CUMBERLAND — The Maryland Judiciary entered into the final phase of its COVID-19 emergency progressive reopening plan on Oct. 5. All courts in Maryland are fully operational with the resumption of jury trials in criminal and civil cases in circuit courts statewide.
Anyone entering a courthouse is required to wear a mask; submit to a written or verbal questionnaire regarding any COVID-19 related symptoms; and submit to a contactless thermometer temperature check.
“Jury trials require the assembly of large groups of citizens in order to allow the selection of an impartial jury. Doing this responsibly, while safeguarding due process, is a complex challenge that the leaders of the circuit courts have worked hard to meet,” said Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera, Maryland Court of Appeals. “New courtroom layouts include Plexiglas shields and distanced seating. They are among the many measures the Judiciary has employed to limit the risk of COVID-19 transmission. Those called for jury service can be assured that we will continue to safeguard, as much as we reasonably can, the health of the public, including jurors, Judiciary personnel and justice partners.”
In a new jury video produced by the Maryland Judiciary’s Administrative Office of the Courts, “Jury Duty COVID-19 Safety Precautions,” members of the public who are called for jury duty can see sanitation efforts and preparations made by the courts before jurors enter a court building.
The Maryland Judiciary is routinely cleaning buildings with a focus on frequently touched surfaces. The new video shows how jury assembly rooms, deliberation rooms and courtrooms have been modified to comply with such guidelines. Plexiglas shields have been installed in jury rooms and courtrooms to minimize the risk of transmission of COVID-19. Additional rooms and buildings may be used to allow social distancing as required.
Find more information on COVID-19 and court operations at https://mdcourts.gov/coronavirusinformationforpublic.
Courts across Maryland will continue using technology for remote proceedings, either by video or telephone. Visit mdcourts.gov or call the clerk’s office for information before arriving at a courthouse location.