Among the most important and precious foundations of the American society is the Rule of Law. Providing a fair forum for dispute resolution prevents individuals and groups from taking matters outside the law. In our nation, this forum is the Third Branch of Government, the Judicial Branch, composed of our federal and state courts.
Within each county in Maryland is a general jurisdiction trial court, the Circuit Court. Circuit Courts hear juvenile and family law matters; all jury trials; serious criminal and the more complex civil cases. In addition, certain appeals from the District Court of Maryland, Orphans’ Court and administrative agencies are heard in the Circuit Court. Under certain circumstances, the Circuit Court also hears cases from the District Court when a party requests a jury trial.
Located in historic Snow Hill, the first Court House was constructed in 1742, while the present Court House was built in 1894. Since then, there have been several additions and renovations. It continues to be our privilege to ensure that all who come before us are treated with respect, dignity and in accordance with the law. The Worcester County Court House is open to the public to allow all to observe first hand the functioning of the Worcester County Circuit Court system.
Revised April 6, 2022
Effective April 4, 2022, the Maryland Judiciary returns to normal operations exiting the five-phased COVID-19 resumption of operations plan. View the Administrative Order Lifting the COVID-19 Health Emergency as to the Maryland Judiciary, issued by Chief Judge Joseph M. Getty on March 28, 2022.
Effective March 7, 2022, the wearing of face masks is voluntary in the Circuit Court for Worcester County. Judiciary personnel and visitors should continue to maintain social distancing whenever possible. COVID screening will no longer be conducted upon entry to the Courthouse, provided however, that those individuals meeting the following criteria shall not enter the Courthouse:
- Anyone with a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis who remains symptomatic or within the applicable quarantine period; or
- Anyone not fully vaccinated who was exposed to a person with a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis and who remains within the applicable quarantine period; or
- Anyone who has been advised or ordered by a doctor, hospital or local health department to self-quarantine and remains within the applicable quarantine period.
Except in certain limited circumstances, all hearings, trials and conferences (including civil and criminal pretrial conferences and status conferences) in all matters, including criminal, civil, family, guardianship, and juvenile matters, will be held in-person at the Courthouse.
Criminal and civil jury trials resumed on March 7, 2022.
Local Administrative Orders
- 03-07-22: Resumption of Phase V-Expanding Judicial Operations
- 03-24-21: Health Safety Measures During COVID-19 Pandemic
- 09-25-20: Offsite Jury Selection During COVID-19 Pandemic
- 07-20-20: Revised COVID-19 Restrictions and Re-Opening Plan
- 06-10-20: COVID-19 Restrictions and Re-Opening Plan
- 06-03-20: Extending the Grand Jury Currently Convened During COVID-19 Pandemic
- 05-26-20: Remote Electronic Participation in Judicial Proceedings During COVID-19 Pandemic
- 05-26-20: COVID-19 Restrictions