CHAPTER 871
COURTS

Table of Contents

Sec. 51-27. Court accommodations.
Sec. 51-27a. (Formerly Sec. 51-156a). Courthouses serving the geographical areas.
Sec. 51-27b. (Formerly Sec. 51-156b). Offices of Superior Court.
Sec. 51-27c. (Formerly Sec. 51-187a). Court accommodations at Rockville, Putnam and Willimantic.
Sec. 51-27d. (Formerly Sec. 51-187b). Lease of court facilities. Lease-purchase agreements for additional facilities in Middletown, New Britain and Rocky Hill.
Sec. 51-27e. Courthouse facilities for the judicial district of Ansonia-Milford.
Sec. 51-27f. (Formerly Sec. 51-188). Rooms for special sessions.
Sec. 51-27g. Display of United States flag outside courthouses.
Secs. 51-28 and 51-29.
Sec. 51-30. Court attendants.
Sec. 51-31. Deputy sheriffs as court officers in New London County.
Sec. 51-32. Determination of laws of other jurisdictions.
Sec. 51-33. Punishment for contempt of court.
Sec. 51-33a. Criminal contempt.
Sec. 51-34. Commitment for disobedience; release.
Sec. 51-35. Witness refusing to testify; imprisonment. Self-incrimination.
Sec. 51-36. Retention, reproduction, destruction, disposal and transferring of court records. Microfilm and computerized images.
Sec. 51-36a. Access to records maintained by Judicial Department. Policies and procedures.
Secs. 51-37 and 51-38. Records and files in New London County. Application of general statutes to municipal and justice courts.

      Sec. 51-27. Court accommodations. (a) The state shall provide such suitable quarters and furniture as are necessary for holding the Superior Court in the several judicial districts when there is no suitable place therefor. The expense of the quarters and furniture, except as provided by section 51-27a or any other section of the general statutes, shall be paid by the state.

      (b) If a court facility established under the provisions of section 51-251 of the general statutes, revision of 1958, revised to 1972, is removed into a facility originally established by the state under the provisions of section 51-27 of the revision of 1958, revised to 1972, the facility shall be maintained by the state in accordance with subsection (a) of this section.

      (1949 Rev., S. 7725; 1959, P.A. 28, S. 198; 152, S. 66; P.A. 74-183, S. 20, 291; P.A. 76-436, S. 52, 681; P.A. 78-280, S. 3, 70, 127; P.A. 82-248, S. 11; P.A. 83-295, S. 5.)

      History: 1959 acts authorized purchases by clerk for circuit court and required state rather than county commissioners to provide suitable quarters and furniture, county government having been abolished; P.A. 74-183 added reference to sharing of building by court of common pleas and superior court, deleted reference to supplies for circuit court and added Subsec. (b), effective December 1, 1974; P.A. 76-436 clarified Subsec. (a) re expense of providing quarters and furniture for courts by specifically referring to Sec. 51-156a, added reference to judicial districts and removed court of common pleas from purview of section in Subsec. (a), effective July 1, 1978; P.A. 78-280 deleted reference to counties and made technical grammatical correction substituting "judicial districts" for "judicial district"; P.A. 82-248 rephrased some provisions but made no substantive change; P.A. 83-295 amended Subsec. (a) by deleting provisions concerning the purchase of court supplies by the clerk of each court location with the approval of a judge thereof.

      See Secs. 51-27c to 51-27f, inclusive, re court facilities, generally.

      Under former statute: Session may be adjourned in emergency, when suitable building not available in town, to another courthouse already provided by county commissioners in county. 113 C. 377. Indicates county commissioners not vested with broad power of determining whether new county building should be built. 124 C. 617.

      Mandamus did not lie to compel county commissioners to purchase courtroom facilities at Stamford. 6 CS 142. Cited. 8 CS 78.

      Subsec. (a):

      Cited. 193 C. 670.


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      Sec. 51-27a. (Formerly Sec. 51-156a). Courthouses serving the geographical areas. (a) Except as provided in this section and in section 51-27, quarters and furniture necessary for holding sessions of the Superior Court serving geographical areas may be provided and maintained by the city or town in which the session is held.

      (b) Two or more contiguous towns may, by action of their legislative bodies, combine to provide and maintain such quarters and furniture and by agreement of the legislative bodies apportion the expense thereof among the towns.

