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Connecticut Public Acts 1996

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Senate Bill No. 593

PUBLIC ACT NO. 96-37

AN ACT CONCERNING STATE TRIAL REFEREES.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Subsection (b) of section 1-82 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(b) If a preliminary investigation indicates that probable cause exists for the violation of a provision of this part, the commission shall initiate hearings to determine whether there has been a violation of this part. A [state] JUDGE trial referee, who shall be assigned by the Chief Court Administrator and who shall be compensated in accordance with section 52-434 out of funds available to the commission, shall preside over such hearing and shall rule on all matters concerning the application of the rules of evidence, which shall be the same as in judicial proceedings. The trial referee shall have no vote in any decision of the commission. All hearings of the commission held pursuant to this subsection shall be open. At such hearing the commission shall have the same powers as under subsection (a) of this section and the respondent shall have the right to be represented by legal counsel, the right to compel attendance of witnesses and the production of books, documents, records and papers and to examine and cross-examine witnesses. Not later than ten days prior to the commencement of any hearing conducted pursuant to this subsection, the commission shall provide the respondent with a list of its intended witnesses. The [state] JUDGE trial referee shall, while engaged in the discharge of his duties as provided in this subsection, have the same authority as is provided in section 51-35 over witnesses who refuse to obey a subpoena or to testify with respect to any matter upon which such witness may be lawfully interrogated, and may commit any such witness for contempt for a period no longer than thirty days. The commission shall make a record of all proceedings pursuant to this subsection. The commission shall find no person in violation of any provision of this part except upon the concurring vote of five of its members. Not later than fifteen days after the public hearing conducted in accordance with this subsection, the commission shall publish its finding and a memorandum of the reasons therefor. Such finding and memorandum shall be deemed to be the final decision of the commission on the matter for the purposes of chapter 54. The respondent, if aggrieved by the finding and memorandum, may appeal therefrom to the Superior Court in accordance with the provisions of section 4-183.

Sec. 2. Subsection (b) of section 1-93 of the general statutes, as amended by section 3 of public act 95-144, is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(b) If a preliminary investigation indicates that probable cause exists for the violation of a provision of this part, the commission shall initiate hearings to determine whether there has been a violation of this part. A [state] JUDGE trial referee, who shall be assigned by the Chief Court Administrator and who shall be compensated in accordance with section 52-434 out of funds available to the commission, shall preside over such hearing and shall rule on all matters concerning the application of the rules of evidence, which shall be the same as in judicial proceedings. The trial referee shall have no vote in any decision of the commission. All hearings of the commission held pursuant to this subsection shall be open. At such hearing the commission shall have the same powers as under subsection (a) of this section and the respondent shall have the right to be represented by legal counsel, the right to compel attendance of witnesses and the production of books, documents, records and papers and to examine and cross-examine witnesses. Not later than ten days prior to the commencement of any hearing conducted pursuant to this subsection, the commission shall provide the respondent with a list of its intended witnesses. The [state] JUDGE trial referee shall, while engaged in the discharge of his duties as provided in this subsection, have the same authority as is provided in section 51-35 over witnesses who refuse to obey a subpoena or to testify with respect to any matter upon which such witness may be lawfully interrogated, and may commit any such witness for contempt for a period no longer than thirty days. The commission shall make a record of all proceedings pursuant to this subsection. The commission shall find no person in violation of any provision of this part except upon the concurring vote of five of its members. Not later than fifteen days after the public hearing conducted in accordance with this subsection, the commission shall publish its finding and a memorandum of the reasons therefor. Such finding and memorandum shall be deemed to be the final decision of the commission on the matter for the purposes of chapter 54. The respondent, if aggrieved by the finding and memorandum, may appeal therefrom to the Superior Court in accordance with the provisions of section 4-183.

Sec. 3. Section 13a-76 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

Any person claiming to be aggrieved by the assessment of such special damages or such special benefits by the commissioner may, at any time within six months after the same has been so filed, apply to the superior court for the judicial district within which such land is situated or, if said court is not in session, to any judge thereof for a reassessment of such damages or such benefits so far as the same affect such applicant, and said court or such judge, after causing notice of the pendency of such application to be given to said commissioner, shall appoint a [state] JUDGE trial referee to make such reassessment of such damages or such benefits. Such trial referee, having given at least ten days' notice to the parties interested of the time and place of hearing, shall hear the applicant and said commissioner, shall view the land and take such testimony as such trial referee deems material and shall thereupon reassess such damages and benefits so far as they affect such applicant. If the amount of the reassessment of such damages awarded to any such property owner exceeds the amount of the assessment of such damages by the commissioner for such land, such trial referee shall award to such property owner such appraisal fees as such trial referee determines to be reasonable. If no appeal to the Appellate Court is filed within the time allowed by law, or if one is filed and the proceedings have terminated in a final judgment finding the amount due the landowner, the clerk shall send a certified copy of the assessment of the commissioner and of the judgment to the Comptroller, who shall, upon receipt thereof, draw his order upon the Treasurer in favor of the landowner for the amount due him as damages. The pendency of any such application for reassessment shall not prevent or delay the layout, extension, alteration, widening, change of grade or other improvement of any such highway. As used in this section, a trial referee means a referee appointed pursuant to subdivision (1) or (2) of subsection (a) of section 52-434 AS AMENDED BY SECTION 8 OF THIS ACT and designated a trial referee pursuant to subsection (b) of said section.

