Jury trials are suspended across Maryland until the end of April after the state’s chief judge issued an administrative order Tuesday amid a surge of coronavirus cases.

Maryland Court of Appeals Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera said in the order that Phase II operations will also remain in effect until March 14. Jury trials won’t resume until April 23.

District Court and circuit courts hear specific case types remotely or in-person in Phase II, and are using technology for remote proceedings, either by video or telephone, though it varies by court location. Also throughout the phase, clerks’ offices throughout the state will remain open to the public for emergency purposes and by appointment for other matters.

“The surge in COVID-19 cases during November is expected to be sustained through the winter, making it necessary for the Maryland Judiciary to remain in Phase II of its operations plan,” Barbera wrote in the order. “We will continue to monitor the public health emergency and adjust court operations, as necessary, to protect the safety of the public, judges, and Judiciary personnel. We will also ensure that as many of the Judiciary’s core functions continue to the extent the emergency conditions allow.”

Maryland courts had resumed full operations, including jury trials, on Oct. 5 but in November they were scaled back again after COVID-19 cases continued to rise across the state.


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