      (c) The Commissioner of Public Works may continue to lease quarters serving the geographical areas of the Superior Court from a municipality or other person, subject to the provisions of section 4b-23, at a rental as may be set by agreement of the parties, except that with respect to quarters leased from a municipality or any lessor exempt from local property taxes such rental may not exceed annual operating costs for such quarters including, but not limited to, the cost of insurance, electricity, air conditioning, heat, hot and cold running water, janitorial services and supplies, rubbish removal, snow and ice removal, groundskeeping, window washing, security service, maintenance and repairs, replacement of ballasts, tubes and bulbs, toilet supplies, and any renovations undertaken at the request of the lessee, plus two dollars per square foot for contingency expenses.

      (d) The Commissioner of Public Works may, subject to section 4b-23, acquire courthouses to serve the geographical areas of the Superior Court, provided a courthouse shall be within the geographical area which it serves.

      (e) The amount received from the state as rental under this section shall, if two or more municipalities combined to provide the quarters, be divided among them in proportion to the expense of the quarters paid by each.

      (f) Such quarters shall not be leased without the approval of the Chief Court Administrator or his designee.

      (1959, P.A. 28, S. 6; 152, S. 97; 1961, P.A. 386; 1963, P.A. 263, S. 2; February, 1965, P.A. 535; 597, S. 1; 1971, P.A. 870, S. 2; P.A. 74-183, S. 57, 291; 74-272, S. 1, 3; P.A. 75-169; 75-406, S. 1, 11; 75-578, S. 4; P.A. 76-108, S. 1, 3; 76-435, S. 22, 82; 76-436, S. 10a, 52a, 681; P.A. 77-614, S. 73, 610; P.A. 82-248, S. 12; 82-427, S. 1, 3; P.A. 84-371, S. 1, 3; P.A. 87-470, S. 1, 2; 87-496, S. 103, 110.)

      History: Later 1959 act required that expenses of circuit court be paid by state rather than by county where session is held where facilities shared by superior court and court of common pleas, county government having been abolished; 1961 act added proviso re towns' agreement to share expenses for quarters and furniture for circuit court sessions; 1963 act added provisions re leasing of court quarters from municipalities by public works commissioner; 1965 acts revised leasing provisions to allow rentals at other rates than $1.50 per square foot and clarified provision re sharing of facilities by superior and common pleas and circuit courts, specifying that use of chamber, jury assembly and deliberation rooms is allowed and that circuit court may not use facilities when they are in use for trials by superior court, court of common pleas, a judge of either court or a state referee; 1971 act specified that chief judge will establish continuous civil jury sessions to serve circuits, deleted provision whereby sessions were held in any town whose legislative body requests such sessions of the executive secretary of the judicial department and rephrased provision re shared facilities with superior and common pleas courts adding reference to facilities no longer used by such courts, effective September 1, 1971; P.A. 74-183 substantially revised provisions to reflect transfer of circuit court functions to court of common pleas, effective December 31, 1974; P.A. 74-272 established maximum of $3.50 per square foot; P.A. 75-169 specified that trial of "criminal matters and small claims matters transferred to the regular docket except such matters claimed for jury trial or transferred for consolidation" shall be held in court locations maintained for circuit courts on April 1, 1974; P.A. 75-406 specified venue for paternity actions; P.A. 75-578 added provision specifically applicable to short calendar sessions and sessions for trial of civil matters, previously short calendar sessions were held in court facilities in same building as superior court and trials of civil matters were held in former circuit court locations; Sec. 51-251 transferred to Sec. 51-156a in 1975; P.A. 76-108 transferred venue from court locations formerly maintained for circuit courts to locations serving geographical areas or judicial districts, replaced unspecified rental sum agreed on by public works commissioner and municipalities for new or reconstructed quarters with maximum rental of $6.50 per square foot, authorized acquisition of courthouses serving geographical areas or judicial districts and deleted provision which required state to provide and maintain offices of common pleas court established under Sec. 51-156b; P.A. 76-435 made technical correction; P.A. 76-436 amended section to reflect transfer of common pleas court functions to superior court, effective July 1, 1978; Sec. 51-156a transferred to Sec. 51-27a in the 1977 Court Reorganization Supplement; P.A. 77-614 replaced commissioner of public works with commissioner of administrative services as leasing authority; P.A. 82-248 made technical revision, rewording some provisions and dividing section into Subsecs. but made no substantive change; P.A. 82-427 increased maximum annual rental for quarters serving geographical areas of court of common pleas or common pleas judicial districts on July 1, 1978, from maximum of $3.50 per square foot to $6.50 per square foot and substituted "commissioner of administrative services" for "state"; P.A. 84-371 added provision that cost of rental for quarters serving the geographical areas of the superior court from any lessor not exempt from local property tax may not exceed $8.50 per square foot, effective July 1, 1984, and applicable to lease agreements for courthouses entered into on or after that date; P.A. 87-470 amended Subsec. (c) by deleting the maximum rental rates of $6.50 per square foot payable to a municipality or a lessor exempt from local property tax and $8.50 per square foot payable to a lessor not exempt from local property tax, and by adding provision that with respect to quarters leased from a municipality or lessor exempt from local property tax the rental may not exceed annual operating costs plus $2 per square foot for contingency expenses and specifying examples of such operating costs; P.A. 87-496 substituted "public works" for "administrative services" commissioner.