Sec. 4. Subsection (d) of section 32-387 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(d) The secretary may purchase any real property and take a deed thereof in the name of the state when such real property is needed in connection with the construction of a stadium facility or practice facility, and any real property, necessary, in his opinion, for the efficient accomplishment of the foregoing purpose, provided any purchase of such real property in an amount in excess of the sum of fifteen thousand dollars shall be approved by a [state] JUDGE trial referee. The secretary, with the advice and consent of the Attorney General, may settle and compromise any claim by any person or firm claiming to be aggrieved by such construction, by the payment of money, the transfer of other real property acquired for or in connection with the stadium facility or practice facility, or otherwise.

Sec. 5. Section 32-388 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

Within six months after the assessment of damages and benefits provided for in subsections (a), (b) and (c) of section 32-387 has been filed with the clerk of the Superior Court, the property owner affected may file with said clerk his written acceptance thereof. If the property owner does not file such acceptance within said six-month period, the property owner shall be deemed to have accepted such assessment. Said clerk shall thereupon notify the Comptroller and the secretary of such acceptance. If the amount to be paid by the state for such real property, after deducting any benefits which have been assessed, does not exceed fifteen thousand dollars, said clerk shall send a certified copy of the assessment and the acceptance thereof to the secretary and the Comptroller, and the Comptroller shall, upon receipt thereof, draw his order upon the Treasurer in favor of such property owner for the amount due him under such assessment. If the amount of such assessment, after deducting any such benefits, exceeds fifteen thousand dollars, said clerk shall not certify the same to the Comptroller until the assessment has been approved as reasonable in amount by a [state] JUDGE trial referee. If such [state] JUDGE trial referee approves such assessment, said clerk shall thereupon send a certified copy of the assessment and the acceptance thereof and a certificate that the same has been so approved to the secretary and to the Comptroller, and the Comptroller shall, upon receipt thereof, draw his order upon the Treasurer in favor of such property owner for the amount due him on such assessment. If such [state] JUDGE trial referee does not approve such assessment, said clerk shall notify the Attorney General and the secretary and the latter may file an amended assessment.

Sec. 6. Section 32-389 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

Any person claiming to be aggrieved by the assessment of such damages or such benefits by the secretary may, at any time within six months after the same has been so filed, apply to the superior court for the judicial district of Hartford-New Britain for a reassessment of such damages or such benefits so far as the same affect such applicant, and said court, after causing notice of the pendency of such application to be given to said secretary, shall appoint a [state] JUDGE trial referee to make such reassessment of such damages or such benefits. Such [state] JUDGE trial referee, having given at least ten days' notice to the parties interested of the time and place of hearing, shall hear the applicant and said secretary, shall view the real property and take such testimony as such [state] JUDGE trial referee deems material and shall thereupon reassess such damages and benefits so far as they affect such applicant. If the amount of the reassessment of such damages awarded to any such property owner exceeds the amount of the assessment of such damages by the secretary for such real property, such [state] JUDGE trial referee shall award to such property owner such appraisal fees as such [state] JUDGE trial referee determines to be reasonable. If no appeal to the Appellate Court is filed within the time allowed by law, or if one is filed and the proceedings have terminated in a final judgment finding the amount due the real property owner, the clerk shall send a certified copy of the assessment of the secretary and of the judgment to the Comptroller, who shall, upon receipt thereof, draw his order upon the Treasurer in favor of the real property owner for the amount due him as damages. The pendency of any such application for reassessment shall not prevent or delay the construction of the stadium facility or practice facility. As used in this section, ["state] "JUDGE trial referee" means a state referee appointed pursuant to subdivision (1) or (2) of subsection (a) of section 52-434 AS AMENDED BY SECTION 8 OF THIS ACT and designated a trial referee pursuant to subsection (b) of said section.

Sec. 7. Section 51-183b of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

Any judge of the Superior Court and any [state] JUDGE trial referee who has the power to render judgment, who has commenced the trial of any civil cause, shall have power to continue such trial and shall render judgment not later than one hundred and twenty days from the completion date of the trial of such civil cause. The parties may waive the provisions of this section.

