Connecticut's judicial system has undergone significant streamlining in recent years, with the abolition of municipal courts (1961), the circuit court (1974), the court of common pleas (1978), and the juvenile court (1978), and the creation of an appellate court (1983). Currently, the Connecticut judicial system consists of the supreme court, appellate court, superior court, and probate courts.
The supreme court comprises the chief justice, five associate justices, and two senior associate justices. The high court hears cases on appeal, primarily from the appellate court but also from the superior court in certain special instances, including the review of a death sentence, reapportionment, election disputes, invalidation of a state statute, or censure of a probate judge. Justices of the supreme court, as well as appellate and superior court judges, are nominated by the governor and appointed by the general assembly for eight-year terms.
The superior court, the sole general trial court, has the authority to hear all legal controversies except those over which the probate courts have exclusive jurisdiction. The superior court sits in 12 state judicial districts and is divided into trial divisions for civil, criminal, and family cases. As of 1999, there were 167 superior court trial judges.
Connecticut Presidential Vote by Political Parties, 1948–2000
|YEAR||ELECTORAL VOTE||CONNECTICUT WINNER||DEMOCRAT||REPUBLICAN||PROGRESSIVE||SOCIALIST|
|* Won US presidential election.|
|1968||8||Humphrey (D)||621,561||556,721||AMERICAN IND. 76,660||—|
|1972||8||*Nixon (R)||555,498||810,763||—||AMERICAN 17,239|
|1976||8||Ford (R)||647,895||719,261||7,101||US LABOR 1,789|
|1980||8||*Reagan (R)||541,732||677,210||LIBERTARIAN 8,570||CITIZENS 6,130|
|1984||8||*Reagan (R)||569,597||890,877||CONN-ALLIANCE 1,274||COMMUNIST 4,826|
|1988||8||*Bush (R)||676,584||750,241||LIBERTARIAN 14,071||NEW ALLIANCE 2,491|
|1992||8||*Clinton (D)||682,318||578,313||5,391||IND. (PEROT) 348,771|
|2000||8||Gore (D)||816,015||561,094||GREEN 64,452||REFORM 4,731|
Connecticut has 132 probate courts. These operate on a fee basis, with judges receiving their compensation from fees paid for services rendered by the court. Each probate district has one probate judge, elected for a four-year term.
Connecticut had an inmate population of 18,875 as of June 2001, an increase of 1.4% over the previous year. The state's incarceration rate stood at 384 per 100,000 population. State law provides for the death penalty (by electrocution). There were 21 executions performed between 1930 and 2003, with seven persons were under sentence of death in 2003. The total crime rate in 2001 was 3,117.9 per 100,000 inhabitants, including a total of 11,492 violent crimes and 95,299 property crimes in that year.