Articles, Analysis,
and Commentary

Maryland Courts Re-Opening After COVID-19: When Will My Case Be Set For Trial?

The coronavirus/ COVID-19 pandemic has largely shuttered Maryland’s circuit and district courts since mid-March. “Phase 3, which is expected to begin July 20, will mark the “milestone” in which the clerks’ offices in both the District Court of Maryland and circuit courts will fully open to the public, if they are able to do so”.

Any person entering a court facility will:

  • answer a set of COVID-19 screening questions
  • be subject to temperature checks
  • wear a facial covering or mask, and
  • practice social distancing.

There may be “limits [on] the number of people entering the courthouse or a courtroom.” Dockets are anticipated to be smaller.

     Source: https://www.courts.state.md.us/media/news/2020/pr20200522

Beginning July 20, 2020, the courts will begin to hear the following matters, in addition to the business entertained during the initial court closures:

District Court

Criminal and Traffic

Trials for incarcerated defendants
Other cases alleging violent acts, alcohol-related motor vehicle matters
Preliminary hearings
Begin scheduling minor traffic matters for dockets that begin during Phase Four, including previously postponed matters
Violation of probation

Civil

Resume handling temporary domestic violence protective, peace, and extreme risk protective order petitions during court hours.
Begin scheduling civil matters, including trials, for dockets that begin during Phase Four, including previously postponed matters.

Landlord/Tenant

Rent escrow actions, provided local inspection practices can be conducted
Tenant holding over actions and associated warrants of restitution
Breach of lease actions and any associated warrants of restitution
Wrongful detainer actions and associated warrants of restitution
Processing of warrants of restitution for failure to pay rent actions to begin after July 25, 2020.

Circuit Courts

Civil

Motions requiring witness testimony
Settlement hearings
Attorney disciplinary hearings

Criminal

Motions
Expungements
Violation of probation
Non-jury trials
Jury prayer status hearings
Sentencings previously deferred

Family

Resume handling temporary domestic violence protective order petitions during court hours
Motions requiring witness testimony
Pendente lite hearings
Contempt proceedings
Adoptions
Guardianship - non-emergency
Child support establishment
Settlement hearings
Court-ordered mediation

Child in Need of Assistance (CINA)

All matters and motions that are contested and/or require testimony
Adjudications, dispositions, permanency plans, and permanency plan reviews
Exceptions hearings requiring witness testimony
Contested TPRs

Juvenile Delinquency

All matters that are contested and/or require testimony
Adjudications
Dispositions
Disposition review
Closure of probation and jurisdiction
Motions
Juvenile expungements
Juvenile Permanency plan and permanency plan review
Juvenile and adult sex offender registration
Waiver hearings, including to and from Juvenile Court
Exception hearings”

     Source: https://mdcourts.gov/coronavirusphasedreopening

"All jury trials, both civil and criminal, will resume and trial dates will be scheduled beginning October 5, 2020. Priority will be given to criminal trials and other urgent court matters, such as family law emergencies. Any jury trial previously scheduled between October 5, 2020, and December 31, 2020, will remain, unless otherwise ordered by the court’s administrative judge.”

     Source: https://www.courts.state.md.us/media/news/2020/pr20200522

 

Eric T Kirk
Attorney

After graduating with honors from Albany Law School in New York, Eric Kirk has spent most of his 25 year legal career battling insurance companies to secure fair and just compensation for his clients in Maryland, New York, and Florida.

410-657-5962