The Maryland Judiciary has taken a leading role in forming the Advanced Science and Technology Adjudication Resource (ASTAR) Center, which has been established to prepare judges presiding over cases involving advanced science and medical issues. Handling cases with these issues requires judges to understand advanced bioscience, biomedical, and biotechnology issues, and have specific adjudication/mediation skills. The initiative started in 2005 with 21 Circuit Court judges (including 2 judges in Montgomery County Circuit Court) and 2 appellate judges, along with 20 judges in Ohio courts, who attended a series of trainings and workshops to serve as “resource judges”. Resource judges are equipped with the requisite expertise, which has been obtained through attending a series of workshops and trainings provided ASTAR, to effectively preside over these complex cases. Currently, Montgomery County Circuit Court has five such resource judges.
In Montgomery County Circuit Court, "ASTAR" cases are assigned to one of the five resource judges, and the progress of the cases are closely monitored according to the case management plan specifically tailored to ASTAR cases to assure they are heard and processed in the most efficient manner. A case will be assigned to the "ASTAR" track if it involves scientific and/or medical issues of such a complex or novel nature that specialized treatment is likely to improve the administration of justice.
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