COVID postpones jury trials in Maryland until at least March

The Maryland Judiciary has postponed jury trials until at least March 6 due to a surge of COVID-19 cases.

A news release from the judiciary says clerks’ offices in both the District Court of Maryland and circuit courts throughout the state will remain open to the public and the Court of Appeals of Maryland and Court of Special Appeals remain fully operational, but the chief judge may determine whether to hold proceedings in person or remotely.

The District Court and circuit courts will hear specific case types remotely or in-person, but jury trials won’t be held until the Judiciary is able to reenter Phase V of its reopening plan.

The courts are now in Phase III.

Jury trials that have already started will continue, according to the release. All jury trials scheduled through March 4 will be rescheduled.

The Maryland Judiciary’s website has a full list of the types of cases being heard in Phase III, which include in the District Court criminal, traffic, civil, domestic violence, peace orders, Extreme Risk Protective Orders, and landlord-tenant cases. In the circuit courts, civil, criminal, family, Child in Need of Assistance (CINA), and juvenile matters will continue to be heard, the release says.

“This amended order to extend our operations in Phase III is made with the intent to reduce the community transmission of COVID-19 within the courts,” said Maryland Court of Appeals Chief Judge Joseph M. Getty.

“The health and safety of Maryland litigants, judges, court employees, and visitors remains a top priority. When we host jurors, it’s our job to ensure their safety to allow them to exercise their civic duties. Health and safety should not be a distraction. I want to remind Marylanders that, although reduced in operations, our courts remain open.”

Marylanders who are currently serving as jurors or who have been summoned to report through that date are encouraged to contact the local circuit court. The February Uniform Bar Examination in Maryland will happen in person as scheduled.

All court visitors and employees are required to wear a face mask, undergo a no-contact temperature check, a verbal or written COVID-19 health screening questionnaire, and adhere to social distancing guidelines.

More Coronavirus News

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk started working at WTOP in 2016 and has lived in Howard County, Maryland, her entire life. She's thrilled to be a reporter for WTOP telling stories on air. She works as both a television and radio reporter in the Maryland and D.C. areas. 

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