Administrative Order on Statewide Judiciary Restricted Operations Due to the COVID-19 Emergency

ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER ON
STATEWIDE JUDICIARY RESTRICTED OPERATIONS DUE TO THE COVID-19 EMERGENCY

WHEREAS, Pursuant to the Maryland Constitution, Article IV, § 18, the Chief Judge of the
Court of Appeals is granted authority as the administrative head of the Judicial Branch of the
State, including the closing of courts in the State of Maryland and non-court judicial facilities;
and
WHEREAS, The Court of Appeals has approved Chapter 1000 of Title 16 of the Maryland Rules of
Practice and Procedure setting forth the emergency powers of the Chief Judge of the Court of
Appeals; and
WHEREAS, In instances of emergency conditions, whether natural or otherwise, that significantly
affects access to or the operations of one or more courts or other judicial facilities of the State
or the ability of the Judiciary to operate effectively, the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals may
be required to determine the extent to which court operations or judicial functions shall continue;
and
WHEREAS, Due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, and consistent with
guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control, an emergency exists that poses a threat of
imminent and potentially lethal harm to vulnerable individuals who may come into contact with a
court or judicial facility and personnel; and
WHEREAS, To the extent possible, the courts and judicial offices and units have remained
operational and provided scheduled and required events while balancing the health and
safety needs of court visitors and personnel during the early stage of this emergency;
and

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WHEREAS, Further rapid escalation of the emergency requires more
comprehensive measures to protect the health and safety of Maryland residents and
Judiciary personnel,
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Mary Ellen Barbera, Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals and administrative
head of the Judicial Branch, pursuant to the authority conferred by Article IV, § 18 of
the Maryland Constitution, do hereby order this 16th day of March 2020, as follows:
(a) All courts in the Maryland Judiciary, court offices, administrative offices, units of the
Judiciary, and the Offices of the Clerks of the Circuit Courts and the clerks’ offices of the
District Court shall be restricted to emergency operations and closed with limited
exceptions as described in this order beginning on March 17, 2020, through April 3, 2020, or
until further order of the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals; and
(b) Each County and Baltimore City shall have sufficient judges to hear the
emergency matters listed in section (f) each weekday during the pendency of this Administrative
Order; and
(c) Essential personnel, as identified by administrative judges, court
administrators, clerks of courts, administrative clerks, administrative heads of units of the
Judiciary, shall report as required. If an employee identified as essential is unable to serve due
to illness or otherwise has been excused consistent with applicable leave policies, a substitute
shall be determined by that employee’s administrative head; and
(d) For the duration of the emergency, all incumbent Maryland judges are hereby
cross-designated to sit in any trial court in the state of Maryland; and

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(e) For the pendency of the emergency, incumbent judges shall be available to respond in
person or remotely by phone, e-mail or other electronic means, as shall be determined by their
administrative judge; and
(f) In keeping with the urgency of the following mandatory matters and consistent
with statutory requirements, such matters shall continue to be scheduled or heard,
either in person or remotely pursuant to the Administrative Order on Remote
Electronic Participation in Judicial Proceedings, June 18, 2018. (The court shall notify all
participants necessary to the proceeding.):
(1) In the Court of Appeals:
(A) certain election law matters
(B) certain petitions for Writs of Mandamus
(C) certain certified questions of law
(D) quarantine and isolation matters;

(2) In the Court of Special Appeals:

(A) requests for injunctive relief pending appeal
(B) appeals in cases in which a lack of action would result in a dispositive outcome
(C) appeals from quarantine and isolation petitions;

(3) In the Circuit Courts:
(A) bail reviews/bench warrants
(B) arraignments for detained defendants
(C) juvenile detention hearings
(D) emergency evaluation petitions
(E) quarantine and isolation petitions
(F) extradition cases
(G) body attachments

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(H) extreme risk protective order appeals
All other emergency matters shall be handled pursuant to (g);
(4) In the District Court:
(A) bail reviews/bench warrants
(B) emergency evaluation petitions
(C) quarantine and isolation violations
(D) body attachments

District Court Commissioners shall handle the following matters:

(A) new extreme risk protective order petitions
(B) new domestic violence protective petitions
(C) new peace order petitions
(D) initial appearances
(E) applications for statement of charges
(F) acceptance of bail bonds
(G) bench warrant satisfactions

All other emergency matters shall be handled pursuant to (g);

(g) For all other emergency matters including those listed below, the
administrative judge or his or her designee shall review the petition, determine whether
it must be heard in person, or can be heard with remote electronic participation, or can be
scheduled after the emergency period has ended, or can be resolved without a hearing:
(1) shelter care hearings and/or related adjudications
(2) emergency delinquency hearings
(3) emergency Habeas Corpus petitions
(4) emergency issues in guardianship matters
(5) domestic violence protective orders
(6) appeals from peace orders

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(7) family law emergencies
(8) temporary restraining orders
(9) criminal competency matters
(10) motions regarding:
(A) extreme risk protective orders
(B) domestic violence protective orders
(C) peace orders
(11) contempt hearings related to peace or protective orders
(12) matters involving locally incarcerated defendants;
(h) This Administrative Order does not affect the courts’ consideration or resolution
of matters that can be addressed without a proceeding that involves testimony or argument; and
(i) Search warrants must be addressed on a 24-hour, 7-day per week basis. Search
warrants shall be handled electronically to the greatest extent possible. The
administrative judges of the Circuit Courts and the District Court each shall designate a
judge who is responsible to cover search warrant duty for a specified timeframe; and
(j) All other matters scheduled to be heard beginning March 17, 2020, through April 3, 2020,
are hereby postponed, pending further order of the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals; and
(k) Pursuant to Maryland Rule 16-1003(a)(7), statutory and rules deadlines related to
the adjudication of criminal and juvenile matters shall be suspended and shall be
extended by the number of days that the courts are closed by order of the Chief Judge of the Court
of Appeals, but no fewer than twenty-one (21) business days after the first day that the courts
have been reopened; and
(l) Essential court personnel shall be available to the public by telephone between
the hours of 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM. MDEC continues to be available for electronic filing and is
required to be used for all MDEC counties. For

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pleadings not required to be filed electronically, filings will be received by mail and may be
received via drop boxes installed at local courthouses; and
(m) Other than as set forth in this Administrative Order, deadlines established by Maryland
statutes or rules remain in effect; and
(n) For the duration of this emergency, the date of filing will be considered the date a
mailed filing has been postmarked or, if filed via a drop box, the previous business
day, unless there is a timestamp on the drop box; and
(o) The Administrative Order on Statewide Closing of the Courts to the Public Due to the
COVID-19 Emergency filed on March 13, 2020, is rescinded effective March 17, 2020; and
(p) To the extent that this Administrative Order conflicts with extant
Administrative Orders, local administrative orders or policies, this Administrative
Order shall prevail; and
(q) This Administrative Order will be revised as circumstances warrant.

/s/ Mary Ellen Barbera Mary Ellen Barbera Chief Judge
Court of Appeals of Maryland

Filed: March 16, 2020

/s/ Suzanne C. Johnson Suzanne C. Johnson Clerk
Court of Appeals of Maryland

2020-03-17 08:04-04:00

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