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How the Court Works

The following pages will help explain the processes that drive how the Mongtomery County Circuit Court operates. Information in these pages is written and presented in such a way as to help all parties, as well as legal scholars, understand how cases are initiated and managed.

The following topics require their own pages. Additional topics about scheduling and postponing a case are below. You can also search for additional topics from the SEARCH bar located at the top of each page.

 

Understanding How Scheduling Works

The Differentiated Case Management (DCM) process expedites cases by assigning them to different tracks. Each track has mandatory guidelines for certain milestones on the case (e.g., Scheduling Hearing, Discovery, Trial); adherence to these milestones is closely monitored.

Criminal, civil, and family cases are assigned to the appropriate DCM track at the filing of the case. Tracks are determined by the parties and are based on the complexity of the issues and the amount of trial time needed.

Based on DCM guidelines, each case is assigned a Scheduling Hearing, Status Hearing, and/or Settlement/Pre-Trial Hearing. Depending on the issues and the case type, the judge or family magistrate will distribute scheduling orders that schedule deadlines for discovery, motions, and pre-trial statements to be filed.

  • Civil Trial dates (Tracks 2 and 3) are scheduled at the Status Hearing or Settlement/Pre-Trial Hearing. The trial dates are normally scheduled within 60-90 days from the scheduled hearing.
  • Criminal Jury Demands and Appeals (Track 1) are assigned a trial date at the Pre-Trial hearing. Criminal Indictments and Information (Tracks 2, 3, & 4) are assigned a trial date at the Rule 4-215/Scheduling Hearing.
  • Family Trials or Hearings are normally scheduled at the Scheduling Hearing or Settlement/Status Pre-Trial Hearing held before one of the Family Magistrates of the Circuit Court.
  • Juvenile Hearings are scheduled automatically at the time of filing. Dates may be adjusted within the mandatory guidelines at the Pre-Trial Hearing.
  • Other cases that are not on a scheduling track will be sent to the Assignment Office for scheduling when all parties have filed an Answer (a written response to the original filing). Assignment Office staff will confirm time estimates, when possible, schedule the case for the next available date on the court’s calendar, and mail a notification of trial/hearing to all parties.

To have a motion scheduled for a hearing, all parties must file their motions before the Motions Filing Deadline date. However, not all motions are scheduled for hearings. Many of the discovery motions are sent to the Court’s Special Magistrate to determine whether a hearing is necessary under the rules.

When a judge rules that a motion is appropriate for a hearing, the Assignment Office will schedule it after the appropriate response time is due (normally 18 days after the motion is filed) and mail a hearing scheduling notice to the parties. Motions are scheduled for one-half hour and are scheduled before the presiding Motions Judge for the week. Motions hearings may be scheduled for matters that are anticipated to take longer than one-half hour if the parties request additional time in writing.

Parties must file a written motion to postpone, with the reason(s) listed, before the actual hearing or trial date and later follow up with the ruling of the motion. For additional information about Criminal and Civil motions for postponement, please refer to the Criminal and Civil Motions for Postponement Procedures (PDF). For additional information about Family motions for postponement, please refer to the Family Postponement Procedure Guide. (PDF)

Civil Motions, District Court Appeals, Uncontested Divorces, and various other court events may be moved one time by a letter of agreement of all parties. For additional information about Criminal and Civil motions for postponement, please refer to the Criminal and Civil Motions for Postponement Procedures (PDF). For additional information about Family motions for postponement, please refer to the Family Postponement Procedure Guide (PDF).

The Administrative Judge must make a Finding of Extraordinary Cause to postpone a hearing beyond the mandatory guidelines on a Juvenile case.

Download the Motion for Continuance/Postponement (PDF)

Please consult the monitors on the lobby level of the North Tower or contact the Assignment Office at 240-777-9000 to find out which judge has been assigned to regular duty and family duty. Judges rotate weekly on these assignments. The Regular Duty Judge handles emergency matters that pertain to civil and criminal matters. The Family Duty Judge handles only matters that pertain to family cases.

It may be necessary for the Assignment Office to put some cases on the TBA calendar when a full load of cases has already been assigned to the available trial judges or when trials are carried over from the previous day.

Parties assigned to the TBA calendar should report to the Assignment Office, North Tower 1st floor, Rm 1320 the Circuit Court. Every consideration will be given to assign the case as soon as possible.

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