Jury trials in Maryland, which previously were suspended until December 31, won’t be held until April 23, 2021, the Maryland courts have said in the latest round of court restrictions stemming from the coronavirus pandemic. The court made the announcement on Dec. 22.
Clerk’s offices in the District Court and Circuit Courts throughout the state will be open to the public for emergency purposes and by appointment for other matters. A Baltimore criminal law attorney can provide more details.
In March, the Maryland courts adopted a five-phase plan for reopening because of the global pandemic, suspending many activities. The courts resumed full operations, including allowing jury trials to go forward, on Oct. 5. But a month later, on Nov. 5, they scaled back to Phase III and then on Nov. 30 went back even further to Phase II as COVID-19 cases continued to rise across the state.
In the Dec. 22 announcement, the court said it would extend Phase II. Under Phase II, the District Court and circuit courts will hear specific case types remotely or in-person, but jury trials will not be held. Courts across Maryland will continue to offer remote proceedings, either by video or telephone, but that will vary by court location.
Because of the longstanding suspension of court matters as a result of the global pandemic, many of the normal deadlines for legal matters have also been moved back. Consult a Baltimore criminal law attorney for more details.
Those entering the courthouse or a Maryland judicial facility must comply with the guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Maryland Department of Health, and local health departments, including social distancing of six feet or more and the wearing of face masks. If a person shows up at the courthouse without a face mask, they will be provided with a disposable mask.
Any person who does not comply with the requirements will be subject to removal from the courthouse or judicial facility and disciplinary action as appropriate, the court says.
Federal courts also shutdown
Maryland’s federal courts, that shutdown on Nov. 16, in response to worsening data on the COVID-19 virus, have extended that shutdown until Jan. 15, 2021. Grand jury operations, that had been allowed to proceed, have been shutdown until Jan. 18, 2021, the federal court announced Dec. 9.
On Dec. 8, Maryland’s top federal judge extended the use of video and teleconferencing for felony pleas and sentencing for 90 days. The court entered the first order allowing video and teleconferencing for various criminal cases, with the consent of the defendant, on March 29, 2020.
Self-represented litigants may deposit and date-stamp papers in drop boxes at the entrance to each courthouse between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Although Maryland’s federal courthouses are closed to the public, those seeking entrance to the courts must wear a face covering or mask at all times and maintain at least six feet of physical distance from others while in the building. Visitors should also expect to be screened for flu-like symptoms, including being tested for the presence of a fever. Visitors may be denied entry if they exhibit such symptoms.
Maronick Law Office is open
If you are facing criminal charges in Annapolis, Baltimore, Essex, Glen Burnie, Ocean City, Towson or White Marsh, you should talk to a criminal defense attorney. The Law Office of Thomas J. Maronick is open during the pandemic. We can meet with you remotely if you have access to Zoom. Consultations are free.
In addition to criminal defense matters, we also offer estate planning, wills, domestic and bankruptcy.