Random Entry Screening Procedure
The District Court of Maryland for Montgomery County will institute in the month of April, 2016 a Random Entry Screening Procedure for all persons who enter the District Court for Montgomery County for the Rockville (191 E. Jefferson Street) and Silver Spring (8552 Second Avenue) locations.
Random Entry Screening Procedure
District Court Bench Bar Committee
The District Court Bench Bar Committee meets on the first Thursday of each month unless special dates are required. The membership includes Kathy Knight, District Court Supervisor, SAO, John Lavigne, OPD Supervisor, a representative of the County Attorney, the Co-Chairs of the Committee and private attorneys who have registered as members. Bench Bar had its regularly scheduled meeting on February 2, 2017. Judge Wolfe brought up several matters of concern to bring to our attention:
BAIL REVIEW MOTIONS
District Court clerks are instructed to present any motions for modification of bail directly to the Court without waiting for a response from the State’s Attorney’s Office. Such motions should have specific and new information not already provided in a prior request to modify the existing bond. Do not use boilerplate phrases that fail to inform the Court why a motion should now be granted.
MOTIONS TO RECALL BENCH WARRANTS
Practitioners are reminded that a motion and proposed order is normally required in order to have a bench warrant recalled. Before filing such motions, the attorney should make certain that it was actually a bench warrant, not an arrest warrant authorized by District Court Commissioner. Judge Wolfe will not second-guess the Commissioner who issued an arrest warrant. For example, a Commissioner may have authorized an arrest warrant instead of a summons because there was no known address of the arrestee.
The sole exception for filing a motion involves cases where a defendant charged with a DUI offense failed to appear at a Preliminary Inquiry on a Tuesday or Thursday in Courtroom 513 of the Rockville District Court. In that situation, absent unusual delay, Counsel may enter an appearance on behalf of the defendant and then file a simple but separate line requesting the recall of the bench warrant. It is probably a good idea to present a proposed order of court to recall the warrant because the clerks are normally trained to require orders.
Judge Wolfe indicated that there has been an increase in the number of civil and criminal cases in which motions for various kinds of relief have been submitted to the clerk's office without any attorney signature. Please train your staff and look at this in each motion yourself.
CALL OF THE DOCKET IN CRIMINAL AND TRAFFIC CASES
Private attorneys are reminded they should be in the courtroom for the first call of the docket after the judge arrives each day. Judges have been instructed by the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals and by Judge Wolfe to be in court at 9:00 a.m. on criminal and traffic cases to begin calling the docket. Do not rely on prior experiences where judges were showing up at 9:15 or later, “… to give the State time to prepare.”
FULL SECURITY CHECKS
The “pilot project” for doing random but full screening several days per month has become a permanent procedure of the Montgomery County District Court. On random dates that will not be at announced in advance, all employees, lawyers, and the general public will have to submit to complete inspection of packages, purses, and briefcases.
MENTAL HEALTH COURT REMINDERS
District and Circuit Courts have different procedures for Mental Health Court in Montgomery County. In the District Court, the proper procedure for initiating a request for review there is to contact Maxine Curtis at 301–563–8890. Her office is on the sixth floor of the District Court building.
All requests for Mental Health Court designation will require a review, and such cases will not be set automatically. The State’s Attorney’s office has veto power, and defendants must be County residents. This is because Montgomery County facilities and programs will be used. Further, DV cases require special screening by the DV prosecutors assigned to such cases. Judge Patricia Mitchell is assigned to these cases, and they are heard every Thursday in the Rockville District Court, Courtroom 412.
DISTRICT COURT PRACTICE POINTERS
• Dismissal Upon Stipulated Terms:
It was traditional in civil matters, that if the parties reached a settlement by the court date but were not able to either complete the settlement or finalize the settlement agreement, attorneys would ask for the case to be “passed for settlement”. It has been a long time since this procedure has been followed. Due to case management and docket control issues, cases can not be left open.
To address the concern about reaching a settlement under circumstances where the Defendant wants to settle, but does not want a judgment entered, and the Plaintiff wants to have the ability to enforce the claim if there is a default under the settlement, Rule 3-506(b) was created to permit the parties to enter into a settlement agreement without entering a judgment against the Defendant, but still protecting the Plaintiff in the event that the settlement is not complied with.
Rule 3-506. Voluntary dismissal
(b) Dismissal upon stipulated terms. If an action is settled upon written stipulated terms and dismissed, the action may be reopened at any time upon request of any party to the settlement to enforce the stipulated terms through the entry of judgment or other appropriate relief.
• Note the following in connection with 3-506(b) dismissal:
1. There is no comparable rule in Circuit Court, this rule is only applicable to District Court.
2. The rule requires that the settlement stipulation be on written stipulated terms. The parties should create a memorandum of the agreement rather than requesting it to be dismissed without any written agreement that is signed by the parties.
3. The action may be reopened at any time upon the request of any parties to the settlement to enforce the stipulated terms through the entry of judgment or other appropriate relief.
4. Even though the case is entered as dismissed on the docket pursuant to the stipulated terms, the court requests that once a settlement is performed, the other party file a pleading to that effect, so that the record will reflect that the settlement has been satisfied.
5. A suggested form for a dismissal under this rule can be found at: