MARYLAND JUDICIARY (updated as of April 3, 2020)

Below are recent updates from the Judiciary and local Courts. We recognize that there may still be many questions even after these new Orders and we will continue to update this page and our members as we learn more.

Please scroll through this page for the following updates:

  • Updated Administrative Orders from the Judiciary
  • Court of Appeals Updates
  • Court of Special Appeals Updates
  • Local Court Updates by Jurisdiction for each Maryland District and Circuit Court

UPDATED April 3, 2020:

1. Today the Judiciary issued an Administrative Order on emergency tolling or suspension of statutes of limitations and statutory and rules deadlines related to the initiation of matters and certain statutory and rules deadlines in pending matters. The Order includes the following important changes:
  • All statutory and rules deadlines related to the initiation of matters required to be filed in a Maryland state court, including statutes of limitations, shall be tolled or suspended, as applicable, effective March 16, 2020, by the number of days that the courts are closed to the public due to the COVID-19 emergency by order of the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals
  • All statutes and rules deadlines to hear pending matters, including, but not limited to juvenile matters, shall be tolled or suspended, as applicable, effective March 16, 2020, by the number of days that the courts are closed to the public due to the COVID-19 emergency by order of the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals;
  • Such deadlines further shall be extended by a period to be described in an order by the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals terminating the COVID-19 emergency period
  • Any such filings made within the period to be described in (b) shall relate back to the day before the deadline expired.
  • To the extent that this Administrative Order conflicts with extant Administrative Orders or local administrative orders, this Administrative Order shall prevail, except as provided in the Administrative Order Expanding Statewide Judiciary Restricted Operations Due to the COVID-19 Emergency filed on April 3, 2020, and the Administrative Order on Expanding the Statewide Suspension of Jury Trials and Suspending Grand Juries, filed April 3, 2020
2. The Judiciary also expanded the statewide suspension of jury trials by Administrative Order.
3. The Judiciary issued an Administrative Order expanding restricted operations due to the COVID-19 emergency to allow remote filings for non-MDEC jurisdictions.

April 2, 2020:

BALTIMORE CITY CIRCUIT COURT: Administrative Judge Carrion issued a letter regarding criminal and civil filings and civil scheduling order deadlines, emergency marriage licenses, describing a new policy for filings emergency and non-emergency matters, and requesting that individuals wait to file any motions to modify scheduling orders until after the court’s reopening so that the court can focus on emergency matters at this time. The Court is working on reopening strategies.

CARROLL COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT: Administrative Judge Hecker has issued an Administrative Order suspending and extending deadlines in all scheduling orders in civil and family law matters.

MONTGOMERY COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT: Judge Greenberg from Montgomery County Circuit Court issued a letter regarding criminal and civil filings and civil scheduling order deadlines. He urges everyone to take care of their health, discusses a new policy for filings emergency and non-emergency matters, and requests that individuals wait to file any motions to modify scheduling orders until after the court’s reopening so that the court can focus on emergency matters at this time. He also provides an update on marriage licenses during the emergency.

PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT: Administrative Judge Adams issued a letter today that urges everyone to take care of their health, discusses a new policy for filings emergency and non-emergency matters, and requests that individuals wait to file any motions to modify scheduling orders until after the court’s reopening so that the court can focus on emergency matters at this time.

March 31, 2020:

Today the Judiciary issued a new Administrative Order Rescheduling April Arguments and Postponing May Arguments (2020.03.31).

  • Oral arguments scheduled for April 31, May 1, and May 3 are postponed until further notice of the Court.
  • Cases previously scheduled for oral argument on April 2 and April 3 that were previously postponed by the March 17 Administrative Order are rescheduled for May 12 and May 13, respectively.
  • The Court is considering holding oral argument by electronic means and will advise parties at least 10 days in advance regarding format and other participation procedures.
  • The Court will entertain requests pursuant to Maryland Rule 8-523(a)(2) by parties involved in cases that have either been postponed or rescheduled by
    this Order to submit those appeals for consideration on brief.

March 27, 2020:

Today the Maryland Judiciary issued an Administrative Order on the Permissive Use of MDEC System for Appellate Filings During the COVID-19 Emergency, available here. Counsel and self-represented parties may file in new and pending matters before the Court of Special Appeals or the Court of Appeals all papers through the MDEC system for cases originating in Baltimore City, Montgomery County, and Prince George’s County, effective nunc pro tunc on March 16, 2020.

Maryland Judiciary Statement on Matters Concerning Children and Families:

Today, the Maryland Judiciary issued a Statement on Matters Concerning Children & Families, including custody, parenting time, child support, protective and peace orders, and self-help centers:

With schools closed and courthouses restricting operations to reduce exposure to COVID-19, custodians who live apart might be confused about changing family situations and their court orders. This statement is intended to clarify concerns you may have regarding these matters.

Custody and Parenting Time: All court orders for a child’s custody, parenting time, and child support are still in effect. In some situations, if permitted under the court order, custodians can jointly adjust their shared parenting responsibilities in ways that they agree are best for the children. If custodians are not able to agree, the court order controls. Working with limited staff, the Circuit Courts are only hearing family law emergencies (custody, child access, visitation, and support) where there is a credible risk of imminent and substantial physical or emotional harm to a child or parent.

Child Support: You must continue to pay your child support as ordered. If you have questions or need help, whether you are paying or receiving child support, please call the Department of Human Services’ Customer Call Center at 1-800-322-6347.

Protective Orders, Peace Orders, and Extreme Risk Protective Orders (ERPO): Pursuant to Maryland Court of Appeals Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera’s Administrative Order issued March 25, 2020, all new protective, peace, and extreme risk protective order (ERPO) petitions will be handled by commissioners. Interim Orders remain in effect until action is taken by the court. If you are in need of protection and are seeking a peace or protective order, or an ERPO, call the District Court Commissioner in your county or Baltimore City. Your request will be heard. Call first to provide information and for instructions on where to go.

Maryland Courts Self-Help Centers: To talk to a lawyer about your family law matter, call 410-260-1392 from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., or speak to one by chat from 8:30 a.m. until 8:00 p.m.

The statement is available here: Maryland Judiciary Statement on Children and Families (2020.03.27).

Revised Policy on Interim Peace, Protective, and Extreme Risk Protective Orders

A revised policy on Interim Orders during the emergency as of March 27, 2020 from Chief Judge Morrissey of the District Court:

Pursuant to Chief Judge Barbera’s March 25, 2020 Administrative Order Extending the Length of the Statewide Judiciary Restricted Operations Due to the COVID-19 Emergency:

1. All new protective, peace and extreme risk protective order petitions will be handled by commissioners.

2. All new Interim Orders will have a corresponding Temporary Hearing scheduled for May 4, 2020 or May 5, 2020, unless otherwise ordered by an Administrative Judge, or a Judge designated by the Administrative Judge.

3. Interim Orders will remain in effect until action is taken by the Court.

4. The commissioners shall provide a notice with all paperwork to petitioners and respondents advising them that the court may contact them with a different hearing date.

5. Administrative Judges, or a Judge designated by the Administrative Judge, have the discretion to review each Interim Order with special attention paid to those Interim Protective Orders that have at issue: (1) orders to vacate the home; (2) the granting or
denial of custody of any child; (3) a firearm. After review, and if a hearing is determined to be necessary, any Temporary Order hearings should be set within seven (7) days of the Interim Order.

6. Commissioners are encouraged to request as much contact information from the parties as possible as any temporary hearings may occur remotely via video, audio or electronic means.

7. Staff will notify the parties of any scheduled hearing date through any means available.

8. If the courts continue to function only on a limited basis as of May 4, 2020, a further advice will be given.
The revised policy is available here: Revised Policy on Orders (2020.03.27).

March 25, 2020:

The Maryland Judiciary issued two Administrative Orders today – the first extending the length of the emergency operations through May 1, 2020, and another Suspending Foreclosures, Evictions, and Other Ejectments Involving Residences:

Administrative Order Extending Length of Restricted Operations (2020.03.25)

Extension of Length of Statewide Judiciary Restrictions Due to COVID-19 Emergency

The March 25 Administrative Order Extending the Length of Restricted Operations incorporated many of the same terms of the March 16 Order, with the following changes or additions:

  • Extends restrictions through May 1, 2020: All courts will continue to have emergency operations only and will be closed to the public effective March 17, 2020, through May 1, 2020 (previously through April 3, 2020), pending further order of the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals.
  • Clarification regarding peace orders: Circuit Courts will hear peace order petitions for juvenile respondents. District Court Commissioners shall handle new peace order petitions with adult respondents.
  • All other matters, including jury trials, scheduled to be heard beginning March 17, 2020, through May 1, 2020, are hereby postponed, unless otherwise ordered by the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals.
  • Remote proceedings: Courts are authorized to conduct remote proceedings using communication platforms consistent with the Administrative Order Regarding Remote Electronic Participation (June 18, 2018) and the Administrative Order Regarding Remote Hearings (March 20, 2020).
  • Scheduling orders in family and civil law matters shall be addressed on.a case by case basis by the administrative judge or his or her designee consistent with the Court’s case management plan.
  • Processing filings: Clerks of the Circuit Courts, the Court of Special Appeals, the Court of Appeals, and the District Court of Maryland shall continue to process MDEC or other electronic filings and paper filings to the extent possible with essential staff working onsite, staff teleworking, or both.
  • Rescinds the March 16, 2020 Administrative Order on Statewide Closings of the Courts to the Public.

Administrative Order Suspension of Foreclosures, Evictions, and Ejectments (2020.03.25)

Suspension of Foreclosures, Evictions, and Other Ejectments Involving Residences

The March 25 Administrative Order on Suspension of Foreclosures, Evictions, and Other Ejectments Involving Residences during the COVID-19 Emergency states the following:

  • Undue hardship: Foreclosures of residential properties, foreclosures of the rights of redemption of residential properties, executions on residential real property under levy or subject to a lien, and actions for possession (ejectments) of residential properties by ground lease holders present the strong likelihood of creating undue hardship if completed during the pendency of the emergency.
  • Immediate stay: All proceedings related to foreclosures of residential properties, foreclosures of the rights of redemption of residential properties after a tax sale, executions on residential real property under levy or subject to a lien, and actions for possession (ejectments) of residential properties by ground lease holders pending in the circuit courts shall be stayed effective immediately, subject to the exception noted in (d) regarding consideration of a consent motion.
  • Residential evictions: Residential eviction matters pending in the District Court of Maryland and all pending residential eviction orders shall be stayed effective immediately.
  • New filings: New foreclosures of residential property, foreclosures of rights of redemption of a residential property after a tax sale, actions for possession (ejectments) of residential properties by ground lease holders, executions on residential real property under levy or subject to a lien, and all other actions for possession (residential evictions) shall be stayed upon filing.
  • Exception to stay – consideration by consent motion: Where the parties can demonstrate that a delay of a residential foreclosure will place an undue burden on the defendant, a consent motion to lift stay to allow ratification, signed by the defendant, shall be considered on an expedited basis.
  • Rescinds the Administrative Order on Suspension of Foreclosures and Evictions During the COVID-19 Emergency filed on March 18, 2020.

March 23, 2020:

Statewide Courthouse Access Screenings for All State Operated Facilities and Buildings

Effective March 23, 2020, anyone seeking entrance into a State-operated facility, including all District Court buildings, must be asked initial screening questions, per the new protocols: Statewide Courthouse Access Screenings for All State Operated Facilities and Buildings.

For infection control purposes, you will be asked the following questions:

Have you had any of the following symptoms in the last seven (7) days: fever or chills, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath or any other flu-like symptoms?
In the past week, do you know if you have been in close (less than 6 feet), prolonged contact (more than 2-3 minutes) with someone with fever, cough, shortness of breath, flu-like symptoms, or a diagnosis of COVID-19?

We ask that you maintain a distance of six (6) feet from the screener during this process.

If you answer YES to any question on the Initial Screening Questionnaire OR refuse to participate in the screening process, you will be refused entrance and provided with a contact number so that you may be assisted.

Thank you for your help in reducing the spread of this virus during this public health emergency.

General Judiciary Updates – as of March 23

The Maryland Judiciary has a page with COVID-19 updates, including: Administrative Orders of the Judiciary, Executive Orders from the Governor, and court closing and statuses.

The Judiciary also directs the public and attorneys to the following page for the latest statements and advisories from each court location.

The spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) is impacting the daily operation of the Maryland Judiciary. Maryland courts are currently closed to the public; however, the courts will continue to hear certain types of emergency matters. Most courthouses are operating with essential staff only.

The Judiciary is closely monitoring the situation and evaluating our ongoing response to this public health emergency. The general public, members of the media, and attorneys should reference the COVID-19 webpages for the latest information on court operations.

Frequently Updated Information from the Judiciary:

Court closings related to coronavirus

Statements and closure notices from courts by location

Information for the Public

News Releases

Administrative Orders

March 20, 2020

  • The Court issued a Maryland Administrative Order on Remote Hearings (2020.03.20) authorizing remote proceedings to the extent that the courts have the capacity to hear emergency and other matters remotely with access to members of the public as justice requires. Courts shall notify all participants to the proceeding if a matter will proceed remotely. Courts are authorized to conduct remote proceedings using communication platforms, consistent with the Administrative Order on the Implementation of Remote Electronic Participation in Judicial Proceedings filed June 18, 2018. ) Proceedings shall be on the record using existing capacity or, to the extent necessary, the capacity offered in the communication platforms utilized

March 19, 2020

  • The Court issued an update for the public regarding court cases that will be heard, filing deadlines and filing processes, and self-help centers and law libraries.
  • Litigants and attorneys may contact their local Circuit Court, District Court, or District Court Commissioner for further information.
  • If you are in need of protection and are seeking a peace or protective order, or an extreme risk protective order, call the District Court Commissioner in your county or Baltimore City. Your request will be heard. Call first to provide information and for instructions on where to go.

New Interim Peace & Protective Orders
All new interim peace order, protective order, or extreme risk protective orders (orders issued by Commissioners) will have a hearing on April 6, 2020, or April 7, 2020.

Interim Orders Issued Between March 13 and March 17
All interim peace & protective orders issued between March 13 and March 17 will be set in for a Temporary Hearing on April 6, 2020, unless a judge orders otherwise.

Some Cases May be Expedited
Judges will be reviewing interim orders that involve an order to vacate the home, an issue of child custody, or firearms. If a judge determines a hearing is required, a temporary protective order hearing will be held within 7 days of the interim order. The court will notify you if your case will have an expedited hearing.

  • Types of cases that are still being heard
    The courts will continue to hear the following types of cases:In the Circuit Courts:

    • bail reviews
    • bench warrants
    • arraignments for detained defendants
    • juvenile detention hearings
    • emergency evaluation petitions
    • quarantine and isolation petitions
    • extradition cases
    • body attachments
    • extreme risk protective order appeals
  • In the District Court:
    • bail reviews
    • bench warrants
    • emergency evaluation petitions
    • quarantine and isolation violations
    • body attachments
  • District Court Commissioners (Call first. See the Directory):
    • new protective order petitions
    • new peace order petitions
    • new extreme risk protective order petitions
    • initial appearances
    • applications for statement of charges
    • acceptance of bail bonds
    • bench warrant satisfactions
  • If you are not sure about your case, call the Circuit Court or District Court.

Filing deadlines and statutes of limitations
Filing deadlines and statutes of limitations still apply, unless otherwise ordered. Maryland’s Chief Judge, Mary Ellen Barbera, has ordered that statutory and rules deadlines related to the adjudication of criminal and juvenile matters are suspended and will be extended by the number of days that the courts are closed, but for no less than 21 days after the first day the court reopens. All other rules and deadlines remain the same, including all those related to civil (non-criminal) matters.

Filing court documents while courts are closed
The court will continue to accept documents filed electronically through MDEC, by mail, and in person. If you plan to file in person, all courts have a drop box. Contact the individual court for more information on where and how to use the drop box.
During this emergency, the filing date will be considered as follows:

    • MAILED FILINGS:  the postmark date.
    • DROP BOX FILINGS: The previous business day, unless there is a timestamp on the drop box.

Self-help centers and law libraries
Walk-in self-help centers and law libraries are closed to the public at this time. The Maryland Courts Self-Help Center is available to provide help by phone and chat.
PHONE HOURS: Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Call to speak with an attorney:  410-260-1392
CHAT HOURS: Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Chat online with an attorney at: https://mdcourts.gov/selfhelp/mcshc.
The Thurgood Marshall State Law Library continues to respond to email and telephone requests. See the Maryland Law Libraries page for information on your local law library’s availability

Getting a copy of a court order
Call the Clerk’s Office in the court where your case is pending to request a copy of the document. There may be a fee for the copy.

Evictions and failure to pay rent cases
All pending evictions are stayed by order of the Chief Judge of the Maryland Court of Appeals. This court is not hearing failure to pay rent cases at this time.
Sheriff’s departments in most Maryland counties have been ordered not to conduct evictions that have already been authorized during the present emergency. You can see those orders here.
Governor Larry Hogan has issued an order requiring that the court cannot issue a judgment for possession or warrant for restitution (the documents required before you can be evicted) if you can show you suffered a loss of income due to the COVID-19 virus or the state of emergency. Individuals can file court documents and start new cases but it is not clear when those cases will be heard.

Foreclosures
Home foreclosures pending in the courts have been stayed by order of the Chief Judge of the Maryland Court of Appeals. That means if you have a foreclosure case it will not be heard until the court orders otherwise. Individuals can file court documents and start new cases but it is not clear when those cases will be heard.
Auctions are only part of the foreclosure process. Auction sales must be ratified by the court. Through the Administrative Order on foreclosures issued March 18, 2020, ratifications have been stayed by the court. Any individual that has questions regarding foreclosures should consult with their attorney or they may contact the Maryland Self Help Center (by phone) at 410-260-1392. During the COVID-19 public health emergency, phones will operate until 4:30 p.m. Online chat will operate until 8:00 p.m.

Water, electricity or other utilities
Governor Larry Hogan has issued an order requiring that no electric, gas, sewage disposal, telephone, water, cable, or internet provider can terminate your service if it is being used in your home, until the health emergency is over.
A company providing those services cannot charge you a late fee during the health emergency.