      See Sec. 51-348 re geographical areas, courthouse use and housing docket.

      Annotations to former section 51-251:

      Constitutionality upheld. 23 CS 357.

      Cited. 2 Conn. Cir. Ct. 59.


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      Sec. 51-27b. (Formerly Sec. 51-156b). Offices of Superior Court. There shall be sufficient offices of the Superior Court for the efficient operation of the court. The number and location of the offices shall be designated by the Chief Court Administrator, after consultation with the judges of the Superior Court.

      (1959, P.A. 28, S. 7; P.A. 74-183, S. 58, 291; P.A. 76-436, S. 10a, 53, 681; P.A. 82-248, S. 13.)

      History: P.A. 74-183 revised provisions to reflect transfer of circuit court functions to court of common pleas, effective December 31, 1974; Sec. 51-252 transferred to Sec. 51-156b in 1975; P.A. 76-436 replaced court of common pleas with superior court and chief judge with chief court administrator and referred to appointment of clerks as provided in Sec. 51-168 rather than as provided in Sec. 51-146, effective July 1, 1978; Sec. 51-156b transferred to Sec. 51-27b in the 1977 Court Reorganization Supplement and reference to Sec. 51-168 revised to reflect its transfer as well; P.A. 82-248 rephrased section and deleted provisions re clerks, assistant clerks and clerical personnel and reenacted such provisions as part of Sec. 51-51v.

      Cited. 193 C. 670.

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      Sec. 51-27c. (Formerly Sec. 51-187a). Court accommodations at Rockville, Putnam and Willimantic. A convenient place for holding the Superior Court at Rockville, Putnam and Willimantic shall be furnished by the Commissioner of Public Works.

      (February, 1965, P.A. 516, S. 1; P.A. 76-436, S. 98, 681; P.A. 77-614, S. 73, 610; P.A. 87-496, S. 104, 110.)

      History: P.A. 76-436 deleted reference to court of common pleas, effective July 1, 1978; Sec. 51-187a transferred to Sec. 51-27c in the 1977 Court Reorganization Supplement; P.A. 77-614 replaced public works commissioner with commissioner of administrative services; P.A. 87-496 substituted "public works" for "administrative services" commissioner.

      Former statute cited. 124 C. 618.

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      Sec. 51-27d. (Formerly Sec. 51-187b). Lease of court facilities. Lease-purchase agreements for additional facilities in Middletown, New Britain and Rocky Hill. (a) The Commissioner of Public Works may, in discharging his obligation to furnish convenient places for the holding of the Superior Court, lease realty from any private developer subject to the provisions of section 4b-23.

      (b) The Commissioner of Public Works, with the approval of the Chief Court Administrator, may enter into lease-purchase agreements and related agreements, including representations and agreements as provided in subsection (r) of section 3-20, to provide additional courthouse facilities in Middletown, New Britain and Rocky Hill, subject to the provisions of section 4b-23. Such agreements shall be obligations of the state subject to the provisions of subsection (e) of section 3-20 and section 4-98, and an action to enforce such agreements may be brought in the same manner and under the same circumstances as those permitted by section 3-21a.

      (February, 1965, P.A. 517, S. 1; 1967, P.A. 112, S. 1; P.A. 75-425, S. 45, 57; P.A. 76-436, S. 99, 681; P.A. 77-614, S. 73, 610; P.A. 78-280, S. 71, 127; P.A. 82-248, S. 14; P.A. 87-496, S. 105, 110; June Sp. Sess. P.A. 91-9, S. 7, 10.)

      History: 1967 act made entrance into lease discretionary rather than mandatory, added proviso re site of courthouse and required that lease contain provision granting public works commissioner an option to purchase the property; P.A. 75-425 specified that leases are subject to Sec. 4-26b; P.A. 76-436 deleted reference to leases re court of common pleas, effective July 1, 1978; Sec. 51-187b transferred to Sec. 51-27d in the 1977 Court Reorganization Supplement; P.A. 77-614 replaced public works commissioner with commissioner of administrative services; P.A. 78-280 replaced "Tolland county" with "the judicial district of Tolland"; P.A. 82-248 deleted provision re lease agreement and site of courthouse in Vernon; P.A. 87-496 substituted "public works" for "administrative services" commissioner; June Sp. Sess. P.A. 91-9 divided the Sec. into two Subsecs., inserting new language as Subsec. (b) authorizing public works commissioner to enter into lease-purchase agreements and related agreements to provide additional courthouse facilities in Middletown, New Britain and Rocky Hill.

