March 12, 2020
187 Harry S. Truman Parkway
Annapolis, Maryland 21401
Maryland Judiciary Responds to Coronavirus (COVID-19): Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - The Maryland Judiciary is committed to protecting the health and wellbeing of the members of the public we serve and our employees. The Judiciary is working with justice partners at the state and local levels to take appropriate measures as cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) increase around the state.
As Chief Judge, I have authorized administrative judges in trial courts to take appropriate measures to protect the safety of the public, litigants, and court personnel, including exposure mitigation as outlined in the Administrative Order on the Statewide Suspension of Non-Essential Judicial Activities Due to Emergency. (Link: https://www.courts.state.md.us/sites/default/files/admin-orders-archive/20200312suspensionnonessential.pdf)
Circuit Courts, the District Court of Maryland, and the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) maintain Continuity of Operations Plans (COOPs), which provide for contingency and emergency planning for various situations, including this pandemic. Some courts have started implementing elements of their COOPs, where necessary.
Locally, administrative judges are communicating with judges and employees, and other justice partners to ensure they have the necessary information to implement emergency measures. In accordance with their COOPs, this could include relocating or modifying regular operations to address emergency conditions in their local communities.
Given the recommendations from public health authorities to limit large gatherings, I issued an administrative order suspending jury trials beginning Monday, March 16, 2020, through Friday, April 3, 2020. To read the full order, go to https://www.courts.state.md.us/sites/default/files/admin-orders-archive/20200312suspensionofjurytrials.pdf.
When a court closure, relocation, or modification in operations is warranted, information will be posted online at mdcourts.gov.
Please know that judicial branch leadership at all levels of the courts are monitoring this situation closely and are committed to open access to the courts and service to the public. We will continue to update the Judiciary’s website as new developments arise.
Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera
Court of Appeals of Maryland