March 18, 2020

  • Foreclosures and Evictions: The Court issued a new Administrative Order on Suspension of Foreclosures and Evictions, superseding all local orders, staying all pending foreclosures and residential evictions until further notice.  New residential foreclosures, foreclosures of right of redemption after a tax sale, and evictions may be filed, but those new filings will not be processed until courts resume normal operations or unless otherwise notified.
  • Land Records: The Court also issued an Administrative Order as to Land Records, providing that clerks of courts shall process all properly filed instruments required to be recorded in the land records office of the applicable Circuit Court until further notice (electronically in jurisdictions with that capability and in drop boxes in every Circuit Court). Title searchers may conduct title searches online through the Maryland Land Records at MdLandRec.net. The website provides online access to Maryland land record documents and is provided by the Maryland Judiciary and the Maryland State Archives. Additionally, Plats.net is a digital image reference system provided by the Maryland Judiciary and the Maryland State Archives for Land Survey, Subdivision, and Condominium Plats. It preserves and makes accessible all plats filed with the Land Office and Maryland’s circuit courts.

March 17, 2020

  • Postponement of April Arguments (Court of Appeals): The Court issued an Administrative Order on Postponing April Oral Arguments in the Court of Appeals, postponing oral arguments scheduled for April 2 and April 3, 2020, until further notice. The Court will entertain requests pursuant to Maryland Rule 8-523(a)(2) by parties involved in cases scheduled to be argued on April 2, 2020 and April 3, 2020 to submit those appeals for consideration on brief.
  • Administration of Attorney Oath: The Court issued an Administrative Order on Administration of the Attorney Oath to permit the statutory oath to be administered by the Clerk, Court of Appeals, by telephone for all eligible attorney applicants. Individuals admitted via a telephonic oath must execute the statutory oath,
    acknowledging by their signature that they were administered the oath, and return the same via U.S. mail to the Court of Appeals’ Clerk’s Office.

March 16, 2020

  • All Maryland courts are closed to the public effective Monday, March 16, 2020; all staff must report to work. 
  • On Monday, March 16, 2020, at 1:00 p.m., the Court held an open meeting, on an emergency basis, in the Court of Appeals’ Court Room, 4th Floor, Robert C. Murphy Courts of Appeal Building, to consider the 204th Report of the Standing Committee on Rules of Practice & Procedure. The Court also issued an Administrative Order on the Upcoming Emergency Rules Committee Meeting.
  • Emergency Authority of Chief Judge: The Judiciary adopted several suggested amendments to the Maryland Rules by the Rules Committee. The proposed Rules allow the Chief Judge, under emergency authority, to identify alternate court locations, transfer cases if necessary, and allow pleadings to be filed in alternate locations. The Rules also permit the Chief Judge to suspend, toll, extend or grant other relief from time deadlines and requirements, including filing of appeals and the expiration of injunctive, restraining, protective, or other orders that would otherwise expire.  You can find the Rules Order and Amendments here.
  • Statewide Closings of Courts: On the evening of March 16, the Judiciary issued another Administrative Order on Statewide Judiciary Restricted Operations Due to the COVID-19 Emergency, that rescinded the Court’s earlier Administrative Order on Statewide Closings of the Courts filed March 13, 2020, and ordered the following:
  • (a) All courts in the Maryland Judiciary, court offices, administrative offices, units of the Judiciary, and the Offices of the Clerks of the Circuit Courts and the clerks’ offices of the District Court shall be restricted to emergency operations and closed with limited exceptions as described in this order beginning on March 17, 2020, through April 3, 2020, or until further order of the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals; and
  • (b) Each County and Baltimore City shall have sufficient judges to hear the emergency matters listed in section (f) each weekday during the pendency of this Administrative Order; and
  • (c) Essential personnel, as identified by administrative judges, court administrators, clerks of courts, administrative clerks, administrative heads of units of the Judiciary, shall report as required. If an employee identified as essential is unable to serve due to illness or otherwise has been excused consistent with applicable leave policies, a substitute shall be determined by that employee’s administrative head; and 
  • (d) For the duration of the emergency, all incumbent Maryland judges are hereby cross-designated to sit in any trial court in the state of Maryland; and
  • (e) For the pendency of the emergency, incumbent judges shall be available to respond in person or remotely by phone, e-mail or other electronic means, as shall be determined by their administrative judge; and
  • (f) In keeping with the urgency of the following mandatory matters and consistent with statutory requirements, such matters shall continue to be scheduled or heard, either in person or remotely pursuant to the Administrative Order on Remote Electronic Participation in Judicial Proceedings, June 18, 2018. (The court shall notify all participants necessary to the proceeding.):
    • (1) In the Court of Appeals: (A) certain election law matters (B) certain petitions for Writs of Mandamus (C) certain certified questions of law (D) quarantine and isolation matters;
    • (2) In the Court of Special Appeals: (A) requests for injunctive relief pending appeal (B) appeals in cases in which a lack of action would result in a dispositive outcome (C) appeals from quarantine and isolation petitions;
    • (3) In the Circuit Courts: (A) bail reviews/bench warrants (B) arraignments for detained defendants (C) juvenile detention hearings (D) emergency evaluation petitions (E) quarantine and isolation petitions (F) extradition cases (G) body attachments  (H) extreme risk protective order appeals All other emergency matters shall be handled pursuant to (g);
    • (4) In the District Court: (A) bail reviews/bench warrants (B) emergency evaluation petitions (C) quarantine and isolation violations (D) body attachments
    • District Court Commissioners shall handle the following matters: (A) new extreme risk protective order petitions (B) new domestic violence protective petitions (C) new peace order petitions (D) initial appearances (E) applications for statement of charges (F) acceptance of bail bonds (G) bench warrant satisfactions
    • All other emergency matters shall be handled pursuant to (g);
  • (g) For all other emergency matters including those listed below, the administrative judge or his or her designee shall review the petition, determine whether it must be heard in person, or can be heard with remote electronic participation, or can be scheduled after the emergency period has ended, or can be resolved without a hearing: (1) shelter care hearings and/or related adjudications (2) emergency delinquency hearings (3) emergency Habeas Corpus petitions (4) emergency issues in guardianship matters (5) domestic violence protective orders (6) appeals from peace orders (7) family law emergencies (8) temporary restraining orders (9) criminal competency matters (10) motions regarding: (A) extreme risk protective orders (B) domestic violence protective orders (C) peace orders (11) contempt hearings related to peace or protective orders (12) matters involving locally incarcerated defendants;
  • (h) This Administrative Order does not affect the courts’ consideration or resolution of matters that can be addressed without a proceeding that involves testimony or argument; and
  • (i) Search warrants must be addressed on a 24-hour, 7-day per week basis. Search warrants shall be handled electronically to the greatest extent possible. The administrative judges of the Circuit Courts and the District Court each shall designate a judge who is responsible to cover search warrant duty for a specified timeframe; and
  • (j) All other matters scheduled to be heard beginning March 17, 2020, through April 3, 2020, are hereby postponed, pending further order of the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals; and
  • (k) Pursuant to Maryland Rule 16-1003(a)(7), statutory and rules deadlines related to the adjudication of criminal and juvenile matters shall be suspended and shall be extended by the number of days that the courts are closed by order of the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals, but no fewer than twenty-one (21) business days after the first day that the courts have been reopened; and
  • (l) Essential court personnel shall be available to the public by telephone between the hours of 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM. MDEC continues to be available for electronic filing and is required to be used for all MDEC counties. For pleadings not required to be filed electronically, filings will be received by mail and may be received via drop boxes installed at local courthouses; and
  • (m) Other than as set forth in this Administrative Order, deadlines established by Maryland statutes or rules remain in effect; and
  • (n) For the duration of this emergency, the date of filing will be considered the date a mailed filing has been postmarked or, if filed via a drop box, the previous business day, unless there is a timestamp on the drop box; and
  • (o) The Administrative Order on Statewide Closing of the Courts to the Public Due to the COVID-19 Emergency filed on March 13, 2020, is rescinded effective March 17, 2020; and
  • (p) To the extent that this Administrative Order conflicts with extant Administrative Orders, local administrative orders or policies, this Administrative Order shall prevail; and (q) This Administrative Order will be revised as circumstances warrant.
  • The Judiciary has directed the public to reference the latest Stay of Eviction Orders for various District Court locations.

