From the Blog

Spotlight: Hartford Federal Court

Until 1963, the United States District Court in Hartford was headquartered at the old Post Office and Courthouse now known as the William R. Cotter Federal Building at 135-149 High Street. Outgrowing the facilities there, the seat of court at Hartford has been at the Abraham A. Ribicoff Federal Building at 450 Main Street, Hartford, CT for the last 45 years or so.

At the Abraham A. Ribicoff Federal Building, the District Court shares space with other federal government offices, including the Immigration Court and Tax Court. As the federal footprint has grown, space has become tight and court officials have been looking to expand for some time.

Good news, rumor has it that Connecticut is in line for a new federal courthouse in Hartford. The Hartford Courant has reported that “[t]he U.S. General Services Administration is examining building design and locating potential sites in downtown Hartford after concluding last year a new courthouse is needed, [said] David Sellers, a spokesman for the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.”

“Construction of a new courthouse is needed to address significant on-going security, space and building condition deficiencies,” Sellers said. “In fact, the project is the judiciary’s number one construction priority for the fiscal year 2020.”

The prospect of the new courthouse is fairly exciting for the District of Connecticut.

Assigned Judges & Magistrates

Hartford has six federal judges assigned there, including 3 senior judges: Hon. Vanessa L. Bryant, Hon. Robert N. Chatigny, Hon. Alfred V. Covello, Hon. Michael P. Shea, Hon. Dominic J. Squatrito, Hon. Alvin W. Thompson.

The assigned magistrate judges include Hon. Donna F. Martinez and Hon. Robert A. Richardson.


Because this is a mixed federal building and courthouse, there are two security lines, one run by Federal Protective Service contractors and the other by the US Marshals. Both are airport-level, often requiring belt and shoes removal. Be sure to build extra time into your schedule to handle security.


From downstate, Hartford is a long slog up Interstate 91. Traffic can be unpredictable. Although new rail commuter rail service exists between New Haven and Hartford, the Hartford courthouse is a long walk from station. Amtrak services Hartford as well. Hartford is easily accessible via air to Bradley International Airport. Lodging inside Hartford proper have vastly improved over the last ten years with the Hartford Marriott Downtown, the rebirth of the boutique Godwin Hotel and with other quality construction on the horizon.

Because the courthouse is located somewhat south of downtown Hartford, nearby amenities can be slim. There are few restaurants and delis within walking distance. Look at Peppercorn’s Grill, the New York Market & Deli and Cornerstone for a mid-day meal.


Like most cities in Connecticut, Hartford is balancing its budget with parking fines. The meter readers are aggressive and quick. There are several nearby lots that offer day rates, including the Propark Hudson lot, expensive by regional standards. Sheldon Street, one-way between Pulaski Circle and Main Street, offers up to 10 hour by meter and up to 4 hours by meter between Main and Prospect. If you can get them, that is the way to go.


If you have a question about multi-jurisdictional practice in Connecticut, appearing pro hac vice in state court or federal court in Connecticut, local counsel services, or appearing as a visiting lawyer before a state agency, municipality or in an arbitration proceeding, please feel free to call Attorney John Radshaw in New Haven today at (203) 654-9695. For more information about Attorney Radshaw and his practice, visit