I pray that you and your families are remaining safe during this very difficult time. To those of you who have lost loved ones and friends, I extend my deepest condolences. To those of you with family members and friends fighting the Corona virus my prayers are with you and your loved ones. My heart goes out to all of the medical personnel and first responders that are risking their lives every day fighting the Corona virus.
As I continue to represent and defend clients during this extremely stressful time, I am reminded that the health and safety of my clients and their families are my most important priority. I am grateful that the Governor of Maryland and the Chief Judge of the Maryland Court of Appeals effectively closed the courts to reduce the spread of infection. I am grateful to the skeleton crews at the courthouses that continue to work under these trying circumstances to handle legal emergencies. At some point, however, the courts will re-open. Unfortunately, because of the focus to minimize the spread of the virus, when the wheels of justice in Maryland begin to turn again they will necessarily turn even more slowly than before.
As the State of Maryland begins to re-open, I remain committed to defending your rights and will pursue justice for you. Be assured that I am available to answer any questions that you might have. We are experiencing a global pandemic unlike any experienced in our lifetimes. How the Maryland courts will navigate the caseload in upcoming months in light of the virus, court closures and social distancing remains to be seen. I will help you through this time of uncertainty by keeping you informed of court closings and any changes in procedure as they evolve and guiding you through the process of your case. I remain vigilant in protecting your rights going forward.
Currently, in the larger counties such as Montgomery and Frederick, District Court cases are postponed into July 2020 unless they are considered emergency hearings such as Protective and Peace Orders. Emergency hearings are currently being done remotely using Skype, Zoom and other internet video conferencing.
When courts resume, the judges assure us that there will be strict protocol to ensure social distancing as much as possible. Everyone will be required to wear a mask, remain at least six feet away from each other and have their temperature taken upon entry to the building. Hearings will be staggered throughout the day to limit the number of people in the courtrooms at a time. Disinfecting hand sanitizer will be available throughout the courthouses. There are many other details that have not yet been decided. Feel free to call or text me or email me with any questions regarding court procedures and protocols and your case.
Below are the current orders and protocols for the District Courts and Circuit Court in Montgomery County as of May 14, 2020:
District Court in Montgomery County:
PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY – COVID 19 PANDEMIC
THE DISTRICT COURT IS CLOSED THROUGH JUNE 5, 2020
BY ORDER OF THE COURT OF APPEALS
MANDATORY CASES HEARD DAILY
ALL HEARINGS ARE TIME LIMITED
- BAIL REVIEWS
- BENCH WARRANTS
- BODY ATTACHMENTS
- EMERGENCY EVALUATION PETITIONS
- QUARANTINE AND ISOLATION VIOLATIONS
REMOTE PARTICIPATION ONLY BY LAWYERS, LITIGANTS FOR THESE CASES AND CREDENTIALED MEMBERS OF THE MEDIA ONLY
EMERGENCIES HEARD IN COURT’S DISCRETION
ALL HEARINGS ARE TIME LIMITED
- DOMESTIC VIOLENCE PROTECTIVE ORDERS
- CRIMINAL COMPETENCY
- MOTIONS REGARDING
- EXTREME RISK PROTECTIVE ORDERS
- DOMESTIC VIOLENCE PROTECTIVE ORDERS
- PEACE ORDERS
- CONTEMPT HEARINGS-PEACE AND PROTECTIVE ORDERS
- MATTERS FOR LOCALLY INCARCERATED DEFENDANTS
YOU MAY FILE A REQUEST FOR EMERGENCY HEARING/RULING:
- PROVIDE PHONE CONTACT.
- A CASE WILL BE BY PHONE OR REMOTE VIDEO(SKYPE, ETC.)
- A CASE MAY BE AFTER THE EMERGENCY PERIOD HAS ENDED
- A CASE MAY BE DECIDED WITHOUT A HEARING.
**THE CLERK’S OFFICE IS CLOSED**
DROP BOX 8:30 AM-4:30 PM* M-F
COMMISSIONER-4:30 PM-8:30 AM & SAT/SUN.
DROP BOX 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM*M-F
ONLINE – 24 HOURS
ALL OTHER CASES ARE CONTINUED AND WILL BE RESET BY MAIL
NO BENCH WARRANT WILL BE ISSUED
QUESTIONS – CALL<a href=”tel:+1- 301-563-8800″> 301-563-8800</a> – 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM
COMMISSIONERS OFFICES ARE OPEN
Rockville – 191 E. Jefferson Street — OPEN 24/7/365
Central Processing Unit – 1307 Seven Locks Rd — OPEN 24/7/365
GO TO THE COMMISSIONERS OFFICE TO:
- FILE FOR CRIMINAL CHARGES
- INITIAL APPEARANCE ADVICE OF RIGHTS
- POST BAIL/BOND
- SATISFY A BENCH WARRANT
- DOMESTIC VIOLENCE PROTECTION
- PEACE ORDER PROTECTION
- EXTREME RISK PROTECTIVE ORDER PROTECTION
- EMERGENCY EVALUATION PETITION
*AVOID GROUPS OF OVER 10 PEOPLE
*REMAIN 6 FEET AWAY FROM OTHERS
*IF YOU HAVE ANY OF THESE SYMPTOMS AND
YOU ARE SAFE, GO HOME & CONTACT YOUR DOCTOR
- RUNNY NOSE
- SORE THROAT
- DIFFICULTY BREATHING CALL 911 FOR EMERGENCY HELP
Patricia Mitchell, District Six Administrative Judge
Incarcerated Persons in Montgomery County:
Pursuant to the several Administrative Orders of the Court of Appeals issued by Chief Judge Barbera and in furtherance of the purposes stated therein, the following processes are implemented:
- The Administrative Judge, with input from justice system stakeholders, will continue to identify at-risk incarcerated persons for potential release, with careful regard for the safety of victims, communities in general, statutory rights of victims, and public health concerns related to COVID-19.
