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News release, Maryland Judiciary

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – With limited exceptions, including certain emergency matters, the Maryland state courts will remain closed to the public through May 1, 2020, due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Maryland Court of Appeals Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera issued the Administrative Order Extending the Length of Statewide Judiciary Restricted Operations Due to the COVID-19 Emergency on March 25. The new order replaces the order issued on March 16 that closed the courts to the public, reduced staffing in courthouses, and authorized essential court staff to process emergency court matters.

Courts throughout the state will continue to conduct remote proceedings using various communication platforms consistent with the Administrative Order on the Implementation of Remote Electronic Participation in Judicial Proceedings and the Administrative Order on Remote Hearings Held During the COVID-19 Emergency.

All non-emergency matters scheduled for a court hearing or proceeding, including jury trials, scheduled to begin March 17 through May 1 will be postponed unless otherwise noted. Scheduling orders issued in civil and family law matters will be addressed by motion on a case-by-case basis.

Additionally, the Administrative Order on Suspension of Foreclosures and Evictions During the COVID-19 Emergency issued on March 18 has been rescinded and replaced by a new administrative order. Foreclosures of residential property, foreclosures of the right to redeem residential property sold in a tax sale, residential evictions, and executions on residential real property under levy or lien are stayed and new or pending types of these actions will be accepted but not processed during this time.

Emergency matters include, but are not limited to, domestic violence petitions, peace order petitions, family law emergencies, extreme risk protective orders, bail reviews, juvenile detention hearings, and search warrants. These matters will continue to be handled by the courts, which are staffed on a reduced basis, through May 1, unless the Chief Judge issues a further order.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted the Maryland Judiciary to take further action to protect court visitors and Judiciary personnel,” said Maryland Court of Appeals Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera. “The courts remain committed in this challenging time to ensuring the public’s justice needs are met to the extent possible during this public health emergency.”

The Maryland Judiciary’s electronic filing system, referred to as MDEC, remains available and is required to be used in all MDEC counties. In non-MDEC counties or for self-represented litigants, filings can be mailed to your local clerk’s office or can be dropped off in a dropbox.

The Maryland Judiciary’s online portal CaseSearch continues to be updated as clerk’s offices across the state process filings during this public health emergency.

Members of the media are permitted inside courthouses while the order is in effect. If you are a member of the media and intend to enter a courthouse, the Judiciary strongly urges you to speak with your management teams and take into consideration the guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Maryland Department of Health. The Maryland Judiciary is taking these steps to reduce the number of people in its courthouses to mitigate the potential for spreading the virus. The Judiciary asks that you present a valid media credential when you enter the courthouse and pass through security. A media credential should include your first and last name, a picture, and the name of the media organization you are representing.

For more information about the impact on the Maryland Judiciary due to COVID-19, please visit: https://mdcourts.gov/coronavirusupdate.