The Judicial District of Ansonia-Milford was officially established July 1, 1978.Office of the State’s Attorney
Ansonia-Milford Judicial District

History of the Ansonia-Milford Judicial District

State’s Attorneys of the Ansonia-Milford Judicial District

John Kelly

Michael Dearington

Mary M. Galvin

Kevin D. Lawlor

Margaret E. Kelley

1639 - Milford was settled.

1642 - Derby was settled.

1652 - The borough of Ansonia was settled.

1665 - The Charter of the Connecticut Colony abolished the Particular Court, and two new levels of courts were established: the Court of Assistants in 1665, and the county courts one year later.  At this time, most of what is now the Judicial District of Ansonia-Milford fell under the authority of the King’s Attorney for New Haven County, apart from Shelton, which existed in the jurisdiction of Fairfield County.

1678 - Beacon Falls was settled by residents of Derby.

1775 - The town of Derby was incorporated.

1789 - The town of Shelton was incorporated from part of the town of Stratford.

1798 - The town of Oxford was incorporated.

c. 1800 - Justices of the peace were commonly authorized to take jurisdiction over small actions. As towns were incorporated, the General Assembly authorized the creation of town and borough courts in order to handle small cases. Justices of the peace presided over these courts.

1818 - The first Connecticut Constitution was adopted, setting forth the doctrine of separation of powers and establishing the three separate branches of government. This constitution created "... a Supreme Court of Errors, a Superior Court, and such inferior courts as the general assembly shall from time to time ordain and establish."

1822 - The town of Orange was formed from North Milford, and the Town of West Haven was formed from the West Farms district of New Haven.

1850 - The town of Seymour was incorporated.

1871 - The town of Beacon Falls was incorporated.

1884 - Ansonia was chartered as a borough of Derby.

1885 - County courts were abolished, and their functions were transferred to a strengthened Superior Court. As the volume of cases continued to increase, however, the General Assembly found it necessary to create a series of Courts of Common Pleas.

1889 - Ansonia was chartered as a separate town from Derby.

1893Derby and Ansonia are incorporated as cities.

1905 - Construction of the Ansonia City Hall was completed. This new building replaced the old borough court property on Water Street, and housed police headquarters, city court, city clerk and tax collector under one roof. 

1915 - Shelton was incorporated as a city.

1921 - Connecticut's first juvenile courts were established in several towns, and in 1942, a state-wide Juvenile Court came into existence.

1941 - The General Assembly enacted legislation to establish a single Court of Common Pleas for the entire state with judges subject to periodic reassignment on a statewide basis. Prior to this legislation, judges sat only in the counties to which they had been appointed.

1959 - The town of Milford, including the Borough of Woodmont, was incorporated as the City of Milford.

1960 - The General Assembly abolished county government.  The municipal courts and trial justice system were replaced by a state-wide Circuit Court. The three-level system of state, county and municipal courts was dissolved in favor of a completely state-maintained system.

1966 - The City of Milford Circuit Court was built, adjoining the Police Department at 14 West River Street, facing what is now Constitution Drive.

December 31, 1974 - The Circuit Court was merged with the Court of Common Pleas. Circuit Court judges were elevated to the Court of Common Pleas.

1976 - The General Assembly enacted Public Act 76-436 calling for “Courthouse facilities [to] be maintained in either Ansonia or Derby and in Milford for the Superior Court serving the Judicial District of Ansonia-Milford.”

July 1, 1978 - The Ansonia-Milford Judicial District is established, and John Kelly is named the first State’s Attorney for the new district. Geographical Area No. 5 is established, including a courthouse in Ansonia (at the Town Court location in Main Street) for cases originating in Ansonia, Beacon Falls, Derby, Seymour, and Shelton, and serving Milford and Orange at G.A. No. 5 at Milford (on the site of the Milford Circuit Court).

July 1979 - The Milford Police Department was moved to its current location at 430 Boston Post Road, and the West River Street building remained, now devoted exclusively to the Ansonia-Milford at Milford Courthouse.

1984 - An amendment to the Connecticut Constitution (Article XXIII) establishes the Division of Criminal Justice as an independent agency within the executive branch of state government, transferring the prosecutorial function from the judicial branch to the executive branch. Prior to the amendment, prosecutors were appointed by the Judicial Branch.

1985 - The G.A. No. 5 courthouse was moved to its current location at 106 Elizabeth Street in Derby.  The Judicial District Courthouse was moved from Ansonia to the West River Street building in Milford.  The State’s Attorney’s office is now in Milford Superior Court.

1989 - The Judicial Branch established a 22nd Geographical Area for court jurisdiction. West Haven was added to the Jurisdiction of the Ansonia-Milford Court. West Haven and Milford were assigned to the new G.A. No. 22 at Milford, and Orange was moved to the jurisdiction of the G.A. No. 5 court in Derby.


A History of Community Prosecution in the Ansonia-Milford Judicial District

Under then-State’s Attorney Mary M. Galvin, the Ansonia-Milford State’s Attorney’s Office created the Neighborhood Prosecutor Program.  Initially in 2000, it was a federally funded program in the City of West Haven designed to reduce teen crime and improve the quality of life for the citizens of West Haven.  The program consisted of a prosecutor and interns who were assigned to the program and were active in the community outside of the office.  The program focused on early intervention and enhanced attention to young offenders and had a dramatic impact on quality of life crime in that city.  Through the program, we learned that having the prosecutor active in the community has helped change negative perceptions of the criminal justice system held by many citizens.  The program’s federal funding was terminated in 2005.  The lessons learned from it have been applied to all the towns in the District.  While there is no designated neighborhood prosecutor assigned to the Milford or Derby courthouses, this office continues to focus on the prosecution of quality of life crimes and those involving our youth and elderly.