March 13, 2020

  • Statewide Closings of the Courts: The Judiciary has issued an Administrative Order on the Statewide Closing of the Courts to the Public Due to the COVID-19 Emergency, effective March 16, 2020. Note that the Courts will remain staffed to handle designated emergency matters and to conduct remote proceedings when possible. The Order states that:
    • a) All courts in the Maryland Judiciary, court offices, administrative offices, units of the Judiciary, and the Offices of the Clerks of the Circuit Courts shall be closed to the public on an emergency basis, effective March 16, 2020; however, Judiciary operations shall continue to the extent practicable. Maryland Judiciary personnel shall report as scheduled, unless otherwise excused by their administrative head.
    • (b) The following mandatory matters shall continue to be scheduled and heard in keeping with the urgency of those matters and consistent with statutory requirements, either in person or remotely pursuant to the Administrative Order on Remote Electronic Participation in Judicial Proceedings, June 18, 2018, with the court to notify all participants necessary to the proceeding.
      • (1) In the Court of Appeals: (A) certain election law matters (B) certain petitions for Writs of Mandamus (C) certain certified questions of law (D) quarantine and isolation matters
      • (2) In the Court of Special Appeals: (A) requests for injunctive relief pending appeal (B) appeals in cases in which a lack of action would result in a dispositive outcome (C) appeals from quarantine and isolation petitions
      • (3) In the Circuit Courts: (A) bail reviews (B) arraignments (C) emergency Habeas Corpus petitions (D) juvenile detention hearings (E) CINA shelter care and adjudication on shelter care (F) emergency delinquency (G) domestic violence protective petitions (H) appeals from peace orders (I) family law emergencies including petitions for guardianship (J) temporary restraining orders (K) emergency evaluation petitions (L) quarantine and isolation petitions (M) extradition cases (N) Rule 4-271 determinations (Hicks) (O) search warrants (P) body attachments (Q) contempt
      • (4) In the District Court: (A) bail reviews (B) emergency evaluation petitions (C) emergency risk protective order petitions (D) domestic violence protective petitions (E) peace order petitions (F) quarantine and isolation violations (G) initial appearances (H) search warrants (I) applications for statement of charges (J) acceptance of bail bonds (K) bench warrant satisfactions (L) body attachments (M) contempt (c)
    • (c) To the extent that an individual court has the capacity to hear additional matters, this Administrative Order does not prohibit such proceedings, with access to members of the public as justice requires. Courts shall notify all participants to the proceeding if a matter will proceed.
    • (d) This Administrative Order does not affect the courts’ consideration or resolution of matters that can be addressed without a proceeding that involves testimony or argument.
    • (e) All other matters scheduled to be heard between March 16, 2020, through April 3, 2020, are postponed pending further order of the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals.
    • (f) Court personnel will be available by telephone and mail and paper filings will be received. MDEC continues to be available for electronic filings.
    • (g) To the extent this Administrative Order conflicts with any other extant administrative order, whether local or statewide, this Administrative Order shall prevail.
    • (h) This Administrative Order will be revised as circumstances warrant.

See the Order for further details.

  • Suspension of Non-Essential Judicial Activities: The Judiciary has issued an Administrative Order on the Statewide Suspension of Non-Essential Judicial Activities Due to Emergency.  The Order minimizes in-state travel, suspends out of state and out of country travels, suspends all in-person judicial education classes, and limits committee meetings to conference call. The Order specifically states that:
    • Due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, and consistent with guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control, an emergency exists that poses a threat of imminent and potentially lethal harm to vulnerable individuals, including some Judiciary personnel, who may come into contact with a court or judicial facility and personnel,
    • To the extent possible, the courts and judicial offices and units shall remain operational and provide scheduled and required events while balancing the health and safety needs of court visitors and personnel, and
    • There are certain activities that, in the event of such emergency conditions, may be considered non-essential and therefore require suspension.
  • Suspension of Jury Trials: The Judiciary has also issued an Administrative Order Suspending Jury Trials through April 3, 2020. Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, Chief Judge Barbera ordered that:
    • All civil and criminal jury trials in the Circuit Courts throughout the state of Maryland scheduled to begin on March 16, 2020, through April 3, 2020, shall be suspended on an emergency basis pending further Order of the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals; and
    • In criminal matters with jury trials pending during the above time period, county administrative judges shall hold hearings as necessary to resolve Maryland Rule 4-271 issues in individual cases and to set a new trial date

MSBA has contacted the Judiciary on behalf of our membership with questions and concerns. MSBA will continue to monitor the situation and inform our members about any further updates from the Judiciary.  

Court of Appeals – Maryland

  • UPDATED March 31, 2020:Today the Judiciary issued a new Administrative Order Rescheduling April Arguments and Postponing May Arguments (2020.03.31).
    • Oral arguments scheduled for April 31, May 1, and May 3 are postponed until further notice of the Court.
    • Cases previously scheduled for oral argument on April 2 and April 3 that were previously postponed by the March 17 Administrative Order are rescheduled for May 12 and May 13, respectively.
    • The Court is considering holding oral argument by electronic means and will advise parties at least 10 days in advance regarding format and other participation procedures.
    • The Court will entertain requests pursuant to Maryland Rule 8-523(a)(2) by parties involved in cases that have either been postponed or rescheduled by this Order to submit those appeals for consideration on brief.
  • March 27, 2020: Administrative Order on the Permissive Use of MDEC System for Appellate Filings During the COVID-19 Emergency, available here. Counsel and self-represented parties may file in new and pending matters before the Court of Special Appeals or the Court of Appeals all papers through the MDEC system for cases originating in Baltimore City, Montgomery County, and Prince George’s County, effective nunc pro tunc on March 16, 2020.
  • Postponement of April Arguments (Court of Appeals): The Court issued an Administrative Order on Postponing April Oral Arguments in the Court of Appeals, postponing oral arguments scheduled for April 2 and April 3, 2020, until further notice. The Court will entertain requests pursuant to Maryland Rule 8-523(a)(2) by parties involved in cases scheduled to be argued on April 2, 2020 and April 3, 2020 to submit those appeals for consideration on brief.
  • Administration of Attorney Oath: The Court issued an Administrative Order on Administration of the Attorney Oath to permit the statutory oath to be administered by the Clerk, Court of Appeals, by telephone for all eligible attorney applicants. Individuals admitted via a telephonic oath must execute the statutory oath,
    acknowledging by their signature that they were administered the oath, and return the same via U.S. mail to the Court of Appeals’ Clerk’s Office.

Court of Appeals filing update (as of March 17, 2020):

To facilitate filing papers with the Court of Appeals for the duration of the closing for non-e-filers in MDEC cases and filers in appeals from non-MDEC jurisdictions, the Clerk is providing two alternative means of filing papers in the Court of Appeals: (1) e-filing through the MDEC system, or (2) drop box at the basement entrance of the Courts of Appeal building.

E-FILING

All attorneys and self-represented litigants who are or become registered users are permitted to file petitions for writ of certiorari, briefs, motions and other papers via the MDEC system in all appeals regardless of which circuit court the appeal comes from. This includes Baltimore City, Montgomery County, and Prince George’s County. Please note that the paper copy requirement for e-filers is suspended for the duration of the closing. You will be required to submit paper copies of e-filed materials once the Clerk’s Office reopens to the public.

DROPBOX

The Court of Appeals has placed a drop box at the basement entrance of the Courts of Appeal building. All filings being delivered to the Court of Appeals in paper form must be placed in the drop box for filing. For the duration of this emergency, the date of filing will be considered the previous business day. In addition to the drop box, filers may continue to file via U.S. mail, and the date of filing will be considered the date a mailed filing has been postmarked.

ADMINISTRATION OF ATTORNEY OATH

The Court of Appeals’ courtroom will be open to the public on Thursday, March 19, 2020 from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.; Friday, March 20, 2020 from 9:00 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.; Monday, March 23, 2020 from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.; and, Tuesday, March 24, 2020 from 9:00 a.m. to 10:45 a.m., for the limited purpose of the telephonic administration of the Attorney Oath in open court, as required by law. For more information, please refer to the March 17, 2020 Administrative Order on Administration of the Attorney Oath. The Court of Appeals’ Clerk’s Office can be reached by phone at (410) 260-1500. 

CONTACT US

The Court of Appeals’ Clerk’s Office can be reached by phone at (410) 260-1500.

Court of Special Appeals – Maryland

UPDATED March 27, 2020:

Administrative Order on the Permissive Use of MDEC System for Appellate Filings During the COVID-19 Emergency, available here. Counsel and self-represented parties may file in new and pending matters before the Court of Special Appeals or the Court of Appeals all papers through the MDEC system for cases originating in Baltimore City, Montgomery County, and Prince George’s County, effective nunc pro tunc on March 16, 2020.

Updated as of March 17, 2020

NOTICE

Please review this entire notice, which provides important information regarding operations in the Court of Special Appeals during the COVID-19 Emergency. This notice will be updated as we receive new information. Pursuant to Chief Judge Barbera’s March 16, 2020 Administrative Order, the Court of Special Appeals offices are closed to the public commencing March 16, 2020. However, pursuant to paragraphs (f)(2), (h), and (l) of the Administrative Order, the Court is continuing operations as discussed below. Essential Court staff will be available by phone from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM at (410) 260-1450.

The Court will continue to receive and process filings in all cases, and all existing deadlines remain in place. The closure of the Court’s offices to the public does not affect existing filing deadlines. For information on alternative methods for filing papers in the Court of Special of Appeals (not applicable to MDEC filers in MDEC cases) please see the “Notice on Optional Methods for Filing Papers in the Court of Special Appeals” below. A party that requires an extension of a filing deadline as a consequence of the COVID-19 emergency or for any other reason must file a motion to that effect.

Oral arguments for April 1, 2, and 3, 2002 have been postponed – all other previously scheduled arguments remain as scheduled. Pursuant to Paragraph (j) of Chief Judge Barbera’s Administrative Order, oral arguments scheduled for April 1, 2, and 3, 2020 are postponed; the Clerk will contact counsel about rescheduling the oral arguments for those days. The Court is exploring the possibility of holding oral arguments remotely via video conference. If that is possible, the Clerk will coordinate with counsel. If it is necessary to cancel oral arguments, the Court will inform counsel directly.

