Right to Jury Trial for Misdemeanors


At its regular meeting on June 16, 1998, the Law Revision Commission voted to undertake a study of Connecticut Law concerning the right to a jury trial for misdemeanors. That study was undertaken pursuant to a request of Judiciary Committee Co-Chairmen Donald E. Williams, Jr. and Michael P. Lawlor which states the following:

"We are writing to request that the Law Revision Commission undertake a study of the current Connecticut laws concerning the right to a jury trial for misdemeanors. In Connecticut, virtually every criminal charge gives a defendant the right to a jury trial. Federal case law seems to indicate that juries are only constitutionally required when there is an incarceration for six months or more. We would like to have the Law Revision Commission examine whether we can make statutory changes so that misdemeanors such as shoplifting wouldn’t result in jury trials. The Commission should examine what other states do and also whether the Connecticut constitution prohibits these changes. In addition, [if] there is a constitutional provision barring a statutory change to the right to a jury trial, the Law Revision Commission should examine what other states do constitutionally."

The Law Revision Commission committee established to undertake the review consisted of Representative Robert Farr, Jon P. FitzGerald, and Colin C. Tait.