Maryland courts and administrative offices are providing limited services through May 1 because of the Coronavirus pandemic. Court officials said they are taking the steps to reduce the number of people in Maryland’s courthouses to lessen the potential for spreading the highly contagious virus that causes COVID-19. However, the courts will be handling emergency matters.
The Court of Appeals will only be handling election law matters, petitions for writs of mandamus, certified questions of law, quarantine and isolation matters.
The Court of Special Appeals will only be handling requests for injunctive relief pending appeal, appeals in cases in which a lack of action would result in a dispositive outcome, appeals from quarantine and isolation petitions.
The Circuit Courts will only be handling bail reviews/bench warrants, arraignments for detained defendants, juvenile detention hearings, peace order petitions, emergency evaluation petitions, quarantine and isolation petitions, extradition cases, body attachments and extreme risk protective order appeals.
The District Court will only be handling bail reviews/bench warrants, emergency evaluation petitions, quarantine and isolation violations, body attachments.
District Court Commissioners will be handling new extreme risk protective order petitions, new domestic violence protective petitions, new peace order petitions, initial appearances, applications for statement of charges, acceptance of bail bonds and bench warrant satisfactions.
Administrative judges will review petitions to determine whether they must be heard in person or can be heard on a remote basis or can be scheduled after the emergency has ended or can be resolved without a hearing. These include shelter care hearings and related matters, emergency delinquency hearings, emergency habeas corpus petitions, emergency guardianship matters, domestic violence protective orders, appeals from peace orders, family law emergencies, temporary restraining orders, criminal competency matters, contempt hearings related to peace or protective orders, matters involving locally incarcerated defendants and motions regarding extreme risk protective orders, domestic violence protective orders and peace orders.
The order enacting the temporary shutdown does not affect the courts’ consideration of matters that can be addressed without a proceeding that involves testimony or argument.
A judge will cover search warrant duty and search warrants will be handled on a 24-hour, seven day a week basis and must be handled electronically to the greatest extent possible, according to the court’s order.
All other matters including jury trials, scheduled to be heard beginning March 17 through May 1 are postponed, unless otherwise ordered by the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals.
Deadlines for criminal and juvenile matters have been extended.
Electronic filing is still available. Pleadings that are not required to be filed electronically will be received by mail and may be received via drop boxes installed at local courthouses.
Federal courts in Maryland also closed for pandemic
Federal courts are also experiencing a temporary shutdown. All civil, criminal, and bankruptcy proceedings in the Maryland federal court system, including court appearances, trials, hearings, settlement conferences, conference calls, naturalization and admission ceremonies, and grand jury meetings are postponed until April 24, unless otherwise ordered by a presiding judge.
In addition, all filing deadlines for all cases between March 16, 2020, and April 24, 2020, have been extended for 42 days unless otherwise ordered by a presiding judge.
Maryland’s federal courts are open, however, for emergency criminal, civil, and bankruptcy matters related to public safety, public health and welfare, and individual liberty.
Electronic filing is still available and litigants who are representing themselves can deposit and date-stamp papers in the drop boxes at each courthouse between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Members of the public are no longer permitted to enter the courthouse except for those with scheduled proceedings, their attorneys, investigators and credentialed press.
All persons seeking entrance to the federal courts in Maryland should expect to be screened for flu-like symptoms, including having their temperature taken, and may be denied entry.
Maronick Law Office is open
The Law Office of Thomas J. Maronick is open during the pandemic and will continue to meet your Ocean City and surrounding areas, Baltimore City and Baltimore county legal needs. We can meet with you remotely if you have access to zoom.us. Consultations are free. The legal services we offer include criminal defense, estate planning, wills, domestic and bankruptcy. You can contact Thomas Maronick on his cellphone at 202.288.0167, the law office at 410.934.3007 or the website for a consultation.