The Court will continue to hear emergency matters. Pursuant to the Administrative Order, the Court will continue to schedule proceedings involving requests for injunctive relief pending appeal, appeals where a delay in reaching a disposition would be dispositive of the issues on appeal, and appeals from quarantine and isolation orders.

We appreciate your patience while we work through this situation. Please be assured that the safety of the public and the Court’s employees remains paramount.

OPTIONAL METHODS FOR FILINGS PAPERS

THIS NOTICE DOES NOT APPLY TO FILERS WHO ALREADY FILE PAPERS ELECTRONICALLY IN MDEC CASES.  Those filers should continue to file through MDEC as usual.  Paper copies may be mailed or sent by courier to the court as usual following electronic filing.

The following alternative policies to in-person filing apply to non-e-filers in appeals from MDEC courts and filers in appeals from Baltimore City, Montgomery County, and Prince George’s County.  These alternatives to in-person filing apply only during the COVID-19 Emergency, and will not continue after the courts resume normal operations.

To facilitate filing papers with the Court of Special Appeals, while minimizing person-to-person contact, the Clerk Court of Special Appeals is offering three alternative means of filing papers:  (1) e-filing through the MDEC system (even for cases originating in non-MDEC jurisdictions), (2) drop boxes at the entrance of the Courts of Appeal building, or (3) emailing filings to a designated email address.  While the Clerk is offering three means to file papers, please choose just one. At this time, U.S. Mail, FEDEX, and UPS is still being delivered to the Court, thus you can also send filings to the Court through the U.S. Mail, FEDEX or UPS.  Pursuant to paragraph (n) of Chief Judge Barbera’s current Administrative Order, the postmark date of the envelope will be the effective date of the filing

APPELLATE E-FILING

All attorneys and self-represented parties who become authorized users of the MDEC system, are permitted to file briefs, motions and other papers via the MDEC system in all appeals, even from non-MDEC jurisdictions.

Attorneys who are not already registered e-filers can find resources on how to register and e-file on the Judiciary’s webpage. The staff of the Court of Special Appeals are available to provide limited assistance in getting registered and with e-filing.

If you choose to be an e-filer, orders, opinions, and other notifications and communications from the Court will be delivered to you via your registered email address – the Clerk will not provide notices by mail.

Please note that this applies only to appellate filings.  Any papers filed in the Circuit Courts for Baltimore City, Montgomery County, and Prince George’s County, must continue to be filed in paper form with those courts.  Accordingly, if you are noting a new appeal in one of those circuit courts, you must file your notice in the circuit court in paper form. Records from those circuit court’s will also continue to be transmitted to the Court of Special Appeals in paper form and will be returned to the circuit courts at the conclusion of the appeal in the same way. At the time you note your appeal in the circuit court, provide a courtesy copy of your notice of appeal via email to COSAfilings@mdcourts.gov. This will facilitate opening an appellate case for you, but THIS IS NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR FILING YOUR NOTICE OF APPEAL IN THE CIRCUIT COURT.

Title 20 of the Maryland Rules applies to appellate e-filers. Please read these rules carefully.

DROPBOX

The Court of Special Appeals has placed a drop box at the entrance of the Courts of Appeals building. All filings being delivered to the appellate courts in paper form must be placed in the appropriate drop box for filing. You will not be permitted to deliver your filing to the Clerk’s office’s public window.  Filings placed in the drop box by 4:30 p.m. will be docketed as of the day they were placed in the drop box. If you would like a file stamp copy, please provide an additional copy and a self-addressed stamped envelope, and one will be returned to you by mail. Note that the Courts of Appeal building closes promptly at 4:30 p.m. If you arrive after that time, you will need to return the next business day to file your papers.

EMAIL DROP BOX

As an alternative to hand delivering your filing or e-filing, you may send your filing to COSAfilings@mdcourts.gov. Any filing submitted in this manner must:

  1. Be converted to a PDF (portable document format);
  2. Be submitted as an attachment to an e-mail with a subject line containing the caption, case number, and a brief descriptor of the paper you are filing (i.e., “motion for stay,” “appellee’s brief,” etc.).

Any compliant filing received in this manner will be docketed as of the date it is received by the Court.

If you would like confirmation that a filing has been received, activate the delivery or read receipt function of the email program by which it is sent. Instructions for how to activate delivery and read receipts in two common email platforms are: Gmail, Outlook.

While sending your filing to this address satisfies the filing requirement, you must still comply with the obligation to serve the other parties to the case by methods that are compliant with the Maryland Rules.

The COSAfilings@mdcourts.gov email address is for filing only, it is not meant for communicating with the Court.  Call the Clerk’s Office if you have questions. Orders, opinions and other communications from the Court will be sent via regular mail to the address we have on file.

CERTIFICATES OF SERVICE

Whatever method you choose to file your papers, the paper must contain a certificate of service that states the date and the manner by which you served the other party or parties. See Md. Rule 1-323. You must also actually serve the other parties in the manner you indicate.

CONTACT US The Court of Special Appeals Clerk’s office can be reached by phone at (410) 260-1450.

Local Court Updates by Jurisdiction –  Maryland

Allegany County (as of March 20, 2020)

CIRCUIT COURT: On March 18, 2020, Administrative Judge Finan issued an Administrative Order regarding COVID-19.

DISTRICT COURT: Advisory

Anne Arundel County  (as of March 20, 2020)

CIRCUIT COURT: Updates here.

  • Criminal and Civil Dockets – see Daily Docket page.
  • Information and Orders from the Chief Judge of Maryland: https://mdcourts.gov/coronavirusupdate
  • Marriage License Applications, Marriage Licenses and Marriage Ceremonies: the Clerk’s Office is unable to accept marriage license applications, issue new marriage licenses, or perform marriage ceremonies at this time.
  • Land Records Instruments: At this time, the Clerk’s Office is unable to accept land records instruments in-person. However, there are still two avenues to process land records instruments: hard copy recordings may be brought to the courthouse and placed in a drop box that has been set up near the entrance; and electronic filings through SimpliFile are still being processed.
  • Notary Public Oaths and Certifications – The Clerk’s Office is unable to process Notary Public oaths and certifications at this time.
  • Anne Arundel County Register of Wills offices are closed to the public. Click here for details.
  • Term Extension for Notaries Public in good standing – Click here to view Public Notice

DISTRICT COURT: Advisory

March 13, 2020

Following Judge Barbera’s Administrative Order of March 13, 2020, Administrative Judge Ripken issued the following letter, stating that the courthouse would be open on March 16, 2020, subject to the following:

  • All cases, including jury trials, that carried over from March 13 will resume on Monday, March 16 to their conclusion. All parties, witnesses, attorneys and jurors involved in those cases (including State v. Ricky Dejuan Jones) must report to court as scheduled on March 16, subject to the terms of Chief Judge Barbera’s Updated Administrative Order Regarding Coronavirus, dated March 13, 2020.
  • Members of the public and the news media shall be admitted to the Courthouse to attend the State v. Ricky Dejuan Jones trial. All other matters on the currently posted dockets for March 16 before any judge or magistrate, shall be heard as scheduled. Only the parties, attorneys, and testifying witnesses are permitted to attend those trials, motions or hearings, with no exceptions, unless permission is expressly granted by the Administrative Judge to do so.
  • The Clerks’s office will not be interacting with members of the public or attorneys, except by telephone. All court filings shall be filed via MDEC or, in the case of self-represented litigants or non-MDEC matters, mailed or placed in the court’s dropbox, located immediately inside security at the front door of the Circuit Courthouse, with no exceptions. The Court will remain operational, pleadings will be processed, and the Court will make rulings when appropriate.
  • Other than judges, employees of this courthouse, Register of Wills office, and State’s Attorney’s Office, the only persons who may access the Circuit Court are litigants, attorneys or testifying witnesses in a case scheduled for hearing on a particular day; Public Defenders; probation agents; Anne Arundel County Office of Child Support; Pretrial Services employees; Department of Juvenile Justice employees; and Department of Health and Human Services employees. Any other user of the courthouse who frequently appears on behalf of a government agency who is not on the list above should contact the Administrative Judge.
  • The law library, Family Law Self-Help Center, notary services, any classes offered or attended in the Circuit Courthouse, and Lawyer Referral Service will be closed to the public, except that attorneys or litigants who are in court for hearing or trial may use the library on the day of their hearing or trial.
  • Chief Judge Barbera’s Order permits additional matters to be heard if they can be reasonably accommodated in a manner that is consistent with her Order. Hence, if there are other docket related matters that are believed to require the Court’s immediate attention, file a proper pleading. Your request will be reviewed, and if the Court determines the issue requires immediate attention, a conference call or a hearing will be set as appropriate.
  • Regarding cases that are being postponed during this time frame, the court will re-set all matters. Given the number of cases, it will not be possible to co-ordinate all dates with counsel/litigants. The expectation is that counsel/litigants will make themselves available when at all possible. However, if the re-set date poses a hardship, the court will be flexible with postponement requests provided they are promptly made in writing, and as far in advance of the re-set date as possible.

