Maryland courts postpone jury trials amid virus surge

December 28, 2021 GMT

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Maryland’s judiciary announced plans Monday to postpone jury trials and reduce other court operations amid a surge in coronavirus cases.

The emergence of more contagious variants and the risk to those who are vaccinated and those who haven’t completed the vaccination process requires the return to more restrictive emergency operations, according to an order from Maryland Court of Appeals Chief Judge Joseph Getty.

On Monday, state health officials reported 5,376 new cases, an increase in hospitalizations to 1,714 and an increase in the seven-day testing positivity rate to more than 16.5%.

Jury trials scheduled between Wednesday and Feb. 8 will be rescheduled, but district and circuit courts will hear specific case types remotely or in-person. Ongoing jury trials will be allowed to conclude.

Both the Court of Appeals and Court of Special Appeals will remain fully operational, but the chief judge may determine whether to hold proceedings in person or remotely. Clerks’ offices will remain open to the public.

“Although reduced in operations, our courts will continue to remain open, ensure access to justice, and provide fair, efficient, and effective justice for all,” Getty said in a statement.