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Circuit Court Bench Bar Committee 

     Communication is important to the relationship between the members of the Bench and the Bar, but sometimes the proper manner or channels by which to communicate may seem awkward or confusing.  Also, the manner of communicating with a judge may sometimes raise ethical concerns, including prohibited ex parte communications.  In the past, the BAMC had an “alter ego” program in place, to assist attorney bar members in communicating with judges by expressing comments to another attorney assigned as the liaison or “alter ego” to the particular judge.  However, that program ended after a 2006 Maryland Judicial Ethics Opinion found that the “alter ego” relationship requires the recusal of a judge from any case being handled by that judge’s attorney “alter ego”.  Since that time, the BAMC’s District Court Bench-Bar Committee and Circuit Court Bench-Bar Committee have served as a vehicle by which an attorney member of the Bar may informally and anonymously express a comment regarding a judicial member of the applicable bench.  Both of these Bench-Bar Committees have recently reaffirmed that they are available for this purpose.  In this regard, each Bench-Bar Committee, through its chair or other designated committee or subcommittee members, who receives a comment about a judge through a telephone call or correspondence, then will exercise its discretion to determine whether the comment is of an appropriate nature to communicate to the subject judge, in an anonymous manner.  The BAMC is fortunate to have judges and attorneys who value informal avenues of communication that enhance the opportunity to reduce conflict between attorneys and judges, and improve both the access to, and the administration of, justice in Montgomery County.
     The Clerk of the Court, Loretta Knight, brings the following matters to your attention: 
     Repeal of Rule 1-322.2 // Amendment of Rule 1-322.1: The Court of Appeals on August 26, 2014, ordered that Rule 1-322.2 be repealed (the rule mandating that a “Certificate of Compliance” with Rule 1-322.1 be attached to all filings) and further ordered the amendments to Rule 1-322.1 be adopted which put the burden entirely on the filer to not include in the filing any personal identifier information.  The Rule lists all the personal identifier information affected by this rule.
     Dismissal Fee: When a Line of Dismissal is filed, a voluntary dismissal fee of $15.00 must be paid along with any outstanding court costs.   The Clerk’s office cannot docket the voluntary Line of Dismissal without the required fees being paid.
     Rule 1-311.  Signing of Pleadings and Other Papers: Please remember that every pleading and/or paper of a party represented by an attorney must be signed by an attorney who is admitted to practice law in the State of Maryland and who complies with Rule 1-312.     Pleadings and other papers that are not in compliance with Rule 1-311 cannot be accepted for filing.
     The Clerk’s office continues to receive pleadings that are signed by Paralegals and, as such, are not in compliance with Rule 1-311.  Accordingly, they cannot be accepted for filing and must be return to the sender.  This causes added expense and delay.
     Court Drop Box Procedure: The drop box was established to accommodate any filings made after 4:30 pm and before midnight (12:00 am) on any business day.  When a pleading is placed in the drop box it will be date stamped the previous business day.  The only exception to this procedure is when the file stamp on the pleading will be before the Certificate of Service date.    In these instances, we must file stamp the pleading with the date the pleading is retrieved from the drop box because the clerk cannot accept a pleading before the date of the admission of service. 
     Proposed Orders: Please remember to submit proposed orders with all motions, oppositions and petitions.  Having a proposed order submitted with the pleading eliminates confusion, any misunderstanding and speeds the process.
     The Clerk would like to know of any concerns, questions or suggestions you might have regarding her departments and/or procedures. Phone: 240-777-9464; email:
     If you have any concerns to bring to the Committee’s attention, please feel free to contact any Committee member or Committee Co-Chairs David C. Merkin at (301) 762-9200 or; or Michael A. Taylor at (301) 251-2772,


David C. Merkin
Michael A. Taylor


Committee Meetings

November 5 --
December 3, 2014
January 7, 2015
February 4, 2015
March 4, 2015
April 1, 2015
May 6, 2015
June 3, 2015
     Meetings will be held at 8AM on the 1st Wednesday of the month in the Administrative Judge's Conference Room, on the 3rd floor of the North Tower of the Circuit Court building, unless otherwise noted.