      Cited. 193 C. 670.

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      Sec. 51-27e. Courthouse facilities for the judicial district of Ansonia-Milford. Courthouse facilities shall be maintained in either Ansonia or Derby and in Milford for the superior court serving the judicial district of Ansonia-Milford.

      (P.A. 76-436, S. 676, 681.)

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      Sec. 51-27f. (Formerly Sec. 51-188). Rooms for special sessions. When a special session of the Superior Court is to be held in any judicial district, the Office of the Chief Court Administrator shall, if necessary, provide suitable rooms therefor, subject to the provisions of section 4b-23 concerning acquisition of real estate.

      (1949 Rev., S. 7637; 1959, P.A. 152, S. 72; 1972, P.A. 165, S. 18; June, 1972, P.A. 1, S. 20; P.A. 75-425, S. 12, 57; P.A. 77-614, S. 73, 610; P.A. 78-280, S. 2, 127; P.A. 84-436, S. 8, 12.)

      History: 1959 act substituted public works commissioner for sheriff of the county and deleted provision that expense be taxed and allowed by court where not otherwise provided for; 1972 acts added reference to judicial districts; P.A. 75-425 made section subject to provisions of Sec. 4-26b re real estate acquisition; Sec. 51-188 transferred to Sec. 51-27f in the 1977 Court Reorganization Supplement; P.A. 77-614 replaced public works commissioner with commissioner of administrative services; P.A. 78-280 replaced "county" with "judicial district"; P.A. 84-436 replaced commissioner of administrative services with office of the chief court administrator, effective July 1, 1985.

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      Sec. 51-27g. Display of United States flag outside courthouses. The Chief Court Administrator shall require that the United States flag be displayed outside each courthouse of this state from sunrise to sunset of each day.

      (P.A. 03-202, S. 22.)

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      Secs. 51-28 and 51-29. Transferred to Chapter 882, Secs. 51-183a and 51-183b, respectively.

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      Sec. 51-30. Court attendants. (a) The Superior Court or family support magistrate, when transacting business, shall be attended by such judicial marshals or by such constables, and by such messengers as the Chief Court Administrator or said administrator's designee may authorize.

      (b) When the court is hearing juvenile matters, no person may be allowed in the room except as permitted by the presiding judge in accordance with section 46b-122.

      (1949 Rev., S. 7708; 1959, P.A. 28, S. 81; P.A. 74-183, S. 23, 291; P.A. 76-436, S. 10a, 56, 681; P.A. 78-280, S. 72, 126, 127; 78-331, S. 54, 58; 78-379, S. 3, 27; P.A. 79-347; P.A. 80-394, S. 11, 13; P.A. 82-248, S. 15; P.A. 89-360, S. 18, 45; P.A. 00-99, S. 104, 154; P.A. 01-195, S. 51, 181.)

      History: 1959 act added provision re attendance of special deputy sheriffs, constables, etc. at circuit court sessions; P.A. 74-183 revised provisions to apply to superior court and court of common pleas rather than to circuit court, effective December 31, 1974; P.A. 76-436 removed court of common pleas from purview of section, that court having been abolished, and replaced chief judge with chief court administrator, effective July 1, 1978; P.A. 78-280 made minor change in wording and later repealed section; P.A. 78-331 amended repeal section of P.A. 78-280 to restore this section's existence; P.A. 78-379 added provisions specifically applicable to hearing of juvenile matters; P.A. 79-347 deleted exception re juvenile matters in provision requiring attendance of sheriff, deputies, constables, etc.; P.A. 80-394 specified that attendance of deputies and constables is authorized by sheriff rather than by chief court administrator or his designee as was previously the case; P.A. 82-248 made technical revision, rewording some provisions and dividing section into Subsecs. but made no substantive change; P.A. 89-360 added reference to family support magistrates; P.A. 00-99 replaced references to sheriff of the county and deputies or special deputies with judicial marshals in Subsec. (a), effective December 1, 2000; P.A. 01-195 made a technical change in Subsec. (a) for purposes of gender neutrality, effective July 11, 2001.

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      Sec. 51-31. Deputy sheriffs as court officers in New London County. Section 51-31 is repealed.

      (1949 Rev., S. 7709; P.A. 80-394, S. 12, 13.)

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      Sec. 51-32. Determination of laws of other jurisdictions. Section 51-32 is repealed.

      (1949 Rev., S. 7707; P.A. 90-19, S. 4.)

