ANNAPOLIS, Md. – The Maryland Judiciary announced today that it will restrict operations to Phase II of its five-phased progressive reopening plan to respond to the surge in COVID-19 cases in Maryland. 

Maryland Court of Appeals Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera has issued five new administrative orders, one of which requires that beginning Monday, November 30, 2020, the Judiciary’s Phase II operations plan will be in effect. Clerks’ offices in the District Court of Maryland and circuit courts throughout the state will remain open to the public for emergency purposes and by appointment for other matters.

The Judiciary, since October 5, 2020, had resumed full operations under Phase V, including jury trials, with health protocols in place statewide.

“The Maryland Judiciary continues to proactively monitor the current COVID-19 public health crisis in Maryland, therefore, the Judiciary must alter its court operations for the second time in two weeks in order to protect the health and wellbeing of all,” said Maryland Court of Appeals Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera. “COVID-19 cases in Maryland are increasing at a rapid pace and with the Thanksgiving Day holiday upon us, it is imperative that the Judiciary responds to the current health situation by restricting court operations further. As always, the Judiciary will keep the public apprised of any changes in operations and ensure that as many of the core functions of the Judiciary will remain available to the extent the emergency conditions allow.” 

The new administrative orders can be found on the Maryland Judiciary’s website. The administrative orders include:

In Phase II, the District Court and circuit courts will hear specific case types remotely or in-person, but jury trials will not be held until the Judiciary is able to re-enter Phase V of its resumption of operations plan. Marylanders who are currently serving as jurors must contact the court. Additionally, courts across Maryland will continue using technology for remote proceedings, either by video or telephone, but it will vary by court location.

Visit the Maryland Judiciary’s website at https://www.mdcourts.gov/coronavirusphasedreopening to view the case types being heard in Phase II, which include in the District Court criminal, traffic, civil, domestic violence, peace orders, Extreme Risk Protective Orders, and landlord-tenant cases. In the Circuit Courts, civil, criminal, family, Child in Need of Assistance (CINA), and juvenile matters will continue to be heard. 

Individuals who have business with the courts should check the Judiciary’s website, www.mdcourts.gov, or call the clerk’s office for information before arriving at a courthouse location.

All court visitors and employees are required to wear a face mask, submit to a no-contact temperature check, a verbal or written COVID-19 health screening questionnaire, and adhere to social distancing guidelines. 

Find more information on COVID-19 and court operations online at the Maryland Courts website.


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