Circuit Court Status During Closure

With the court closure extended until at least May 4th, we continue to operate with essential personnel.  The following matters occur on a continuing basis:

  • MDEC pleadings are processed, either through personnel in the courthouse or those working remotely.  Almost all are docketed on the day they are received and are tasked for rulings in the normal course of business.
  • Non-MDEC users can file papers through the drop box in the lobby of the courthouse during business hours.  There is a separate drop box for land records matters. These are processed daily by the Clerk’s Office. 
  • Criminal Matters
    • Bail reviews and habeas petitions are handled daily via video at 9:00 a.m. in Courtroom 15 or 18.  Remote participation can be arranged by contacting Phil Pokorny at Philip.Pokorny@mdcourts.gov.
    • VOP bench warrant hearings are scheduled the morning after pickup on the video bail docket.
  • Family Law Matters
    • Requests for emergency hearing are tasked for review daily by Judge Jakubowski, with remote hearings set when appropriate.
    • Domestic violence petitions pending final hearing will be set the week courts re-open.  Requests for other interim consideration are tasked for review by Judge Jakubowski.
    • Requests for extensions of existing domestic violence orders are tasked for review to Judge Cavanaugh. 
    • Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) matters are being reviewed and set for a remote hearing by Judge Ballou-Watts if the juvenile is approaching his or her 21st birthday.
  • A Chambers Judge is assigned daily to process routine matters and review any requests for ex parte relief. 
  • Juvenile Matters
    • Detention hearings are scheduled daily with a juvenile judge through Zoom whenever needed.
    • CINA shelters are reviewed daily with remote hearings set through Webex with a juvenile judge.
  • Guardianship Matters
    • Requests for emergency hearings are screened through the Guardianship Case Manager and referred to a guardianship judge for consideration.  Remote hearings will be set when appropriate by Jessica Labenberg, who can be contacted at Jessica.Labenberg@mdcourts.gov.
  • Marriage Licenses are not being processed except in emergency circumstances such as imminent deployment, serious illness, etc.  Requests for emergency consideration must be made in writing to the licensing department at ccbaltcoclerklicensing@mdcourts.gov.  These are reviewed by the Administrative Judge who will authorize remote issuance of a license in appropriate circumstances.

As the length of this closure extends, we are exploring ways to promote remote resolution of civil and family law matters.  Settlement conferences that have been postponed will be re-scheduled, and upcoming conferences will be scheduled with remote participation.  Questions concerning remote settlement conferencing can be sent to Abby Cohen at Abigail.Cohen@mdcourts.gov. Family law matters that are fully resolved can also be scheduled for remote hearing by contacting Abby Cohen.