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      Sec. 51-33. Punishment for contempt of court. Any court, including a family support magistrate, may punish by fine and imprisonment any person who in its presence behaves contemptuously or in a disorderly manner; but no court or family support magistrate may impose a greater fine than one hundred dollars or a longer term of imprisonment than six months or both.

      (1949 Rev., S. 7702; 1959, P.A. 28, S. 82; P.A. 82-248, S. 16; P.A. 89-360, S. 19, 45.)

      History: 1959 act deleted provision that justice of the peace is not to inflict fine of more than $7 or term of imprisonment greater than 30 days; P.A. 82-248 changed "shall inflict" to "may impose" and added "or both" after "months"; P.A. 89-360 added references to family support magistrates.

      This section does not apply to contempts by disobedience to the decrees of a court of chancery. 38 C. 121; 102 C. 357. Punishment of contempt by fine and imprisonment is not properly a criminal proceeding. 43 C. 267. Statute applies to courts created after its passage. Id. The power to punish for contempt is inherent in all courts, independently of statute law. Id., 268. Adjudication of contempt not reviewable, when. 44 C. 409. Contempts not committed in the presence of the court are to be ascertained and punished according to the common law. 48 C. 196; 52 C. 156. What constitutes a civil and what a criminal contempt. Id., 155; 147 C. 167. Contempt distinguished from power to commit witnesses for refusal to answer. 65 C. 32. Power of justice to punish for contempt not committed in his presence, quaere. 75 C. 350. Court having no criminal jurisdiction may punish for contempt. 80 C. 671. To deceive court by untruthful statements as to purpose of offering testimony is a contempt. 84 C. 62. Applies to town courts. 82 C. 265. Nature of proceedings for and procedure in general. Id., 262; 84 C. 60. Judgment should contain the facts upon which the conclusion of contempt is based. 147 C. 167. Criminal contempt held not to constitute true criminal offense. Id. Held that contemptuous statements in writing submitted to the court can constitute a contempt in the presence of the court. 148 C. 77. Even if the warning given the accused by the court could be distorted into an adjudication that he would not be found in contempt, that adjudication remained subject to change during the course of the trial. Id. Statements made in a motion for disqualification of a judge held to constitute a contempt of court. Id. As long as the punishment is kept within the prescribed term the court's jurisdiction to impose such punishment summarily is clear and does not offend due process guarantees. This section neither expressly nor impliedly repealed by Sec. 51-33a; both are operative. 186 C. 256. Where contemptuous conduct is committed in the presence of the court, punishment may be announced summarily and a writ of error is the sole method to review such a summary criminal contempt citation. 189 C. 663, 666. Cited. 191 C. 110. Cited. 197 C. 566. Cited. 207 C. 456. Cited. 214 C. 344. Trial court authorized to sentence plaintiff to an aggregate sentence greater than six months based on three separate incidents of contemptuous conduct. 221 C 498. Cited. 222 C. 591. Cited. 225 C. 355. Cited. 230 C. 698. Cited. 241 C. 569. Trial court improperly determined plaintiff could no longer invoke privilege against self-incrimination and improperly held him in contempt for refusing to answer questions at the criminal trial of codefendant based on plaintiff's previous waiver of the privilege at his own criminal trial. 259 C. 487.

      Court is authorized to impose sentence of six months' imprisonment for criminal contempt where defendant's use of profanity in open court disrupts court proceedings, reflects disobedience to court's order to be silent and imposes an indignity on authority of the court. 88 CA 599.

      Contempt in constructive presence of court discussed. 36 CS 547. Until trial court's summary adjudication of contempt is challenged by writ of error, a presumption of finality is accorded to trial judge's exercise of discretion in dealing with contemptuous conduct in his presence. Id., 550.


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      Sec. 51-33a. Criminal contempt. (a) Any person who violates the dignity and authority of any court, in its presence or so near thereto as to obstruct the administration of justice, or any officer of any court who misbehaves in the conduct of his official duties shall be guilty of contempt and shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars or imprisoned not more than six months or both.

      (b) No person charged with violating this section may be tried for the violation before the same judge against whom the alleged contempt was perpetrated.

      (1971, P.A. 779; P.A. 82-248, S. 17.)

      History: P.A. 82-248 made technical revision, rewording some provisions and dividing section into Subsecs. but made no substantive change.

      Section designed to satisfy due process requirements when contumacious conduct involves a personal attack on judge and judge does not act when the contempt is committed; does not expressly or impliedly repeal Sec. 51-33, both are operative. 186 C. 256. Cited. 191 C. 110. Cited. 214 C. 344. Cited. 221 C. 498. Cited. 222 C. 591. Cited. 225 C. 355. Cited. 241 C. 569.

