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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. 

Mental Health Court

The plans for implementing the Mental Health Court for the District Court in Montgomery County are coming together.  Mental Health Court is scheduled to begin December 15, 2016, at the Rockville every Thursday in Courtroom 412 .  Judge Patricia Mitchell will be the primary presiding judge.  Assistant State’s Attorneys Kathy Knight and Katherine Getty will assist.

New Judges

The District Court currently has three judicial vacancies to be filled.   The Court hopes that the new judges will be appointed by the end of the year.

Random Screening

The random screening process has been in use for six months and means that attorneys will occasionally have to go through full screening just like the public.  The court is satisfied that it is working smoothly and not causing undue delay so the project will continue at least several times per month at each court location.  There is a possibility that it will be expanded to full time, so attorney input to the Bench Bar co-chairs would be appreciated.

Continuance Requests and Motions

Once again the court is requesting attorney cooperation with continuance requests and motions.

a.         Put the pending court date under the case number.

b.         State what the conflict is with the court date, which court date was set first, any good cause claimed, and the position of opposing counsel..

c.         In civil cases it is essential to seek agreement on new date(s)  that are proposed and noted in the motion.

d.         If a motion concerns a criminal case where the defendant is incarcerated, it is probable that the ruling will be deferred to the judge in open court.

Overscheduling

Insurance defense counsels are requested not to have more than two trials at the same time.  The court does not want to tie up resources, parties and witnesses waiting for attorneys.

Criminal Cases

If a bench warrant has been issued for a defendant who failed to appear for a DUI Preliminary Inquiry, the Clerk’s Office is being instructed to withdraw the bench warrant if defense counsel enters an appearance and makes that request. 

If a defendant failed to appear to a date where he was issued a summons to received charges, counsel must appear personally at the Clerk’s Office to sign a special waiver that only the Clerk’s Office can provide you.  Again, a bench warrant could be recalled more simply.

Attorneys seeking to waive a preliminary hearing must file a written waiver not later than 4:00 p.m. on the Wednesday before the Friday preliminary hearing.  If that deadline is missed,  the lawyer and the client must appear personally on Friday.  No State’s Attorney has authority to waive either the appearance of the attorney or the client.

Where the Maryland Rules permit a special appearance in a criminal case, the exact nature of the limitation must be set forth in the line of appearance.  Failure to do so might result in the attorney remaining generally.

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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:
http://www.courts.state.md.us/district/forms/civil/dccv021.pdf

Co-Chairs

Reginald W. Bours
Richard D. London

 

Meeting
Dates

December 1, 2016
January 5, 2017
February 2, 2017
March 2, 2017
April 6, 2017

Committee Meetings will be held on the 1st Thursday of the month (September - May) at 8AM in the Judges Conference Room in the District Court building, 191 East Jefferson St., Rockville, MD, unless otherwise noted.