March 16, 2020
187 Harry S. Truman Parkway
Annapolis, Maryland 21401
Maryland state courts reduce staffing in courthouses, continue to hear emergency court matters
ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Effective Tuesday, March 17, 2020, the Maryland state courts will require only essential employees to report to courthouse locations and court offices. Court locations and offices will be minimally staffed to hear emergency court matters and to answer calls between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. All other employees able to work from home will do so at the direction of their supervisor.
Emergency matters include, but are not limited to, domestic violence petitions, family law emergencies, extreme risk protective orders, bail reviews, juvenile detention hearings, and search warrants. These matters will continue to be processed by the courts and its reduced workforce through Friday, April 3, 2020, or further notice.
All other non-emergency matters scheduled for a court hearing or proceeding will be postponed, and courthouses across the state will remain closed to members of the general public through April 3, 2020, or further notice.
The new administrative order issued today, Monday, March 16, 2020, allows administrative judges, court administrators, clerks of court, administrative clerks, and administrative heads, to identify “essential personnel.”
“In response to COVID-19, the Maryland Judiciary is taking further action to protect court visitors and Judiciary personnel,” said Maryland Court of Appeals Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera. “The health and well-being of all Marylanders continue to be a top priority as we ensure that essential court operations continue during this public health emergency.”
The Maryland Judiciary’s electronic filing system, referred to as MDEC, remains available and is required to be used in all MDEC counties. In non-MDEC counties or for self-represented litigants, filings can be mailed to your local clerk’s office or can be dropped off in a drop box.
Monday’s order replaces the administrative order issued Friday, March 13, 2020. You can read the new Administrative Order on Statewide Judiciary Restricted Operations Due to the COVID-19 Emergency issued March 16, 2020, here: https://mdcourts.gov/sites/default/files/admin-orders-archive/20200316restrictedoperationsduetocovid19.pdf.
The Maryland Judiciary’s online portal CaseSearch will be updated as clerk’s offices across the state process filings during this public health emergency.
Members of the media will be permitted inside courthouses while the Administrative Order on Statewide Judiciary Restricted Operations Due to the COVID-19 Emergency is in effect. If you are a member of the media and intend on entering a courthouse in the near future, the Judiciary strongly urges you to speak with your management teams and take the guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Maryland Department of Health into consideration. The Maryland Judiciary is taking these steps to reduce the number of people in its courthouses to mitigate the potential for spreading the virus. Lastly, the Judiciary asks that you present a valid media credential when you enter the courthouse and pass through security. A media credential should include your first and last name, a picture, and the name of the media organization you are representing.