Baltimore City (as of March 30, 2020)

CIRCUIT COURT: Updates here. All filings of pleadings, papers, and fees shall be made thru a secured lock box located at the Mitchell Courthouse located at 100 North Calvert Street. Message from Administrative and Chief Judge Audrey J.S. Carrion.

PLEASE SEE CHIEF JUDGE MARY ELLEN BARBERA’S ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER ON STATEWIDE JUDICIARY RESTRICTED OPERATIONS ORDERING THE CLOSURE OF ALL MARYLAND COURTHOUSES TO THE PUBLIC FROM MARCH 17, 2020 TO APRIL 03, 2020 AND IDENTIFYING CERTAIN FUNCTIONS THAT THIS COURT WILL CONTINUE TO HEAR. ALL TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF ADMINISTRATIVE JUDGE CARRIÓN’S ORDER ISSUED ON MARCH 12, 2020 (ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER NO. 2020-01) NOT INCONSISTENT WITH CHIEF JUDGE BARBERA’S ORDER CLOSING THE COURTHOUSE TO THE PUBLIC REMAIN IN FULL FORCE AND EFFECT.

DISTRICT COURT: Advisory

Baltimore City District Court Bail Review Protocol (as of March 29, 2020)

Remote conference call hearings strongly encouraged. Call 410-878-8011 between 8 AM and 9 AM. Give your name, phone number, client’s name, and case number.

You will get a call back with the conference call number. You will join the call with pretrial, SAO, the judge and your client. The bail review will be recorded on court-smart.

Thank you,

Barbara Baer Waxman
Administrative Judge
District Court for Baltimore City

March 12, 2020

As of March 12, 2020, the Circuit Court for Baltimore City ordered that the following persons shall not enter the Mitchell Courthouse, 100 N. Calvert Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21202, the Cummings Courthouse (formerly known as Courthouse East), 111 N. Calvert Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21202, or the Juvenile Justice Center, 300 North Gay Street Baltimore, MD 21202 without prior permission from the Administrative Judge:

  • Persons who have been in any of the following countries or regions within the last fourteen (14) days: STATE OF WASHINGTON; NEW ROCHELLE, NEW YORK; CHINA; SOUTH KOREA; JAPAN; ITALY; IRAN; EGYPT.
  • Persons who reside or have had close contact with someone who has been in one of the countries listed above within the last fourteen (14) days; 
  • Persons who have been asked to self-quarantine by any doctor, hospital, or health agency;
  • Persons who have been diagnosed with, or have had contact with, anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19; 
  • Persons who are experiencing any acute respiratory illness symptoms (i.e. cough, shortness of breath, headaches), flu-like symptoms, have a fever, or are coughing or sneezing.

If you are scheduled or required to appear in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City, and you are unable to appear because of the restrictions in this Order, you are directed to proceed as follows:

  • If you are represented by an attorney, please contact your attorney; 
  • If you are an attorney and you are scheduled to appear in court before a judge, please contact that chambers directly; 
  • If you are scheduled to meet with a Pretrial Services Officer, please contact the Office for Pretrial Services at 410-986-5909;
  • If you are to report to the Community Service Office, please contact the Office at 410-396-1191.

Please click through to the full Order for further details. 

Baltimore County  (as of March 23, 2020)

CIRCUIT: Updates from the Clerk’s Office available here.

By Order of the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals of Maryland, all courts in the Maryland Judiciary, court offices, administrative offices, units of the Judiciary, and the Offices of the Clerks of the Circuit Courts shall be closed to the public on an emergency basis, effective March 16, 2020; however, Judiciary operations shall continue to the extent practicable. Except for certain types of matters such as Domestic Violence, Extreme Risk Protective Orders, Peace Orders and Emergency Evaluation Petitions, all matters scheduled to be heard between March 16, 2020, through April 3, 2020, are postponed pending further order of the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals. If you are unsure whether your case will be heard, call the Clerk of the Circuit Court’s Office at 410-887-2601 or call District Court at 410-512-2000 or visit the Maryland Judiciary’s website, the District Court’s website, or the Baltimore County Circuit Court’s website.

The Jury Commissioner for Baltimore County is in a separate office from the Clerk’s Office. For additional information, email baltcojuryoffice@mdcourts.gov or call the office Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., at 410-887-3596.

DISTRICT: Advisory

Note that as of March 23, 2020, the old Catonsville District Court located at 900 Walker Avenue, Catonsville, MD 21228 shall be closed effective March 23, 2020 at 11 am and shall continue to be closed throughout the COVID-19 emergency, and all matters authorized to be heard at this location shall be heard at the New Catonsville District Court located at 1 Rolling Cross Road, Catonsville, MD 21228 throughout the COVID-19 emergency.

March 16, 2020

**Update from Administrative Judges Wilson and Cox on March 16, 2020: NOTICE TO THE BAR

In light of the Administrative Order on Statewide Closing of the Courts to the Public Due to the COVID-19 Emergency, which was issued by Chief Judge Barbera on March 13, 2020 Circuit Court and the District Court courthouses are closed to the public, with limited exceptions set forth in the Order.

We caution you that this situation is in flux, so Judge Barbera’s directives may change as we move forward.  The Maryland Judiciary website, along with the Circuit Court website will be updated as things change.

At the present time, the following matters will continue to be heard in both courts:

  • Bail reviews (via remote hearings
  • Domestic violence petitions
  • Emergency evaluation petitions
  • Peace orders proceedings (appeals only in the Circuit Court)
  • Body attachments

In addition to these matters, the Circuit Court will also continue to hear juvenile detentions, shelter hearings and adjudications, isolation of quarantine petitions, and such other ex parte or emergency matter as a judge determines warrant hearing during this public emergency.

The District Court will also continue to hear and/or process emergency risk protective orders, applications for statement of charges, acceptance of bail bonds, bench warrant satisfactions, quarantine or isolation violations, and any other matter that a judge determines warrants a hearing during this public emergency.

Hearings may be held in person, or by video or teleconference, as determined by the Court.

Access to both courthouses is generally restricted to courthouse employees, employees of other agencies housed in the courthouse, and lawyers, parties and witnesses for hearings authorized on the docket that day.  In addition, access will be provided to individuals who seek to file domestic violence, emergency evaluation, peace order or ERPO petitions.

The Clerk’s Offices will not generally be open to the public.  Each courthouse will be equipped with “Drop Boxes” at the main entrance to permit individuals to file papers that are not processed through MDEC by leaving them in the Drop Box during normal business hours.

For requests for ex parte or emergency hearings in the Circuit Court, counsel should file the appropriate pleading through MDEC, identify the matter as urgent, and call the appropriate department in the Clerk’s Office to have the matter processed.  Notice must be given to the opposing party or counsel as required by the Maryland Rules. The Clerk’s Office will expedite docketing and forward it to the appropriate judge for consideration. Counsel should contact the assigned judge’s chambers for further direction as to whether a hearing will be set.

Other non-essential services in the courthouses, such as the law library, self-help offices, parenting classes, and mediation services are generally suspended during this public health emergency.

We appreciate your cooperation and understanding.  Please stay well!

Judge Dorothy J. Wilson

Judge Kathleen Gallogly Cox

As of March 13, 2020: The Baltimore County Circuit Court’s website lists the Court’s status as Modified and provides the following information:

Baltimore County Circuit Court Closed to Public, With Limited Exceptions

Based upon the Administrative Order issued by Chief Judge Barbera of the Maryland Court of Appeals, courts throughout Maryland are generally closed to the public during the period from March 16, 2020 through April 3, 2020, subject to limited exceptions. Court staff will still report to work as scheduled, subject to further direction by their supervisors.

The Circuit Court will continue to hear a limited range of matters that present special circumstance. These hearings will occur either through remote linkage or in person. The matters that will continue to be heard include bail and emergency habeas petitions, shelter hearings, detentions, domestic violence matters, petitions for emergency evaluations. Please see the Administrative Order (PDF) for the complete list of proceedings that will continue to be heard. Public access to the Circuit Court building will be denied, except for persons scheduled to appear as a party or witness in a case that is subject to one of these exceptions.

Matters that are postponed based upon this emergency closure will be rescheduled, and a new hearing notice will be issued.

A drop box will be available at the entrance to the Circuit Court that is accessible from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. to accept any paper filing that is not required to be made electronically through MDEC.

If you have a question as to whether your case has been reset, please check the status on the Maryland Judiciary Case Search, or contact the Central Assignment Office at 410-887-3497, or Civil Assignment Office at 410-887-2660.

Jury Duty Suspended Until April 3:

Jury trials in all civil and criminal cases have been suspended during the period from March 16 through April 3. If you received a summons to appear for jury duty during that time, you do not need to report. Your name will go back into the jury pool for a new summons to be issued for a date in 2021.

Notice Regarding Coronavirus

The Court continues to monitor this situation closely. Any changes to court operations will be posted on the Court’s website.

The Court is expediting review of postponement requests during this situation. If a party, witness or counsel is exhibiting any symptoms that are associated with coronavirus, please file a request to postpone your Court appearance. If you are not scheduled to appear in Court and your business at the Courthouse is not time-sensitive, please consider postponing your visit until the State returns to normal operational levels.

Finally, please be aware that we have received reports of telephone scams where the caller claims that you have missed a court hearing and must pay cash to a representative of the Sheriff’s Office to avoid legal action. These are not legitimate calls. No officer of the Court is authorized to call and request cash payment or a credit card number. Please report any such calls to the police.

