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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

We would like to welcome the four new District Court judges that were appointed to the by Governor Hogan in December.

Carlos Acosta has been the Inspector General for the Prince George’s County Police Department since 2012. Prior to his position with the Prince George’s County Police Department, he worked as a media program manager for the U.S. Department of Justice, and also served as an Assistant State’s Attorney in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties. Mr. Acosta received his J.D. from Southern Methodist University School of Law, and his M.A. and B.A. from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Amy Bills is currently Division Chief for the Juvenile Court within the State’s Attorney’s office for Montgomery County; she has served as a prosecutor with the State’s Attorney’s office for Montgomery County since 1997. Prior to her assignment as Division Chief, she served regularly as a prosecutor in the District and Circuit Courts. Ms. Bills received her J.D. from Widener University Commonwealth Law School and her B.A. from the University of Delaware.

Karen Ferretti is a partner at Armstrong, Donohue, Ceppos, Vaughan & Rhoades, Chtd.; she has worked as an attorney with the firm since 2011. Prior to joining her current firm, she worked at McCarthy, Wilson & Ethridge and clerked for The Honorable D. Warren Donohue from 1996-1997. Ms. Ferretti received her J.D. from the University of Baltimore and her B.A. from Loyola College.

Aileen Oliver has been a solo practitioner in Montgomery County since 1998. Prior to becoming a solo practitioner, she worked as claims litigation counsel for State Farm Insurance Company and served for five years as a prosecutor in Prince George’s County. Ms. Oliver received her J.D. from Howard University School of Law and her B.A. from North Carolina A&T State University.

After Hours Filing of District Court Pleadings
Did you miss filing something important before District Court closed at 4:30 on a weekday?   You can still go next door to the Rockville District Court on 191 East Jefferson Street and file any appropriate pleading at the Rockville Commissioner’s Office.  Pleadings filed before Midnight will be date stamped as if filed by 4:30 p.m. on the same date.  Pleadings filed after Midnight are stamped the next business day.

Court Closings due to inclement weather
As we get into the winter and possibility of bad weather, the court advises that the weather closing procedure will be the same as last year.  The Circuit Court and the District Court will make a joint decision regarding whether there will be any court closing due to bad weather.  The decision is made no later than 5:00 a.m.  As soon as a decision is made the major news outlets are notified, as well as the Judiciary website. 

Although Judges Greenberg and Mitchell coordinate, District Court Chief Judge John P. Morrissey has the “final say” on announcements of closing the District Court.  Therefore, the public announcement of a Montgomery County District Court closing may be reported after a Circuit Court closing has already been announced.

Just in case you were wondering, District Court Commissioners are considered “essential employees” and are not excused to working in case of inclement weather.

Telephone calls from attorneys running late 
The District Court has emergency numbers for attorneys only to contact each court location if attorneys are running late to a scheduled trial or proceeding. 

The Silver Spring number is 301-563-8520, and the Rockville number is 301-563-8867.

Date on Pleadings
This has been mentioned before, but it is important to remember to put the pending trial or hearing date on the caption of your pleadings under the case number, especially with motions.  The clerk’s offices get backed up and will try to give more immediate attention to pleadings that involve cases that are coming up in the near future.

ANNOUNCEMENTS FOR CRIMINAL CASES AND PROCEDURES

District Court Commissioners; Public Defender Eligibility
As a reminder, District Court Commissioners are still required to conduct interviews and provide forms for all people who are seeking representation by the public defender’s office. Although commissioners can conduct eligibility interviews 24 hours per day, and applicants must still complete the process more than 10 days before the trial date set in the case. Applicants must also see the public defender’s office within the same deadline if they expect to talk with their assigned public defender.

We have recently been informed that the District Court has been down four commissioners, causing some backlogs to occur.  Applicants for hiring were scheduled to be interviewed in January.

Mental Health Court
The District Court has been reviewing standard procedures for mental health court in an effort to make it more predictable when persons in the program are being moved through the system and out into civilian life. Incentives are being discussed, also.

The court still at full capacity currently but there is a waiting list for people interested in the program who have not yet been assessed and admitted.

Judge Mitchell is still involved in the program but Judge Sabett is handling the Thursday dockets more frequently. Judge Sarsfield is, however, providing backupp.

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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

February 28, 2018
March 28, 2018
April 25, 2018

Committee Meetings will be held on the 1st Wednesday 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.