In two directives this week, Chief Court Administrator Patrick Carroll III announced the closure of three courthouses due to concerns over the coronavirus.
Closed is the Stamford courthouse, where an employee exhibited COVID-19-like symptoms, Carroll said. Administrators Tuesday transferred cases from that courthouse to Fairfield Superior Court.
Also closed as of Wednesday: Milford Superior Court and Middletown Superior Court. Milford’s cases were transferred to Fairfield Superior Court and Middletown’s moved to New Britain Superior Court.
In a previous directive, Carroll announced that one building in each of the 13 judicial districts would be designated for Priority 1 business, including criminal arraignment of defendants held in lieu of bond and all arraignments involving domestic violence cases, juvenile detention hearings, family and civil orders of relief from abuse, and termination of parental rights.
In addition, juvenile matters will now be heard only in the Hartford and Bridgeport juvenile courthouses.
Connecticut superior courts had already announced delays of all future jury trial selections and trials through April 13. Juries sitting before the March 13 directive would continue those trials. There has been no announcement of whether jury selections and trials beginning April 14 would be delayed.
Here’s a roundup of other closures.
Connecticut Supreme Court
In other changes throughout the court system, the Connecticut Supreme Court announced Monday that its eighth and final term of the 2019-20 session, which was to run from April 27 through May 8, has been canceled. The state Supreme Court will begin its 2020-21 session in September.
Connecticut Appellate Court
The Connecticut Appellate Court canceled hearing cases for the end of its sixth term, which was March 17 to March 19. As of press time, cases had not been scheduled for the court’s seventh term, which starts on Monday.
Connecticut Federal Courts
Like the state courts, Connecticut’s three federal courts in Bridgeport, Hartford and New Haven also stopped all new jury selections and jury trials until at least April 13. Trials already underway are set to continue.
The federal courts remain open for limited business, but not to everyone. Unlike in the Superior Court system, U.S. District Chief Judge Stefan Underhill of the District of Connecticut issued an order three weeks ago that still stands today. It bars entry of individuals who visited China, South Korea, Japan, Italy, Iran, New York’s New Rochelle community, and any other location that has been under coronavirus-related quarantine in the past 14 days. Those seeking entry into the courthouses will be asked if they’ve visited any of the countries or communities cited in Underhill’s directive.
As of 8 p.m. Wednesday, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont’s office reported the state had 3,557 cases of COVID-19, which included 85 deaths.