Calvert County (as of March 20, 2020)

CIRCUIT: Updates from the Clerk’s Office available here.

The Clerk’s Office is closed to the public.  We are accepting phone calls M-F 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM.

MDEC or Simplifile registered users should continue to send pleadings and land record documents as normal.   Case pleadings, requests for copies, land documents and other requests are also accepted by mail at the following address: Circuit Court Clerk’s Office, 175 Main Street, Prince Frederick, Md. 20678.

For your convenience, we are also temporarily accepting any deeds and other land documents for recording or circuit court case pleadings via a drop box located at the back of the courthouse.    Please place all documents and any checks in a secure envelope before placing them in the drop box. On the outside of the envelope, please indicate the following information: Type of Instrument or document (for example, Deed, Deed of Trust, Motion, or Tax Bill), your company name, and a contact phone number and/or email.

The public may search land record documents by registering https://mdlandrec.net/main/  and land plats at http://plats.net/pages/index.aspx

The public may search court records at http://casesearch.courts.state.md.us/casesearch/

Currently, the law requires that certain services be performed in person.  Therefore, we are not able to accept applications for marriage licenses, perform marriage ceremonies, or administer oath of offices to notaries or other appointees.

Self- Represented Domestic Violence and Emergency Custody pleadings may be filed by contacting the Clerk’s Office for more information.

DISTRICT: Advisory 

Caroline County (as of March 20, 2020)

CIRCUIT: Updates available here.

DISTRICT: Advisory

Carroll County  (as of March 20, 2020)

CIRCUIT: Updates available here.

THE CARROLL COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT CLERK’S OFFICE IS CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC and WORKING UNDER RESTRICTED OPERATIONS due to the COVID-19 EMERGENCY:

By Order of the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals of Maryland, all courts in the Maryland Judiciary, court offices, administrative offices, units of the Judiciary, and the Offices of the Clerks of the Circuit Courts shall be closed to the public on an emergency basis, effective March 16, 2020; however, Judiciary operations shall continue to the extent practicable. Except for certain types of matters such as Domestic Violence, Extreme Risk Protective Orders, Peace Orders and Emergency Evaluation Petitions, all matters scheduled to be heard between March 16, 2020, through April 3, 2020, are postponed pending further order of the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals. If you are unsure whether your case will be heard, call the Clerk of the Circuit Court’s Office at 410-386-8710 or call District Court at 410-871-3500 or visit the Maryland Judiciary’s website at mdcourts.gov, the District Court’s website at courts.state.md.us, or the Carroll County Circuit Court’s website at CarrollCountyCircuitCourt.org.

The Jury Commissioner for Carroll County is in a separate office from the Clerk’s Office.  Please call 410-386-2093 then press “0” or email jurydutyservice@mdcourts.gov with questions.

DISTRICT: Advisory

March 14, 2020

The Court Clerk’s website states:

By Order of the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals of Maryland, all courts in the Maryland Judiciary, court offices, administrative offices, units of the Judiciary, and the Offices of the Clerks of the Circuit Courts shall be closed to the public on an emergency basis, effective March 16, 2020; however, Judiciary operations shall continue to the extent practicable. Except for certain types of matters such as Domestic Violence, Extreme Risk Protective Orders, Peace Orders and Emergency Evaluation Petitions, all matters scheduled to be heard between March 16, 2020, through April 3, 2020, are postponed pending further order of the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals. If you are unsure whether your case will be heard, call the Clerk of the Circuit Court’s Office at 410-386-8710 or call District Court at 410-871-3500 or visit the Maryland Judiciary’s website at mdcourts.gov, the District Court’s website at courts.state.md.us, or the Carroll County Circuit Court’s website at CarrollCountyCircuitCourt.org.

Cecil County (as of March 20, 2020)

CIRCUIT: Updates available here.

DISTRICT: Advisory

Charles County (as of March 20, 2020) 

CIRCUIT: Administrative Judge West issued an Administrative Order Restricting Access to the Courthouse.

DISTRICT: Advisory

Dorchester County (as of March 20, 2020)

CIRCUIT: Any updates available here.

DISTRICT: Advisory

March 12, 2020

On March 12, 2020, Administrative Judge Wilson issued an Administrative Order regarding COVID-19.

Frederick County (as of March 20, 2020)

CIRCUIT: Update from Administrative Judge Solt available here.

DISTRICT: Advisory

Garrett County (as of March 20, 2020)

CIRCUIT: Any updates available here.

DISTRICT: Advisory

Harford County (as of March 20, 2020)

CIRCUIT: Update available here.

DISTRICT: Advisory

Howard County (as of March 20, 2020)

CIRCUIT: Update from Administrative Judge Tucker available here.

DISTRICT: Advisory

March 15, 2020

PLEASE READ CAREFULLY. THE CIRCUIT COURT FOR HOWARD COUNTY IS OPEN FOR LIMITED BUSINESS ON MONDAY, MARCH 16, 2020 THROUGH APRIL 3, 2020, SUBJECT TO THE FOLLOWING IMPORTANT INFORMATION:

Pursuant to Chief Judge Barbera’s Order of March 13, 2020, regarding emergency status, no one exhibiting illness will be permitted in the courthouse and the following additional information is provided.

The following mandatory matters shall continue to be scheduled and heard:

  • Bail reviews
  • Arraignments (including criminal settlement conferences)
  • Emergency Habeas Corpus petitions
  • Juvenile detention hearings
  • CINA shelter care and adjudication on shelter care
  • Emergency delinquency
  • Domestic violence protective petitions
  • Appeals from peace orders
  • Family law emergencies including petitions for guardianship
  • Temporary restraining orders
  • Emergency evaluation petitions
  • Quarantine and isolation petitions
  • Extraditions cases
  • Rule 4-271 determinations (Hicks)
  • Search warrants
  • Body attachments
  • Contempt

Only the parties, attorneys, and testifying witnesses are permitted to attend the above events, unless permission is expressly granted by the Administrative Judge to do so. Dockets are updated daily and can be found at https://mdcourts.gov/circuit/howard/dockets

The Clerk’s office will not be interacting with members of the public or attorneys, except by telephone. All court filings shall be electronically filed by attorneys or, if self-represented, mailed or placed in the dropbox, located at the security station immediately inside the courthouse. Land Records/Licensing Office is available by phone at 410-313-5850 and by mail. ALL WEDDING CEREMONIES ARE CANCELLED. Call 410-313-5850 to reschedule.

Other than judges, employees of this courthouse, Register of Wills Office and State’s Attorney’s Office, the only persons who may access the Circuit Court are litigants, attorneys or testifying witnesses in a case scheduled for hearing on a particular day. Public Defenders, probation agents, Howard County Office of Child Support, Pretrial Services employees, Department of Juvenile Justice employees, and Department of Health and Human Services employees may access the courthouse. Any other user of the courthouse who frequently appears on behalf of a government agency who is not on the list above should contact the Administrative Judge.

The law library and self-help programs will be closed to the public, except that attorneys or litigants who are in court for hearing or trial may use the library on the day of their hearing or trial.

In accordance with the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), this court seeks to limit the level, duration and quality of contact among persons who frequent the Circuit Court for Howard County. To that end, all persons who enter the Circuit Courthouse are encouraged to practice good hygiene, by frequently washing their hands, keeping an appropriate distance from others and – in the case of employees – keeping work stations, keyboards and phones clean. Commonly used surfaces in the Circuit Courthouse, including the areas around doors and elevators, are cleaned throughout the day by cleaning crews.

The concept of “social distancing” in the Circuit Courthouse is encouraged, but normal human interaction is inevitable. Thus, all courthouse users should be prudent and exercise good judgment during those interactions.

Please check back frequently for updates or revisions. Additional contact numbers are:

Calendar Management: 410-313-3575

Court Administration: 410-313-3029

Law Library: 410-313-4851

Jury Commissioner: 410-313-3804

Clerk’s Office: 410-313-2111

Land Records/Licensing: 410-313-5850

​​​​​​​William V. Tucker, Administrative Judge

Kent County (as of March 20, 2020)

CIRCUIT: Any updates available here.

DISTRICT: Advisory

Montgomery County (as of March 20, 2020)

CIRCUIT: Updates available here, including an important message from Administrative Judge Greenberg (from March 17, 2020).

The License Department is closed and will not be accepting any new business license renewals until April 6, 2020.

Recordings will be accepted at the Maryland Avenue doors at 10 am, noon, and 2 pm starting Wednesday, March 18, 2020.

DISTRICT: Advisory

March 15, 2020

**On March 15, 2020, Judge Greenberg issued an updated letter apologizing for any confusion and directing attorneys and litigants to check the court’s website and only to come to court on March 16, 2020, if their case was listed on the Court’s website.

March 13, 2020

On March 13, 2020, Administrative Judge Greenberg  issued an Updated Administrative Order Regarding Coronavirus.

