Starting October of this year, courtrooms in the state of Maryland are hoping to fully continue lingering legal operations in a phased-in strategy that could take the entire summer. Though many court proceedings have been paused, essential activities like arrangements, bail reviews, self-help legal centers, and juvenile detention hearings have continued remotely. However, judicial heads have stated they are unable to conduct certain functions remotely, such as grand jury proceedings, so court administrators have let grand jurors secretly meet in other places–with social distancing guidelines intact.
The House Judiciary Committee was handed a phased plan by judiciary leaders to reopen the courthouses across Maryland. The plan is as follows:
- On June 5th, 2020, the Committee will increase the amount of proceedings deemed an emergency.
- On July 20th, 2020, clerk’s office will reopen, limited non-jury trials will start up again and witness testimony will now be permitted.
- On August 31, 2020, there will be a full recommencement of non-jury trials.
- On October 5, 2020, all courts are expected to resume full operations.
During the reopening, courthouse personnel and visitors are expected to undergo health screening prior to entering the facilities.
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