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Connecticut Superior Court Opinions Should Be Freely Available Online

Last winter I attended a seminar on “What Connecticut Judges Want You To Know.”

In law school I learned that a lawyer should always cite cases from the highest court in the state while writing briefs. It was explained that superior or lower court opinions were useful only to the degree that they explained or applied the rulings of higher courts. All of this is true in theory.

A Superior Court judge in Connecticut is bound to follow the ruling of a higher court (either the CT Supreme Court or the Appellate Court).  A judge is not compelled to follow an opinion of another superior court judge.

At the seminar a panel of judges stressed the importance of citing the opinions of other superior court judges in briefs to the court. The judges explained that they are always interested in reading how their colleagues dealt with an issue.

The point is that decisions of superior court judges in Connecticut matter. They are vital to the practice of law in Connecticut.

The Judicial Branch website makes the opinions of the Supreme and Appellate Courts available online.

Given the importance of trial court decisions in our State, the ease of publication of cases on the internet and the renewed spirit of openness in Connecticut courts I think that it’s time the judicial branch made superior court decisions available online for free on its website.