Maryland Judiciary shifts operation plans to combat Omicron variant surge

Maryland’s judiciary system announced that it will reduce operations and revert to Phase III of its reopening plan starting Wednesday, Dec. 29.

This phase will remain in effect until Feb. 8 unless otherwise noted with circuit and district courts in Maryland remaining open to the public. Appellate courts in Maryland remain operational but remote proceedings may occur at the chief judge’s discretion.

“As throughout the pandemic, the health and safety of the public, judges, and judiciary staff remains our top priority,”  Court of Appeals of Maryland Chief Judge Joseph M. Getty said in a statement. “In an abundance of caution and through consultation with state leadership, I have made the necessary decision to revert back to Phase III operations.”

In Phase III, District and circuit courts hear specific case types virtually or in person. Jury trials, however, will not start until Phase V of the state’s reopening plan — jury trials already underway will proceed to conclusion, and “all jury trials scheduled between December 29 and February 8 will be rescheduled.”

Marylanders serving as jurors were encouraged to contact their local circuit court.

The new administrative order and details on Maryland court coronavirus orders have been posted to the Maryland Judiciary’s coronavirus orders website.

The case types heard in Phase III include criminal, traffic, civil, domestic violence and landlord-tenant cases at the District Court level. Circuit courts will continue to hear civil, criminal, and juvenile cases. A full list of cases heard by each court and divided by phase is available online at the phased reopening resource page.

Face masks, temperature checks, social distancing and COVID-19 health screenings remain requirements to visit the courts. Visitors who believe they have business with the courts are encouraged to call the clerk’s office or check the judiciary website before arriving at a courthouse.

Ivy Lyons

Ivy Lyons is a digital journalist for Since 2018, they have worked on Capitol Hill, at NBC News in Washington, and with WJLA in Washington.

This article was written by WTOP’s news partners at Maryland Matters and republished with permission. Sign up for Maryland Matters’ free email subscription today.

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up