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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 regular meeting of District Court Bench Bar was held Wednesday, February 28, 2018. Judge Mitchell presided and discussed several matters of current interest for the Bar.

Criminal and Traffic Matters

Special Scheduling for Violation of Probation Hearings:
Judge Mitchell announced a plan to reduce a current backlog concerning hearings to consider violation of probation allegations.  Three judges will participate in the plan, Judges Mitchell, Sabett and Sarsfield, and all hearings will be in April for now.  Each judge will be handling 40 to 45 hearings in each morning, and then again each afternoon.

These special VOP hearings will be conducted in the Rockville District Court in Courtroom 612 at separate times for the morning and afternoon. Only VOP hearings will be considered [not reconsideration requests]. Extra Hispanic interpreters will be available, but Counsel should notify District Court if an interpreter is needed for some other language.

Judge Mitchell's date is Thursday, April 5, 2018
Judge Sabett's date is Tuesday, April 10, 2018
Judge Sarsfield's date is Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Defense Counsel and/or Public Defenders who have conflicts on any of these dates are advised to file a written motion promptly.

This program might be repeated, but the key is Courtroom 612 will be the location.

Computer Glitch regarding failures to appear in certain driving suspended cases:
Since October 1, 2017, certain kinds of driving suspended charges no longer carry a jail sentence.  See Transportation Article, Sections 16-303(h) and 16-303(i), and 17-101.  Many times these non-incarcerable subsections are combined to other charges that include jail, for example, 16-303(c). 

If a defendant fails to appear on a charging document that carries a combination of incarcerable and non-incarcerable versions of driving suspended, a failure to appear is entered along with a bench warrant.  The computer glitch involves the fact that failure to appear violations of 16-303(h) and (i) result in a conviction of either of those charges, even though no trial or guilty has occurred.

Defendants may receive points notices in addition to any suspension that is caused by the FTA’s themselves. 

This conviction can be cured manually by a supervisor in District Court, but is not automatic.  Attorneys who learn this has happened should call the criminal traffic clerk’s office for guidance. 

New Legislation in the Works:
Senate Bill 170 and companion House legislation has been approved and is likely to be signed by the Governor and become law.

Unless enacted as an emergency [unlikely], effective October 1, 2018, Title 3, Subtitle 3 of the Criminal Law Article will make it a new crime to violate a condition of pretrial release prohibiting a person from contacting, harassing, or abusing an alleged victim, or going in or near the alleged victim’s residence or place of employment.

The penalty for each violation is imprisonment not exceeding 90 days.

Matters of General Interest

BAMC Law Day Functions:  May 4, 2018
In order to permit District Court Judges to attend the Luncheon at Law Day that day, most District Courts courtrooms will be in recess from 11:15 a.m. to 2:15 p.m.

The exception is that bond hearings in Rockville, Courtroom 513, will be open as usual beginning at 1:00 p.m.

Meet and Greet to Be Set Soon:
District Court is planning to schedule an afternoon social event on a Wednesday afternoon in the next two months.  All of the judges are expected to be introduced, along with designated supervisors for major departments. The emphasis will be providing short information to attendees, but no major CLE.

Some refreshments, but not alcohol, will be offered if the final plan is actually done in District Court.

Civil Matters

Late Filed Notices of Intention to Defend
The Court has developed a procedure for “Late” filed Notices of Intention to Defend. The new procedure is included in the Newsletter. This addresses problems caused to plaintiffs’ counsel who do not become aware until the last minute that a case is contested because the defendant did not file a timely defense.

Recall of Body Attachments when Defendants File Bankruptcy
If Plaintiffs’ counsel becomes aware that a defendant has filed bankruptcy in a case where they have an outstanding Body Attachment, counsel should notify the court to recall the body attachment.

 ~

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

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.