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      Sec. 51-34. Commitment for disobedience; release. Any person committed to a community correctional center in any cause for disobeying an order of any court or family support magistrate may be discharged from imprisonment by the judge of the court or family support magistrate making the order when it appears to the judge that the public interest will not suffer thereby.

      (1949 Rev., S. 7703; 1959, P.A. 28, S. 83; 1969, P.A. 297; P.A. 82-248, S. 18; P.A. 89-360, S. 20, 45.)

      History: 1959 act deleted provision re disobedience of order of justice of the peace; 1969 act substituted "community correctional center" for "jail"; P.A. 82-248 made technical revision, rewording some provisions, but made no substantive change; P.A. 89-360 added references to family support magistrates.

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      Sec. 51-35. Witness refusing to testify; imprisonment. Self-incrimination. (a) Any court or family support magistrate may commit to a community correctional center any person legally summoned who refuses to appear and testify before it in any case, there to remain at his own expense until he so testifies.

      (b) A person shall not be compelled to give evidence against himself, except as otherwise provided by statute, nor shall such evidence when given by him be used against him.

      (1949 Rev., S. 7704; 1969, P.A. 297; P.A. 82-248, S. 19; P.A. 89-360, S. 21, 45.)

      History: 1969 act substituted "community correctional center" for "jail"; P.A. 82-248 made technical revision, rewording some provisions and dividing section into Subsecs. but made no substantive change; P.A. 89-360 added reference to family support magistrates in Subsec. (a).

      See Sec. 2-47 re witnesses' lack of privilege to refuse to testify or produce required papers for General Assembly.

      See Sec. 12-4 re proceedings against delinquent tax officers.

      See Sec. 16-8 re hearing before Department of Public Utility Control.

      See Sec. 38a-825 re witnesses' lack of privilege in inquiries involving insurance premium rebates or special favors.

      See Sec. 45a-129 re court of probate's powers to examine witnesses.

      See Sec. 52-199 re protection against self-incrimination.

      See Sec. 52-398 re debtor's lack of privilege to refuse to testify on grounds that answers might reveal fraudulent action on his part.

      See Sec. 52-554 re refusal of defendant to testify in cases concerning recovery of money lost in gaming.

      See Secs. 53-278a to 53-278g, inclusive, re gambling offenses, generally.

      See Sec. 54-84 re testimony or silence of accused during trial.

      See Sec. 54-85 re testimony of witness with regard to election bribery.


      The power of a public officer to commit for contempt should not be implied. 45 C. 385. Refusal to answer is not properly a contempt. 65 C. 33. Former statute cited. 110 C. 497. Cited. 222 C. 591. Cited. 230 C. 698.

      Cited. 32 CS 306. Sanctions available to court to punish adult witness for refusal to testify under this section are not available to punish minor witness. See Sec. 46b-131. 36 CS 352.


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      Sec. 51-36. Retention, reproduction, destruction, disposal and transferring of court records. Microfilm and computerized images. (a) The Chief Court Administrator may cause any and all court records, papers or documents, and any and all other records, papers or documents maintained by the Judicial Branch, required to be retained indefinitely or for a period of time defined by (1) rules of court, (2) directives promulgated by the Office of the Chief Court Administrator, or (3) statute, to be microfilmed or reproduced as a computerized image. The device used to reproduce such records, papers or documents on microfilm or as a computerized image shall be one which accurately reproduces the original thereof in detail. Such microfilm or computerized image shall be considered and treated the same as the original records, papers or documents in accordance with directives promulgated by the Office of the Chief Court Administrator. A transcript, exemplification or certified copy of such microfilm or computerized image shall for all purposes be deemed to be a transcript, exemplification or certified copy of the original. The original records, papers or documents so reproduced may be disposed of in such manner as approved by the Office of the Chief Court Administrator. For the purposes of this subsection, "microfilm" includes microcard, microfiche, microphotograph, electronic medium or any other process which actually reproduces or forms a durable medium for so reproducing the original, and "computerized image" means any electronic reproduction of the original by a computer-based imaging system or process.

      (b) Except as provided in subsection (c) of this section, any judge of the Superior Court may order that official records of evidence or judicial proceedings in said court, the Court of Common Pleas or the Circuit Court, including official notes and tapes of evidence or judicial proceedings concerning title to land, taken more than seven years prior to the date of such order by any stenographer or official court reporter, be destroyed by the person having the custody thereof.

      (c) (1) In any case in which a person has been convicted of a felony, other than a capital felony, the official records of evidence or judicial proceedings in the court may be destroyed upon the expiration of twenty years from the date of imposition of the sentence in such case or upon the expiration of the sentence imposed upon such person, whichever is later.