Sec. 8. Section 52-434 of the general statutes, as amended by section 2 of public act 95-80 and section 30 of public act 95-225, is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) (1) Each judge of the Supreme Court, each judge of the Appellate Court, each judge of the Superior Court and each judge of the Court of Common Pleas who ceases or has ceased to hold office because of retirement other than under the provisions of section 51-49 and who is an elector and a resident of this state shall be a state referee for the remainder of his term of office as a judge and shall be eligible for appointment as a state referee during the remainder of his life in the manner prescribed by law for the appointment of a judge of the court of which he is a member. The Superior Court may refer any civil, nonjury case or with the written consent of the parties or their attorneys, any civil jury case pending before the court in which the issues have been closed to such a state referee who shall have and exercise the powers of the Superior Court in respect to trial, judgment and appeal in the case. The Superior Court may, with the consent of the parties or their attorneys, refer any criminal case to such a state referee who shall have and exercise the powers of the Superior Court in respect to trial, judgment, sentencing and appeal in the case. (2) Each judge of the Circuit Court who has ceased to hold office because of retirement other than under the provisions of section 51-49 and who is an elector and a resident of this state shall be a state referee for the remainder of his term of office as a judge and shall be eligible for appointment as a state referee during the remainder of his life in the manner prescribed by law for the appointment of a judge of the court of which he is a member, to whom the Superior Court may, with the written consent of the parties or their attorneys, refer any case pending in court in which the issues have been closed and which the judges of the Superior Court may establish by rule to be the kind of case which may be heard by such referees. The referee shall hear any such case so referred and report the facts to the court by which the case was referred. (3) Each judge of the Juvenile Court who ceases or has ceased to hold office because of retirement other than under the provisions of section 51-49 and who is an elector and a resident of this state shall be a state referee for the remainder of his term of office as a judge and shall be eligible for appointment as a state referee during the remainder of his life in the manner prescribed by law for the appointment of a judge of the court of which he is a member, to whom a judge before whom any juvenile matter is pending may, with the written consent of the child concerned, either of his parents or his guardian or his attorney, refer any juvenile matter pending. The referee shall hear any matter so referred and report the facts to the court for the district from which the matter was referred. (4) In addition to the state referees who are appointed pursuant to subdivision (1), (2) or (3) of this [section] SUBSECTION, the Chief Justice may appoint, from qualified members of the bar of the state, who are electors and residents of this state, as many state referees as he may from time to time deem advisable or necessary. No appointment of a member of the bar may be for a term of more than one year. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (f) of this section, state referees appointed by the Chief Justice from members of the bar shall receive such reasonable compensation and expenses as may be determined by the Chief Justice.

(b) The Chief Justice may designate, from among the state referees, JUDGE trial referees to whom criminal and civil cases and juvenile matters may be referred. Criminal cases and civil cases of an adversary nature shall be referred only to state referees who are designated as trial referees. Juvenile matters shall be referred only to trial referees who are specifically designated to hear juvenile cases. No such designation may be for a term of more than one year.

(c) Each hearing by a state referee shall be held in a suitable room, to be provided by the Office of the Chief Court Administrator, in a courthouse in the judicial district where the case is pending unless the parties or their attorneys stipulate in writing that the hearing may be held elsewhere.

(d) Each state referee may have the attendance of a sheriff or deputy sheriff at any hearing before him. The sheriff or deputy sheriff shall receive the same compensation provided for attendance at regular sessions of the court from which the case was referred and such compensation shall be taxed by the state referee in the same manner as similar costs are taxed by the judges of the court.

(e) Each state referee may compel the attendance of any witness summoned to appear before him at any hearing, in the same manner as the attendance of any witness may be compelled in the Superior Court, and may punish for any act of contempt committed in his presence while engaged in the hearing in the same manner and to the same extent as judges of the Superior Court.

(f) Each state referee shall receive, for acting as a referee or as a single auditor or committee of any court or for performing duties assigned by the Chief Court Administrator with the approval of the Chief Justice, in addition to the retirement salary, the sum of one hundred sixty dollars and expenses, including mileage, for each day a state referee is so engaged, said sums to be taxed by the court making the reference in the same manner as other court expenses.

(g) A [state] JUDGE trial referee may participate in an alternative dispute resolution program approved by STA-FED ADR, Inc. in any year commencing July first provided such referee performed the duties of a [state] JUDGE trial referee or a senior judge for at least seventy-five days during the preceding year, except that (1) for the year commencing July 1, 1993, a [state] JUDGE trial referee may participate in said alternative dispute resolution program without having performed the duties of a [state] JUDGE trial referee or senior judge for seventy-five days during the preceding year and (2) a [state] JUDGE trial referee may participate in said alternative dispute resolution program from the date such referee assumes such status, through the completion of the year commencing July first following such date without having satisfied the seventy-five-day requirement. Any state referee who participates in said alternative dispute resolution program pursuant to subsection (g) of section 51-50c without having satisfied the seventy-five-day requirement set forth in said subsection shall not be eligible to participate in said program pursuant to this subsection without having satisfied the seventy-five-day requirement set forth in this subsection.

Approved May 2, 1996. Effective October 1, 1996.

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