Substitute House Bill No. 6586

Public Act No. 01-203

AN ACT CONCERNING JUDGE TRIAL REFEREES.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 52-434 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) (1) Each judge of the Supreme Court, each judge of the Appellate Court, each judge of the Superior Court and each judge of the Court of Common Pleas who ceases or has ceased to hold office because of retirement other than under the provisions of section 51-49 and who is an elector and a resident of this state shall be a state referee for the remainder of [his] such judge's term of office as a judge and shall be eligible for appointment as a state referee during the remainder of [his] such judge's life in the manner prescribed by law for the appointment of a judge of the court of which [he] such judge is a member. The Superior Court may refer any civil, nonjury case or with the written consent of the parties or their attorneys, any civil jury case pending before the court in which the issues have been closed to a judge trial referee who shall have and exercise the powers of the Superior Court in respect to trial, judgment and appeal in the case, and any proceeding resulting from a demand for a trial de novo pursuant to subsection (e) of section 52-549z, as amended by this act, may be referred without the consent of the parties to a judge trial referee who has been specifically designated to hear such proceedings pursuant to subsection (b) of this section. The Superior Court may, with the consent of the parties or their attorneys, refer any criminal case to a judge trial referee who shall have and exercise the powers of the Superior Court in respect to trial, judgment, sentencing and appeal in the case, except that the Superior Court may, without the consent of the parties or their attorneys, (A) refer any criminal case, other than a criminal jury trial, to a judge trial referee assigned to a geographical area criminal court session, and (B) refer any criminal case, other than a class A or B felony or capital felony, to a judge trial referee to preside over the jury selection process and any voir dire examination conducted in such case, unless good cause is shown not to refer.

(2) Each judge of the Circuit Court who has ceased to hold office because of retirement other than under the provisions of section 51-49 and who is an elector and a resident of this state shall be a state referee for the remainder of [his] such judge's term of office as a judge and shall be eligible for appointment as a state referee during the remainder of [his] such judge's life in the manner prescribed by law for the appointment of a judge of the court of which [he] such judge is a member, to whom the Superior Court may, with the written consent of the parties or their attorneys, refer any case pending in court in which the issues have been closed and which the judges of the Superior Court may establish by rule to be the kind of case which may be heard by such referees who have been appointed judge trial referees pursuant to subsection (b) of this section. The judge trial referee shall hear any such case so referred and report the facts to the court by which the case was referred.

(3) Each judge of the Juvenile Court who ceases or has ceased to hold office because of retirement other than under the provisions of section 51-49 and who is an elector and a resident of this state shall be a state referee for the remainder of [his] such judge's term of office as a judge and shall be eligible for appointment as a state referee during the remainder of [his] such judge's life in the manner prescribed by law for the appointment of a judge of the court of which [he] such judge is a member, to whom a judge before whom any juvenile matter is pending may, with the written consent of the child concerned, either of [his] such child's parents, or [his] such child's guardian or [his] attorney, refer any juvenile matter pending, provided such referee has been appointed a judge trial referee specifically designated to hear juvenile cases pursuant to subsection (b) of this section. The judge trial referee shall hear any matter so referred and report the facts to the court for the district from which the matter was referred.

(4) In addition to the judge trial referees who are appointed pursuant to subdivision (1), (2) or (3) of this subsection, the Chief Justice may appoint, from qualified members of the bar of the state, who are electors and residents of this state, as many state referees as [he] the Chief Justice may from time to time deem advisable or necessary. No appointment of a member of the bar may be for a term of more than three years. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (f) of this section, state referees appointed by the Chief Justice from members of the bar shall receive such reasonable compensation and expenses as may be determined by the Chief Justice. The Superior Court may appoint a state referee pursuant to this subdivision to take such evidence as it directs in any civil, nonjury case including, but not limited to, appeals under section 8-8. Any such state referee shall report on such evidence to the court with any findings of fact. The report shall constitute a part of the proceeding upon which the determination of the court shall be made.

(b) The Chief Justice may designate, from among the state referees, judge trial referees to whom criminal and civil cases and juvenile matters may be referred. Criminal cases and civil cases of an adversary nature shall be referred only to state referees who are designated as judge trial referees, and proceedings resulting from a demand for a trial de novo pursuant to subsection (e) of section 52-549z, as amended by this act, shall be referred only to judge trial referees who are specifically designated to hear such proceedings. On or before October first of each year, the Chief Court Administrator shall publish the list of the judge trial referees specifically designated to hear such proceedings. Juvenile matters shall be referred only to judge trial referees who are specifically designated to hear juvenile cases. No [such] designation pursuant to this subsection may be for a term of more than one year.

