Maryland Judiciary Annual Report 2021

• The courthouse in Anne Arundel County established a clerk’s office drop box conveniently located near the court’s entrance. During the height of the pandemic, court patrons were able to get paper filings to the court despite public counters being closed. As the pandemic lessens, the drop box continues to allow customers to deliver their documents without needing to go to a counter. This enables quick, easy access for paper filers. • The clerk’s office established an Ombudsperson program to provide staff with a peer to discuss issues or concerns regarding work, work environment, policies, and procedures. The Ombudsperson listens to the concerns and brings them to the attention of the clerk for any action deemed necessary to alleviate the concern. • The Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County celebrated two adoptions on November 18 during a private ceremony held virtually. Children were given gift baskets of items donated by court personnel. Judge William C. Mulford II, Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County, presided.

operations with necessary safety measures undertaken by the court and supported the court’s mission of providing meaningful access to justice through a combination of in- person and remote court proceedings. • On April 14, 2021, Administrative Judge Fred S. Hecker, Circuit Court for Carroll County, along with Judge Colleen A. Cavanaugh, Circuit Court for Baltimore County, Judge Michael A. DiPetro, Circuit Court for Baltimore City, then circuit Judge Angela M. Eaves, Circuit Court for Harford County, and Judge Mary M. Kramer, Circuit Court for Howard County, took part in a one-hour, online panel hosted by the Family Law Committee of the Baltimore County Bar Association. The “view from the bench” panel discussion covered a wide range of family law topics, including what the fact-finder needs to know, how the courts are using parenting plans, and what types of cases courts expect to continue to handle remotely. In fact, the judges provided tips for conducting successful virtual hearings. This initiative served to fulfill the court’s mission of exchanging best practice strategies with members of the bar with the ultimate goal of improving outcomes in family law cases which make up the majority of the court’s civil caseload.

• Established in 2007 as part of the Circuit Court for Carroll County , the Carroll County Adult Drug Treatment Court seeks to reduce dependency through intensive court supervision that provides an alternative to incarceration for some criminal offenders. On May 19, eight graduates from the program’s 33rd graduating class were recognized for their successful completion of the program during an outdoor ceremony at the Carroll County courthouse. • The Circuit Court for Carroll County held a virtual town hall to discuss operating changes to courthouse procedures as a result of emergency operations during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. The project served to educate and inform members of the bar about efforts to balance court Judge Judge Fred S. Hecker, administrative judge of the Circuit Court for Carroll County (right), Tammy Lofink, Rising Above Addiction (center), and Sarah Hare, Carroll County Adult Drug Treatment Court alum (left), pose in front of a golf cart at the 5th Annual Robert D. Kirkland Memorial Golf Classic.

Circuit Court for Carroll County

• The Circuit Court for Carroll County increased Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accommodations and access to justice in the Carroll County Clerk’s Office and the circuit court. The project was designed to give employees and guests with a disability and/or language barrier better access to the courthouse and to justice. Three additional disabled parking spaces were added to the rear of the courthouse annex, making for a total of six. Three of the parking spaces for the disabled will be reserved for disabled employees and the additional three parking spaces for disabled guests.

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