He also issued a letter on March 13, 2020, indicating that the Circuit Court for Montgomery County is open for business on March 16, 2020, subject to the following important information

  • All cases, including jury trials, that carried over from March 13 will resume on Monday, March 16 to their conclusion. All parties, witnesses, attorneys and jurors involved in those cases (including State v. Panton) must report to court as scheduled on March 16, subject to the terms of this court’s Updated Administrative Order Regarding Coronavirus, dated March 13, 2020. Members of the public and the news media shall be admitted to the Courthouse to attend the State v. Panton trial.
  • All other trials, motions or hearings scheduled to commence for one day or less on March 16, before any judge or magistrate, shall be heard as scheduled. Only the parties, attorneys, and testifying witnesses are permitted to attend those trials, motions or hearings, with no exceptions, unless permission is expressly granted by the Administrative Judge to do so.
  • The Clerks’s office will not be interacting with members of the public or attorneys, except by telephone. All court filings shall be mailed or placed in the court’s after-hours dropbox, located on the Maryland Avenue side of the North Tower, with no exceptions.
  • Other than judges, employees of this courthouse, Register of Wills office, and State’s Attorney’s Office, the only persons who may access the Circuit Court are litigants, attorneys or testifying witnesses in a case scheduled for hearing on a particular day; Public Defenders; probation agents; Montgomery County Office of Child Support; Pretrial Services employees; Department of Juvenile Justice employees; and Department of Health and Human Services employees. Any other user of the courthouse who frequently appears on behalf of a government agency who is not on the list above should contact the Administrative Judge.
  • The law library, Kids Spot child waiting area, Family Law Self-Help Center, notary services, any classes offered or attended in the Circuit Courthouse, and Lawyer Referral Service will be closed to the public, except that attorneys or litigants who are in court for hearing or trial may use the library on the day of their hearing or trial.

Prince George’s County  (as of March 20, 2020)

CIRCUIT: Prince George’s County Reduced Operations update from Chief and Administrative Judge Tillerson Adams (March 20, 2020) provides information on drop box filings, emergency review procedures, and instructions on remote proceedings. See also Administrative Order Regarding Court Operations from Judge TIllerson Adams (March 12, 2020).

DISTRICT: Advisory

March 12, 2020

As of March 12, 2020, the Chief and Administrative Judge of the Circuit Court of Prince George’s County, Sheila R. Tillerson Adams, ordered that the Circuit Court for Prince George’s County shall be closed to the public until April 6, 2020. Court employees are to report to work as usual. No Grand Jury or Petit Jury during this time period.  Specifically, Judge Adams’ order states:

ORDERED, that at this time, the Circuit Court for Prince George’s County will be closed to the public until April 6, 2020, and it is further

ORDERED, all employees that have offices in the Courthouse shall report to work as usual, and it is further

ORDERED, that the 24-hour drop box for pleadings will be available at the Commissioner’s entrance of the Courthouse to accept and date stamp the pleadings, and it is further

ORDERED, that court staff will be available to accept phone calls and emails from the public during this period, and it is further

ORDERED, that Bond hearings will be heard daily. 

Closed to the public. Staff report to work as usual. 

Queen Anne’s County  (as of March 20, 2020)

CIRCUIT: Administrative Order on Emergency Operations from Administrative Judge Knight (March 17, 2020).

DISTRICT: Advisory

March 13, 2020

On March 13, 2020, Administrative Judge Knight issued an Administrative Order regarding COVID-19.

St. Mary’s County (as of March 20, 2020)

CIRCUIT: Please see the Court’s website for updates.

PLEASE READ CAREFULLY.

THE CIRCUIT COURT FOR SAINT MARY’S COUNTY IS OPEN FOR BUSINESS ON TUESDAY MARCH 17, 2020 THROUGH APRIL 3, 2020, ON A RESTRICTED OPERATIONS  SUBJECT TO THE FOLLOWING IMPORTANT INFORMATION:

Pursuant to Chief Judge Barbera’s Order of March 16, 2020, restricting the operations of the Maryland Judiciary due to the COVID-19 Emergency, the following information is provided.

In accord with the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and the further escalation of the emergency requiring more comprehensive measures to protect the health and safety of Maryland residents and Judiciary personnel. this court will be operating on a restrictive basis pursuant to the Order of March 16, 20020 seeking to limit the level, duration and quality of contact among persons who frequent the Circuit Court for St. Mary’s County.

To that end, all persons who enter the Circuit Courthouse are encouraged to practice good hygiene, by frequently washing their hands, keeping an appropriate distance from others and – in the case of employees – keeping work stations, keyboards and phones clean. Commonly used surfaces in the Circuit Courthouse, including the areas around doors and elevators, are cleaned by county crews.

The concept of “social distancing” in the Circuit Courthouse is encouraged, but normal human interaction is inevitable. Thus, all courthouse users should be prudent and exercise good judgment during those interactions. As a result of the decision to restrict operations having occurred after business hours concluded on March 16, Administrative Judge Stamm will be meeting with court officials in an effort to streamline procedures going forward. For now, however, please note the following:

Pursuant to the March 16, 2020 Administrative Order, only those proceedings designated as urgent mandatory matter will be proceeding on and after March 17, 2020 until April 3, 2020 or further order of Court.  These matters shall be scheduled or heard in person or remotely pursuant to the Administrative Order on Remote Electronic Participation in Judicial Proceeding, June 18, 2018. The following is a listing of said mandatory matters per said Order;

  1.   bail reviews
  2.   arraignments for detained defendants
  3.   juvenile detention hearings
  4.  emergency delinquency
  5.  quarantine and isolation petitions
  6.   extradition cases
  7.   body attachments
  8.   extreme risk protective order appeals

As for the above urgent mandatory matters, if not done remotely ONLY the parties, attorneys, and testifying witnesses are permitted to attend those trials, motions or hearings, with no exceptions, unless permission is expressly granted by the Administrative Judge to do so. The Members of the news media shall be admitted to the Courthouse to attend said matters upon request and must provide credentials.

For all other emergency matters including those listed below, the administrative judge or his or her designee shall review the petition, determine whether it must be heard in person, or can be heard with remote electronic participation, or can be scheduled after the emergency period has ended, or can be resolved without a hearing:

(1) shelter care hearings and/or related adjudications

(2) emergency delinquency hearings

(3) emergency Habeas Corpus petitions

(4) emergency issues in guardianship matters

(5) domestic violence protective orders

(6) appeals from peace orders

(7) family law emergencies

(8) temporary restraining orders

(9) criminal competency matters

(10) motions regarding:

(A) extreme risk protective orders

(B) domestic violence protective orders

(C) peace orders

(11) contempt hearings related to peace or protective orders

(12) matters involving locally incarcerated defendants;

Requests for initial or temporary Domestic Violence Orders are to be filed and heard by the Court Commissioner located at the Saint Mary’s County Detention hearing

All remaining emergency non-mandatory matters, including both civil and criminal jury and civil trials, motions or hearings scheduled to commence on or after March 16, before any judge or magistrate, shall be re-scheduled.  If you are currently scheduled for a matter not on the mandatory list your case is postponed this week and will be rescheduled to a later date. Case management will be contacting by phone litigants scheduled the week of March 16 and after this week by either MDEC or mailings of your new dates

The March 16, 2020 Administrative Order does not affect the courts’ consideration or resolution of matters that can be addressed without a proceeding that involves testimony or argument;

The Clerks’ office will not be interacting with members of the public or attorneys, except by telephone. All court filings and land recordings shall be mailed or placed in the court’s after-hours drop box, located by the main entrance of the Court House, with no exceptions.

Other than judges, designated essential employees of this courthouse, Register of Wills office, and State’s Attorney’s Office, the only persons who may access the Circuit Court are litigants, attorneys or testifying witnesses in a case scheduled for hearing on a particular day; Public Defenders; probation agents;  Saint Mary’s County Office of Child Support; Pretrial Services employees; Department of Juvenile Justice employees; the Saint Mary’s County Attorneys and Department of Health and Human Services employees. Any other user of the courthouse who frequently appears on behalf of a government agency who is not on the list above should contact the Administrative Judge.

The law library, Self-Help Center, Pro Bono/Self Help Clinic, notary services, any classes offered or attended in the Circuit Courthouse, and Lawyer Referral Service will continue to be closed to the public, except that attorneys or litigants who are in court for hearing or trial may use the library on the day of their hearing or trial.

Please check back frequently for updates or revisions.

DISTRICT: Advisory

Somerset County (as of March 20, 2020)

CIRCUIT: Any updates available on Court website.

DISTRICT: Advisory

Talbot County (as of March 20, 2020)

CIRCUIT: Any updates available on Court Clerk’s website.

As per the Administrative Order signed by Chief Judge Barbera on March 16, 2020  the Clerk’s Office is open and operating but is closed to the public.  We will still accept electronic filings and filings by mail for those who are not represented by an attorney.  All Court Hearings except emergencies as outlined by the Administrative Order will be postponed and you will receive a Notice in the mail.  Please click on the link to the Administrative Order below for more information.   Thank you for your patience during this trying time.

DISTRICT: Advisory 

Washington County (as of March 20, 2020)

CIRCUIT: Updates from the Court available here.

DISTRICT: Advisory

Wicomico County (as of March 20, 2020)

CIRCUIT:  Any updates will be available here.

DISTRICT: Advisory 

Worcester County (as of March 20, 2020)

CIRCUIT: Any updates will be available here.

DISTRICT (Ocean City): Advisory

DISTRICT (Snow Hill): Advisory