(c) Each hearing by a judge trial referee shall be held in a suitable room, to be provided by the Office of the Chief Court Administrator, in a courthouse in the judicial district where the case is pending unless the parties or their attorneys stipulate in writing that the hearing may be held elsewhere.

(d) Each judge trial referee may have the attendance of a judicial marshal at any hearing before [him] such trial referee. The judicial marshal shall receive the same compensation provided for attendance at regular sessions of the court from which the case was referred and such compensation shall be taxed by the state referee in the same manner as similar costs are taxed by the judges of the court.

(e) Each judge trial referee may compel the attendance of any witness summoned to appear before [him] such trial referee at any hearing, in the same manner as the attendance of any witness may be compelled in the Superior Court, and may punish for any act of contempt committed in [his] such trial referee's presence while engaged in the hearing in the same manner and to the same extent as judges of the Superior Court.

(f) (1) On and after October 1, 1997, each judge trial referee shall receive, for acting as a referee or as a single auditor or committee of any court or for performing duties assigned by the Chief Court Administrator with the approval of the Chief Justice, in addition to the retirement salary, the sum of one hundred seventy dollars and expenses, including mileage, for each day a state referee is so engaged, said sums to be taxed by the court making the reference in the same manner as other court expenses.

(2) On and after October 1, 1998, each judge trial referee shall receive, for acting as a referee or as a single auditor or committee of any court or for performing duties assigned by the Chief Court Administrator with the approval of the Chief Justice, in addition to the retirement salary, the sum of one hundred seventy-five dollars and expenses, including mileage, for each day a state referee is so engaged, said sums to be taxed by the court making the reference in the same manner as other court expenses.

(3) On and after July 1, 1999, each judge trial referee shall receive, for acting as a referee or as a single auditor or committee of any court or for performing duties assigned by the Chief Court Administrator with the approval of the Chief Justice, in addition to the retirement salary, the sum of two hundred dollars and expenses, including mileage, for each day a state referee is so engaged, said sums to be taxed by the court making the reference in the same manner as other court expenses.

(g) A judge trial referee may participate in an alternative dispute resolution program approved by STA-FED ADR, Inc. in any year commencing July first provided such referee performed the duties of a judge trial referee or a senior judge for at least seventy-five days during the preceding year, except that (1) for the year commencing July 1, 1993, a judge trial referee may participate in said alternative dispute resolution program without having performed the duties of a judge trial referee or senior judge for seventy-five days during the preceding year, and (2) a judge trial referee may participate in said alternative dispute resolution program from the date such referee assumes such status, through the completion of the year commencing July first following such date without having satisfied the seventy-five-day requirement. Any judge trial referee who participates in said alternative dispute resolution program pursuant to subsection (f) of section 51-50c without having satisfied the seventy-five-day requirement set forth in said subsection shall not be eligible to participate in said program pursuant to this subsection without having satisfied the seventy-five-day requirement set forth in this subsection.

Sec. 2. Section 52-549z of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) A decision of the arbitrator shall become a judgment of the court if no appeal from the arbitrator's decision by way of a demand for a trial de novo is filed in accordance with subsection (d) of this section.

(b) A decision of the arbitrator shall become null and void if an appeal from the arbitrator's decision by way of a demand for a trial de novo is filed in accordance with subsection (d) of this section.

(c) For the purpose of this section the word "decision" shall include a decision and judgment rendered pursuant to subsection (a) of section 52-549y, provided the appeal is taken by a party who did not fail to appear at the hearing, and it shall exclude any other decision or judgment rendered pursuant to said section.

(d) An appeal by way of a demand for a trial de novo must be filed with the court clerk within twenty days [of the filing] after the deposit of the arbitrator's decision in the United States mail, as evidenced by the postmark, and it shall include a certification that a copy thereof has been served on each counsel of record, to be accomplished in accordance with the rules of court. The decision of the arbitrator shall not be admissible in any proceeding resulting after a claim for a trial de novo or from a setting aside of an award in accordance with section 52-549aa.

(e) The Superior Court may refer any proceeding resulting from the filing of a demand for a trial de novo under subsection (d) of this section to a judge trial referee without the consent of the parties, and said judge trial referee shall have and exercise the powers of the Superior Court in respect to trial, judgment and appeal in the case, including a judgment of fifty thousand dollars or more.

Approved July 11, 2001