Notice to Counsel Regarding Criminal Docket in Circuit Court for Baltimore County

This Notice is intended to address scheduling of arraignments, requests to discharge counsel, and motions pending in criminal cases in the Circuit Court for Baltimore County, effective March 1, 2015.  It may be modified or supplemented from time-to-time in the future. 

Arraignments:

Commencing on March 1, 2015, arraignments in felony cases where the defendant is not incarcerated will be scheduled on an Administrative Criminal Docket that will be scheduled on Monday each week.  The arraignment for any defendant who is incarcerated will continue to be held with the video bail reviews.

Once the defendant is arraigned, he/she will be given notice to appear at a follow up Arraignment/Status Hearing that will be held on the Administrative Criminal Docket in four weeks.  If counsel enters an appearance on behalf of the defendant in advance of the Arraignment/Status Hearing, the hearing will be vacated and there is no need to appear.  At the subsequent Arraignment/Status Hearing, the Court will review the efforts of the defendant to employ counsel.  The court will also determine whether any change should be made to the trial schedule.  If the defendant states an intent to proceed without counsel, an initial waiver of counsel hearing will be conducted.  The State will then be required to provide discovery directly to the defendant.  If the defendant states he/she still intends either to retain counsel, or to apply for services through the Office of the Public Defender, the matter will be re-set for another Arraignment/Status Hearing in four weeks.

If the State seeks not to provide discovery to the defendant directly, the State shall file a Motion to Extend Time to Provide Discovery at the arraignment hearing, along with a proposed Order that extends the time for discovery to the date set for the follow-up Arraignment/Status Hearing.

Requests to Discharge Counsel:

Any motion or correspondence that can be liberally construed to be either a request to discharge counsel or an indication of dissatisfaction with the services of present counsel shall be set promptly for hearing to conduct an appropriate inquiry pursuant to Maryland Rule 4-215(e).  If the motion or correspondence is filed sufficiently in advance of any scheduled trial date, the hearing shall be set on the Administrative Criminal Docket whenever possible.  If the matter cannot be set on the Administrative Criminal Docket, it shall be scheduled as a collateral matter before the Postponement Judge.

Requests to discharge counsel made on the date of any hearing or trial shall be referred to the Postponement Judge for consideration, except in cases that are specially assigned.  The Postponement Judge will conduct an inquiry pursuant to Maryland Rule 4-215(e), and also rule upon any related request for postponement.

Motions:

Mandatory motions in criminal cases are required to be filed within 30 days after the earlier of the appearance of counsel or the first appearance of the defendant before the court, except when discovery discloses the basis for the motion, in which case motions are to be filed within five days after the discovery is furnished, pursuant to Maryland Rule 4-252.  While non-mandatory motions may be filed at any time, whenever possible they should be filed in advance of trial. 

Counsel are strongly encouraged to litigate motions in advance of the trial date to avoid unnecessary delays in jury selection, thereby potentially lengthening the time required for juror service.  When a motions date is set in advance of the trial date, it will be scheduled on the docket at 1:30 p.m. starting on March 1, 2015.  A motions date should not be requested unless counsel believes there are motions to be litigated.  If a motions date is set and no written motion is filed, the hearing will be canceled. 

 

Hon. Kathleen Gallogly Cox, Circuit and County Administrative Judge

Hon. Robert E. Cahill, Jr., Criminal Case Coordinating Judge