- Hearings before an assigned judge for warrants or body attachments for technical or minor violations of probation, failure to pay fines/costs, and failure to appear will continue to be scheduled promptly on the next business day.
- In light of the risks posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, expedited hearings will continue to be set for detained adults pending trial for non-violent criminal acts or technical/minor violations of probation, consistent with applicable rules and statutory requirements.
- When considering (1) bond/pre-trial release of adult defendants, (2) incarceration of newly arrested defendants, (3) before ordering residential treatment for a defendant participating in problem solving courts (4) sentencing for criminal offenses and in addition to applicable rules and statutory requirements, judges shall consider:
- Whether defendant suffers from a pre-existing condition making defendant more vulnerable to COVID-19;
- Whether defendant displays symptoms of or has tested positive for COVID-19;
- Whether the detention facility is able to address related medical issues;
- Whether a defendant displaying symptoms/tested positive for COVID-19 has, upon release, resources to meet basic food, housing, health and [if applicable] quarantine needs that may be required;
- Whether defendant presents a danger to a victim or to the community;
- Whether there are conditions/combination of conditions to reasonably protect against such danger;
- Unique circumstances specific to a defendant that affect consideration of whether release of that individual during the COVID-19 emergency is in the interests of justice.
- Rulings, and as necessary hearings for sentence modifications will continue to be completed promptly.
- When necessary for internal health and/or safety purposes at a detention facility, and consistent with section (c) of Chief Judge Barbera’s April 14, 2020 Second Amended Administrative Order Expanding and Extending Statewide Judiciary Restricted Operations Due to the COVID-19 Emergencyhearings for incarcerated individuals may be conducted via telephonic conference call and without the use of existing video monitors.
- Motions seeking emergency relief as described above or for other reasons per sections (i)(4), (j)(5), (9), (10), (11), and (12) of Chief Judge Barbera’s April 14, 2020 Second Amended Administrative Order will continue to be received via locked, lobby drop box in the Rockville District Court, 8:30 am – 4:pm M-F, via US mail, and after hours/weekends via the commissioners offices. The lobby box will continue to be checked hourly.
- Envelopes should be marked as EMERGENCY when feasible to facilitate efficient handling by the clerk’s office.
Issued this 15th day of April, 2020,
Administrative Judge, District Six
Circuit Court for Montgomery County:
|IN THE CIRCUIT COURT FOR MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MARYLAND
AMENDED ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER REGARDING
The Circuit Court for Montgomery County continues to closely monitor state and local responses to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and follow guidance provided by state and local public health agencies and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC having advised people to take precautions, and having noted that the best way to prevent illness is to avoid exposure to the virus, and for good cause found, it is this 30th day of April, 2020, by the Circuit Court for Montgomery County, Maryland
ORDERED, that effective on April 30, 2020, all persons entering the Circuit Court for Montgomery County shall wear a face mask, scarf, or other device covering their nose and mouth, except that any courthouse employee who is asymptomatic and not sharing an office space or cubicle with another person, or who can maintain a distance of at least 12 feet from co-employees or others even though sharing an office, may remove a mask, face covering or other device while in such office, and it is further
ORDERED, that such mask, scarf or device must otherwise be continuously worn by those persons during the time they are in the courthouse, and it is further
ORDERED, that all employees must wear a mask and latex gloves when delivering files or mail throughout the courthouse, and during all court proceedings, and it is further
ORDERED, that all law enforcement or security personnel shall wear a mask, scarf or other device at all security or screening stations; and it is further
ORDERED, that no person may ride on an elevator containing other persons, unless all persons are wearing a face mask, scarf, or other device, and it is further
ORDERED, that before any non-courthouse employee is admitted to the building, he or she shall consent to a thermal thermometer check, and is barred from entry if he or she declines to consent, or a temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or more is detected, and it is further
ORDERED, that the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office is authorized to deny admission or remove any person from the courthouse who is not in compliance with any of the terms of this Order.
Robert A. Greenberg, Administrative Judge,
These protocols will likely change. There are similar protocols for other counties although they are different depending on the county.
For the latest Corona Virus Updates from the Maryland Court please visit: www.courts.state.md.us/coronavirusupdate