      (2) In any case in which a person has been convicted after trial of a capital felony, the official records of evidence or judicial proceedings in the court may be destroyed upon the expiration of seventy-five years from the date of imposition of the sentence in such case.

      (3) In any case in which a person has been found not guilty, or in any case that has been dismissed or was not prosecuted, the court may order the destruction or disposal of all exhibits entered in such case upon the expiration of ninety days from the date of final disposition of such case, unless a prior disposition of such exhibits has been ordered pursuant to section 54-36a. In any case in which a nolle has been entered, the court may order the destruction or disposal of all exhibits entered in such case upon the expiration of thirteen months from the date of final disposition of such case. Not less than thirty days prior to the scheduled destruction or disposal of exhibits under this subdivision, the clerk of the court shall send notice to all parties and any party may request a hearing on the issue of such destruction or disposal before the court in which the matter is pending.

      (4) In any case in which a person has been convicted of a misdemeanor or has been adjudicated a youthful offender, the court may order the destruction or disposal of all exhibits entered in such case upon the expiration of ten years from the date of imposition of the sentence in such case or upon the expiration of the sentence imposed on such person, whichever is later, unless a prior disposition of such exhibits has been ordered pursuant to section 54-36a. Not less than thirty days prior to the scheduled destruction or disposal of exhibits under this subdivision, the clerk of the court shall send notice to all parties and any party may request a hearing on the issue of such destruction or disposal before the court in which the matter is pending.

      (5) In any case in which a person is charged with multiple offenses, no destruction or disposal of exhibits may be ordered under this subsection until the longest applicable retention period under this subsection has expired. The provisions of this subdivision and subdivisions (3), (4) and (6) of this subsection shall apply to any criminal or motor vehicle case disposed of before, on or after October 1, 2006.

      (6) The retention period for the official records of evidence and exhibits in any habeas corpus proceeding, petition for a new trial or other proceeding arising out of a criminal case in which a person has been convicted shall be the same as the applicable retention period under this subsection for the criminal case from which such proceeding or petition arose.

      (7) For the purposes of this subsection, "sentence" includes any period of incarceration, parole, special parole or probation.

      (d) All court records other than records concerning title to land may be destroyed in accordance with rules of court. Records concerning title to land shall not be subject to any such destruction and may be retained in an electronic format, except that official notes and tapes of evidence or judicial proceedings concerning title to land may be destroyed. All court records may be transferred to any agency of this state or to any federal agency in accordance with rules of court or directives promulgated by the Office of the Chief Court Administrator, provided records in any action concerning title to land terminated by a final judgment affecting any right, title or interest in real property shall be retained for not less than forty years in the office of the clerk of the court location in which the judgment was rendered. Any other judicial branch books, records, papers or documents may be destroyed or transferred to any agency of this state or to any federal agency in accordance with directives promulgated by the Office of the Chief Court Administrator.

      (e) For the purposes of this section, "official records of evidence or judicial proceedings" includes (1) the court file, that contains the original documents or copies of any original documents that have been removed, (2) all exhibits from the parties, whether marked for identification or admitted as full exhibits, and (3) the transcripts of all proceedings held in the matter, including voir dire.

      (1949 Rev., S. 7710; 1953, S. 3131d; 1959, P.A. 28, S. 84; P.A. 74-183, S. 24, 291; P.A. 76-59, S. 1; P.A. 76-436, S. 57, 681; P.A. 82-188, S. 1, 3; P.A. 84-162, S. 1; P.A. 97-40, S. 3; P.A. 02-29, S. 1; P.A. 03-202, S. 11; P.A. 05-152, S. 4; P.A. 06-152, S. 3; Sept. Sp. Sess. P.A. 09-7, S. 23.)

