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The state's highest court is the Supreme Court. It is composed of the Chief Justice, six associate justices, and one chief justice. Justices who are eligible but have not reached the age of 70 can elect to retain their court membership and take senior status.
To determine whether there have been any legal errors, the Supreme Court reviews all decisions of the Superior Court. It also reviews certain decisions of the Appellate court.
Like the Supreme Court's Supreme Court, an Appellate Court reviews Superior Court decisions to determine if there were any errors of law. It makes its decision based on the record, briefs, and oral argument.
All legal controversies are heard by the Superior Court, except those that fall under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Probate Court. The Superior Court may appeal Probate Court cases.
The Superior Court is composed of four main trial divisions: criminal, civil, family, and housing.
Connecticut also has probate courts that have jurisdiction over estates of deceased people, testamentary trusts and conservators. They can also handle the commitment of the mentally ill, guardians, minor estates, and wills.
The first European settlers to Connecticut were Dutchmen, who established Fort Hoop in Hartford near the confluence between the Park and Connecticut Rivers. The Dutch colony of New Netherland claimed half of Connecticut at first. It included a lot of land between the Connecticut and Delaware Rivers. However, the English established the first major settlements in Connecticut in the 1630s. Thomas Hooker, a Massachusetts Bay Colony leader, founded the Connecticut Colony. Other settlers from Massachusetts also founded the Saybrook Colony or the New Haven Colony. The New Haven and Connecticut colonies created documents of Fundamental Orders. These documents are considered to be the first constitutions in America. The three colonies were merged in 1662 under a royal charter. Connecticut became a crown colony. Connecticut was among the Thirteen Colonies that rejected British rule during the American Revolution.