Kent County Circuit Courthouse

Maryland Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera issued an order on April 14 extending public closures until June 5.

The amended order provides detailed instructions to appellate and trial judges and clerks on subjects such as the public’s access to court staff to answer questions. The order also sets guidance on who and how expedited and emergency matters will be handled. The Chief Judge continues to stress that courts and counsel should advance cases where court-intervention is not required.

Local circuit administrative judges are in turn issuing their own guidance. Kent County Circuit Court administrative judge Harris P. Murphy issued a statement that addressed scheduling of criminal, domestic, and other civil matters.

The Kent County Circuit Court is experimenting the conducting of remote electronic proceedings where possible. Non-domestic civil trials scheduled during the closure period will be rescheduled once normal court operations resume. The amended order does not impact trials scheduled after June 5.

Queen Anne’s Circuit Court judge Lynn Knight issued a statement through her law clerk, Jacqueline Studley, “in the hopes of clearing up any confusion regarding electronic hearings and encouraging attorneys to keep everything moving.”

Judge Knight is deploying Skype to conduct electronic hearings that have been authorized by the Chief Judge’s latest order. The court is hearing cases electronically Tuesdays and Fridays. The magistrate is hearing emergency CINA and domestic cases electronically the need a rises.

Parties to court proceedings are encouraged to visit the court’s website or contact their attorney.