Maryland’s courts will be fully operational beginning March 7, 2022. The move means that jury trials will resume in criminal and civil cases. Social distancing and preventative health measures, for the most part, have also been dropped.
Jury trials which had previously been suspended on an emergency basis will be rescheduled as promptly as possible. The court order said priority will be given to criminal jury trials and other urgent actions.
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 moved back. Consult an Ocean City criminal defense attorney for more details.
Remote proceedings won’t go away. Noting the success of the virtual proceedings, the judge’s order notes that courts are free to conduct matters remotely.
Defendants whose hearings will be held remotely will either be contacted by the clerk or will receive instructions in the mail. Call your Baltimore City criminal defense attorney right away if you are not able to participate remotely.
The wearing of face masks is voluntary for judges, judiciary personnel and any other person who has been fully vaccinated beginning March 7, 2022, according to the court’s website. Unvaccinated employees and visitors are encouraged to wear masks in all courthouses and court facilities.
However, the administrative judge of the court in local jurisdictions determines that court’s social distancing and other health measures. As a result, some courts might have a different policy on mask wearing. For example, the Administrative order for the Baltimore City Circuit Court notes that the wearing of face masks is voluntary for judges, judiciary personnel, and all other persons who have completed the COVID-19 vaccination process. Those who have not completed the COVID-19 vaccination process will be required to wear a face mask at all times that covers the nose, mouth and chin completely, without vents, including during in-person proceedings inside the courthouse.
The rule that limited elevator occupancy to two people has also been dropped.
The Baltimore City court order also notes that a judge or magistrate may require participants in courtroom proceedings, who is required to wear a face mask or who is wearing a face mask, to use a clear mask or wear a personal barrier shield instead of a face mask so that the participant can be clearly heard or observed.
The Baltimore City order notes that the sheriff will be called to handle those individuals who do not comply.
Baltimore City courts are also providing free COVID-19 testing kits to the public. The kits can be obtained from Room 200 in the Cummings courthouse. The court will also be holding free, public vaccinations until April 1, 2022 in Room 619 of the Cummings Courthouse. Hours are from 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. All vaccines and booster shots (Moderna, J&J and Pfizer) are available.
The Maryland courts adopted a five-phase plan in March 2020 for reopening because of the global pandemic, suspending many activities. The courts resumed full operations several times since then only to scale back when surges in the transmission and death rate from the coronavirus were detected.
The Law Office of Thomas J. Maronick is open during the pandemic and will continue to meet your Glen Burnie, Annapolis, Baltimore, Essex, Ocean City, Towson, White Marsh criminal defense attorney needs. The consultation is free.
We can meet with you remotely if you have access to Zoom. You can contact Thomas Maronick on his cellphone at 202.288.0167, the law office at 410.881.4022 or through the website for a free consultation.