Maryland Courts to Open to the Public Again On March 15, 2021
The Maryland Judiciary is taking an optimistic approach to court reopening, in consideration of the important matters pending at Maryland Courts, starting on March 15, 2021. The Maryland court system has announced a return to what is called "Phase IV" of public access to the court system, which includes re-opening courthouses and having more in-person as well as remote hearings.
Of course, the courts currently accept filings, and handle proceedings remotely. I myself have handled several proceedings at Maryland courts since November 2020, and have a single-day remote trial scheduled for March 2021 in Baltimore County.
As of now, the Md. Judiciary plans to restart jury trials and other more complex proceedings on April 26, 2021.
Meanwhile, mask wearing, social distancing, and very likely, reduced in-person capacity, is expected to continue for the foreseeable future at Maryland state courthouses.
Concerning Phase IV proceedings on March 15, 2021 and beyond, the Court's administrative Order (Feb. 16, 2021) states:
"In Phase IV, beginning March 15, 2021, courts are open to the public. Courts resume non-jury trials and contested hearings in criminal, civil, family, and juvenile matters, as described in the attached Exhibit, with continued restrictions to limit the concentration of individuals and allow social distancing, consistent with guidance of the CDC or MDH or both, consistent with Sections (w), (x), and (y) of this Order....."
The U.S. District Court of Maryland, our federal judiciary, also is re-opening during March on a gradual basis, pursuant to Standing Order 2021-04 (Feb. 17, 2021).
Under the federal approach, the presiding judge will determine whether a hearing is held remote or in-person, and jury trials shall slowly resume.
Of course, the Maryland and federal judiciaries may issue further updates as they cautiously expand proceedings and re-open.
Gregg H. Mosson, Esq.
Mosson Law, LLC
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