      History: 1959 act substituted circuit court judge for municipal court judge, latter court having been abolished; P.A. 74-183 revised provisions to clarify responsibility of superior court judges for destruction of superior court records and responsibility of common pleas court judge for destruction of common pleas court records and to grant responsibility for circuit court records to common pleas judges, the circuit courts having been abolished, (previous provision stated that superior, common pleas and circuit court judges "may order that official records of evidence or judicial proceeding in any of such courts ... be destroyed") and added provision re destruction of records after 25 years at discretion of chief court administrator, effective December 31, 1974; P.A. 76-59 replaced provision re destruction after 25 years with provisions allowing destruction of all records other than those concerning title to land in accordance with rules of court and absolutely prohibiting destruction of records re title to land; P.A. 76-436 revised section to grant superior court judges responsibility for records of common pleas and circuit courts, reflecting merger of common pleas and superior courts, effective July 1, 1978; P.A. 82-188 added provisions re transfer of court records to state or federal agency in accordance with rules of court or directives of the judicial department and destruction or transfer of any other judicial department books, records, papers or documents; P.A. 84-162 added Subsec. (a) authorizing the microfilming of certain court records and designated previous provisions as Subsec. (b), replacing the "judicial department" with the "office of the chief court administrator" as the entity responsible for promulgating directives concerning the destruction or transfer of records and adding provision requiring records in any action concerning title to land to be retained for not less than 40 years in the court clerk's office where the judgment was rendered; P.A. 97-40 amended Subsec. (a) by making technical changes and adding "electronic medium", divided former Subsec. (b) into Subsecs. (b) and (c) and added provisions allowing destruction of records after 7 years, including official notes and tapes of evidence or judicial proceedings concerning title to land; P.A. 02-29 amended Subsec. (a) to make a technical change, amended Subsec. (b) to add exception re Subsec. (c), added new Subsec. (c) to establish in Subdivs. (1) and (2) the retention period for records in cases in which a person has been convicted after trial of a felony and of a capital felony, respectively, redesignated former Subsec. (c) as Subsec. (d), and added new Subsec. (e) to specify items included in "official records of evidence or judicial proceedings"; P.A. 03-202 amended Subsec. (a) by making technical changes, amended Subsec. (c)(2) by replacing "twenty-five years from the death of such person" with "seventy-five years from the conviction of such person", amended Subsec. (d) by replacing reference to "Judicial Department" with reference to "judicial branch" and amended Subsec. (e) by replacing "from which no documents have been removed" with "that contains the original documents or copies of any original documents that have been removed", adding subdivision designators and making technical changes; P.A. 05-152 amended Subsec. (a) by deleting "other than records concerning title to land", made technical changes in Subsec. (c) and amended Subsec. (d) by adding "and may be retained in an electronic format"; P.A. 06-152 amended Subsec. (c) by deleting "after trial" and replacing "disposition of" with "imposition of the sentence in" in Subdiv. (1), replacing "conviction of such person" with "date of imposition of the sentence in such case" in Subdiv. (2) and adding Subdivs. (3) to (7) re destruction or disposal of exhibits in various criminal and motor vehicle cases and habeas corpus proceedings; Sept. Sp. Sess. P.A. 09-7 amended Subsec. (a) to add "any and all other records, papers or documents maintained by the Judicial Branch", replace provision re certificate of authenticity on microfilm with "in accordance with directives promulgated by the Office of the Chief Court Administrator", and referenced and defined "computerized image", effective October 5, 2009.

      Subsec. (b):

      Cited. 43 C. 246.


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      Sec. 51-36a. Access to records maintained by Judicial Department. Policies and procedures. (a) For the purposes of this section, "employees of the Judicial Department" shall not include employees of the courts of probate or the Public Defender Services Commission, and "records" shall not include records maintained by the courts of probate or the Public Defender Services Commission.

      (b) Notwithstanding any provision of the general statutes, employees of the Judicial Department may, in accordance with policies and procedures adopted by the Chief Court Administrator, access any records maintained by the Judicial Department, including erased records, and may disclose the information contained in such records in accordance with such policies and procedures.

      (c) Notwithstanding any provision of the general statutes, Judicial Department contractors and authorized agents of the Judicial Department may, in accordance with policies and procedures adopted by the Chief Court Administrator, access records maintained by the Judicial Department, including erased records, and may disclose the information contained in such records in accordance with such policies and procedures.

      (d) This section shall apply to all records in existence on and after June 7, 2002.

      (P.A. 98-81, S. 1; P.A. 01-186, S. 4; P.A. 02-132, S. 67.)

      History: P.A. 01-186 amended Subsec. (b) by adding provisions re erased records and disclosure of information contained in records to extent necessary for performance of duties and added Subsec. (c) permitting Judicial Department contractors and authorized agents to access records, including erased records, and permitting disclosure to extent necessary for performance of duties; P.A. 02-132 amended Subsecs. (b) and (c) by adding provisions re access to Judicial Department records in accordance with policies and procedures adopted by the Chief Court Administrator, replacing provisions re access to the extent necessary for the performance of duties with provisions re access in accordance with such policies and procedures and making technical changes and added Subsec. (d) re application of section, effective June 7, 2002.

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      Secs. 51-37 and 51-38. Records and files in New London County. Application of general statutes to municipal and justice courts. Sections 51-37 and 51-38 are repealed.

      (1949 Rev., S. 7723, 7737; 1959, P.A. 28, S. 204; P.A. 74-183, S. 25, 291.)

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