Judicial officials announce limited days courthouses will be open, remote filing of restraining orders

Published on Friday, 3 April 2020 17:43


Courthouses in the state, including the one on Franklin Square in New Britain, will soon be open three days a week to help reduce person-to-person contact and the possible exposure of the coronavirus.

Judicial officials said all courthouses in the state will be closed on Tuesday. Then, beginning on April 14, these courts will be closed every Tuesday and Thursday until further notice. State courthouses are usually open Monday through Friday for criminal, civil, housing and other matters.

“This further reduction of the days that the courts will be open to the public is part of the Judicial Branch’s ongoing effort to secure the highest possible level of protection to the public and the staff who work in our courthouses,” Chief Court Administrator Patrick L. Carroll III said in a statement. “Our overarching goal remains the same: to protect our employees and members of the public by keeping as few courthouses open, for the shortest period of time possible, as may be necessary to hear the critical priority one cases.”

The announcement made Friday follows the temporary closing of courthouses in Middlesex, Milford, Danbury, Torrington, Rockville, Danielson and Stamford, as judicial officials continue to help stop the COVID-19 outbreak by limiting the amount of courthouses that remain open during the pandemic. The cases from the Middlesex courthouse have been sent to the New Britain courthouse.

Judicial officials on Friday also announced that they are in the process of implementing a new procedure for individuals who wish to file for a restraining order. It will allow people to remotely file for the order by fax or email to help with the COVID-19 outbreak and make it easier for victims of domestic violence, particularly when many courthouses are no longer open. The forms for remote filing are expected to be available at jud.ct.gov next week, judicial officials said.

“We hope that this new procedure will be of great assistance to those victims of domestic violence who may be unable to leave their home at this time,” Judge Michael Albis, chief administrative judge of family matters, said in a statement. “Those who prefer to apply the old way by going to the courthouse will still be able to do so, but for the sake of everyone’s health we encourage applicants to file remotely if possible.”

Albis thanked the Gov. Ned Lamont’s office, which issued an executive order on Thursday allowing the remote filing.

“Essentially, the executive order temporarily eliminates the requirement that applicants seeking a temporary restraining order must swear under oath that the statement is true,” Albis said in the statement. “This is significant, as it eliminates the need for a notary public or other authority to take the applicant’s oath, while still legally obligating the applicant to make true statements.”

“As important,” he continued, “is a procedure issued by Chief Court Administrator Patrick L. Carroll III pursuant to the rules of the court. With the new procedure in place, temporary restraining orders may be filed via fax or email during courthouse hours, and applicants who file a digital application may sign it electronically by typing their name into the signature space. The procedure also authorizes applicants who are unable personally or electronically to sign the application to ask a third person to electronically sign for them by typing the applicant’s name into the signature space. This is especially crucial for those applicants who may have a disability, lack access to the Internet or who have limited language proficiency.”

Justin Muszynski can be reached at 860-973-1809 or jmuszynski@bristolpress.com.

Posted in New Britain Herald, New Britain on Friday, 3 April 2020 17:43. Updated: Friday, 3 April 2020 17:46.