, interested parties can search for, and view criminal records via a number of categories such as daily dockets, convictions, and pending cases. It should be noted that this portal does not provide any information on youthful offenders and juvenile cases. Also, infractions and violation convictions are not displayed.
Additionally, publicly available records may be accessible from some third-party websites.* These websites offer the benefit of not being limited by geographical record availability and can often serve as a starting point when researching a specific or multiple records. To find a record using the search engines on these sites, interested parties must provide:
- The name of someone involved providing it is a not a juvenile
- The assumed location of the record in question such as a city, county, or state name
*Third-party sites are not government-sponsored websites, and record availability may differ from official channels.
Are all Connecticut Criminal Court Records Public?
Not all criminal court records are public. Connecticut criminal court records may be requested for, inspected and/or copied by any member of the public except where specifically exempted by statutory law. According to the Connecticut Freedom of Information Act, public records are defined as any recorded data or information, regardless of its documentary medium, prepared, owned, used, received or retained by a public agency in relation to the conduct of public business.
How do I find Connecticut Public Records for Free?
Interested parties may access Connecticut public records free of charge by utilizing a number of online tools and databases provided by the state, such as the state of Connecticut judicial branch Case Look-Up database. In addition to this, interested parties may also access certain public records for free by contacting the appropriate record custodian. It should be noted that even though some public records may be accessed for free, obtaining copies of those records generally involves the payment of a fee.
Can I Access Sealed Connecticut Criminal Court Records?
Sealed criminal court records in the state of Connecticut can only be accessed by authorized parties. These parties include, but are not limited to, officers of the court and certain law enforcement officials. Members of the public who wish to access sealed criminal court records may only do so by obtaining a court order authorizing the unsealing of the record.
Are all Juvenile Criminal Court Records open to the Public?
According to Connecticut General Statute Title 46b Chapter 815t, all juvenile court records are considered confidential, and thus not open to inspection by members of the public. However, in cases involving a delinquent act committed by the juvenile, these records may be made public to the victim.
What Records are Automatically Sealed by Connecticut Statute?
The state of Connecticut judicial branch automatically seals all records which contain communication between the following parties:
- Psychiatrist and/or psychologist and patient
- Physician, surgeon or healthcare provider and patient
- Social worker and the party consulting the social worker.
- Judicial branch employee and an employee assistance program counselor
- Battered women and/or sexual assault counselor and victim
- Family and marital therapist and party consulting said therapist
Are Trial Transcripts Open to the Public?
Trial transcripts are public records and thus open to members of the public. However, transcripts of juvenile court proceedings and closed hearings are considered confidential and may only be obtained by authorized parties. Interested parties who wish to obtain copies of trial transcripts are required to submit a written request to the office of the court reporter at the judicial district where the case was heard. This request should include the name, address and telephone number of the requestor, the case name and case docket number, the name of the judge that presided over the case, the location where the case was heard as well as the date it was heard and a brief description of the proceeding being requested. If the requestor requires a transcript of only a section of the proceeding, then a brief description of that particular section should be included. In addition to this, interested parties who wish to be provided with a projected delivery date and/or cost estimate for the record before the request is fully processed should indicate their interest in the request letter.