The Judiciary’s Joint Subcommittee on Post-COVID Judicial Operations held two successful listening sessions in December 2021 that allowed members of the bar and the public to share feedback and suggestions as to which technology and changes adopted during the COVID-19 pandemic proved to be most beneficial. An internal survey requesting feedback on the success of those innovations garnered 1,800 responses and a series of external surveys issued by the subcommittee yielded hundreds of pages of responses from 94 different organizations. “COVID-19 has taught us that remote technology is a critical tool for ensuring that our courts continue to provide access to justice,” said then Chief Judge Fader, Court of Special Appeals of Maryland, who was elevated to Court of Appeals of Maryland by Governor Hogan in February 2022. “During this public health emergency, and thanks to the great efforts of staff across the Judiciary, we have been given an opportunity to explore and use innovative methods to deliver justice. I look forward to working with the other members of the Subcommittee to evaluate the novel uses of technology and other techniques we’ve adapted to meet the challenges of the pandemic to best serve the Maryland Judiciary moving forward.”
On April 26, 2021, the Maryland Judiciary transitioned from Phase IV to Phase V of the Judiciary’s coronavirus phased reopening plan, allowing courts to resume full operations, including jury trials. However, due to the surge in Maryland of COVID-19 cases as a result of the highly contagious Omicron variant, the Judiciary re-entered Phase III under Chief Judge Getty’s administrative order. Effective December 29, 2021, all jury trials were suspended through February 8, 2022, and subsequently extended to March 6 through an additional order. Appellate courts in Maryland remained operational, but remote proceedings occurred at the chief judge’s discretion. In 2021, there were 623 appellate filings in the Court of Appeals and 1,226 direct filings in the Court of Special Appeals. As the Maryland Judiciary reflects on the many lessons learned during the COVID-19 health pandemic, judges, leadership, and Judiciary staff continue to work together to provide access to fair, efficient, and effective justice for all.
6 | Maryland Judiciary
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