The Maryland Judiciary announced yesterday that it will extend Phase II operations of its five-phased progressive COVID-19 reopening plan to respond to the surge in COVID cases in Maryland through March 14, 2021.
Maryland Court of Appeals Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera issued five new administrative orders, one of which requires that the Judiciary’s Phase II operations plan remain in effect through March 14, 2021. Another order also extends the suspension of jury trials through April 23, 2021. Clerks’ offices in the District Court of Maryland and circuit courts throughout the state will remain open to the public for emergency purposes and by appointment for other matters.
In Phase II, the District Court and circuit courts will hear specific case types remotely or in-person, but jury trials will not be held until the Judiciary is able to re-enter Phase V of its resumption of operations plan. Additionally, courts across Maryland will continue using technology for remote proceedings, either by video or telephone, but it will vary by court location.
“The surge in COVID-19 cases during November is expected to be sustained through the winter, making it necessary for the Maryland Judiciary to remain in Phase II of its operations plan,” said Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera, Maryland Court of Appeals. “We will continue to monitor the public health emergency and adjust court operations, as necessary, to protect the safety of the public, judges, and Judiciary personnel. We will also ensure that as many of the Judiciary’s core functions continue to the extent the emergency conditions allow.”
With COVID-19 health protocols in place statewide, the Maryland Judiciary had resumed full operations, including jury trials, on October 5, 2020. However, due to the surge in COVID-19 cases in Maryland, the Judiciary restricted its operations to Phase III on November 16, 2020, and then to Phase II on November 30, 2020.
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