The spread of the Corona Virus had a deep impact on the daily operations and activities of Maryland Courts. From October 5th, 2020, all the Maryland courts are now under Phase V of the reopening plan and have resumed all jury trials with full operations. The judiciary of Maryland is closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation, and some courts are continuing to use technology for remote proceedings.
The Maryland courts will operate under various phases to ensure public safety. In each phase, the courts will resume some court operations.
Phase 1 :
Phase one began on March 16, 2020, and ends on June 5th, 2020. During this phase, the courts limited actions to emergency operations, and the courts are not opened to the public but with limited exceptions.
Phase 2 :
Phase 2 began on June 5th, 5:00 PM, in which the courts started to hear cases, some in person and some in the remote. The cases included cases postponed due to health emergencies and other priority cases.
Phase 3 :
Phase 3 began on July 20, in which the courts have started to hear more broad cases.
Phase 4 began on August 31st, 2020, and the cases started to hear cases related to
- Non-jury case trials
- Contested hearings related to criminal, family, and juvenile cases.
- All the safety measures and social distancing are to be maintained.
- The number of people entering the courtrooms is restricted.
Phase 5 :
In phase 5, which began on October 5th, all the courts resumed full operations with all the COVID-19 precautions.
Court Based Services After Resuming
As soon as the courts resume operations, these are the services that are offered.
- Self-help centers
- Family Division services
- Child care for litigants and other witness people
- Mediation Division center
Access To Press In Courts
The courts permit limited people into the courtrooms, and regardless of the Phase, the courts are allowing press members into the court, as long as there is sufficient capacity.
Staff Of Court
All the court staff is required to work remotely or in-person or as ordered by the judge. Staff who are not feeling well are excused from attending the duty by the leave policy.
Filing Documents For Court
- In-Person: After Phase 3, the filings can be done in person at the clerk’s office.
- MDEC: The Maryland Electronic Courts are still used for electronic filling. Be sure that the county you live in has the provision to use MDEC.
- Virtual DropBox: Non-MDEC courts are still accepting filings through virtual drop boxes available. The virtual boxes are available through phase four.
- Other Filings: Individuals are still allowed to file documents using mail or physical drop boxes.
Courts Related To Child Support And Family Matters
Because of a medical emergency, the Maryland Courts have issued special guidelines for families. With the schools closed and restricted operations, the courts have ordered that all the family support and child support are still in effect. In some special situations, the parents can take permission to take care of their child jointly by adjusting their responsibilities. Here also the best interests of the child are taken into consideration.
The Maryland Courts started to implement the reopening plan after the pandemic situation of COVID-19. At present, the courts are operating on a full basis with Corona Virus preventive measures. If you are a parent looking for an experienced family lawyer, you can contact Alice Pare at 301-515-1190 for a free initial consultation.