Notable AOC Highlights from 2021 • The Maryland Judiciary was ranked number one among state courts for providing access to justice on the Justice Index, a measure of the degree to which each state has adopted best practices for ensuring access to justice for all people, published by the National Center for Access to Justice (NCAJ). • Access to Justice (ATJ) received the American Bar Association’s (ABA) prestigious Hodson Award, which recognizes outstanding performance and extraordinary service by a government or public-sector law office. ATJ also received the Enhancing Justice Award from the National Association for Court Management (NACM) for managing the successful transition to using integrated interpreter management software in all courts, the award recognizes courts and related organizations for commendable projects and exemplary accomplishments that enhance the administration of justice. • Judicial Information Systems (JIS) installed equipment for remote hearings in courts throughout Maryland. At the end of 2021, the project was over 80% complete and expected to be finished in early 2022. • The Maryland Judiciary, through its Programs Division, provided approximately $30 million in grants for fiscal year 2022 to support
court innovations and services statewide. • Programs’ grant totals by department*:
• $661,289.76 – Research and Analysis • $2,126,630.00 – Access to Justice • $5,903,595 – Office of Problem-Solving Courts (OPSC) Circuit Court Grants • $18,529,286.99 – Juvenile and Family Services • $2,847,938.20 – Mediation and Conflict Resolution Office (MACRO)
*The grant totals listed here reflect the FY22 grant cycle, July 1, 2021-June 30, 2022. These grants were provided in calendar year 2021.
• The use of text messaging for defendant notifications to include District and circuit court clerks as well as court commissioners was implemented in December 2021. The case notification project has been a huge success, and the expansion of its capabilities benefits more people and increases the visibility to more in the judiciary to manage the process. • Internal Affairs has worked with Government Relations and Public Affairs (GRPA) in 2021 to update Preventing Sexual Harassment Judiciary-wide training. This project, which launched in January 2022, is central to building a common awareness among judges and employees of what sexual harassment is, how it negatively affects our workplace, and how to report sexual harassment using reporting mechanisms.
• The Judicial College of Maryland provided continuing education to over 17,250 learners and released 180 online lessons over the last 24 months compared to offering no online lessons prior to the COVID-19 emergency.
• JIS added an additional layer of protection to ensure user identities by implementing the Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) verification method that requires a user to provide additional information when accessing a system. This particular method gained popularity as mobile phones have become pervasive and can be used to validate identity. At the close of the project in July 2021, there were over 3,400 users registered to use MFA. • The Maryland Judiciary, through its Access to Justice (ATJ) department, revised the Court Language Services web content and created a Court Language Services Toolkit to aid judges and court staff to respond effectively to the needs of persons with limited English proficiency or who are deaf or hard of hearing.
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