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Assignment Office

Assignment Office

Location, Phone, Hours of Operation
Location: Montgomery County Circuit Court
North Tower 1st floor, Rm 1280
Phone: (240) 777-9000
Hours of Operation: 8:30 am - 4:30 pm
 

General Information

Handling each case properly and quickly is not only important to the parties involved in the case, but also it is crucial for the efficient operation at Montgomery County Circuit Court, which handled over 30,000 filings of cases in fiscal year 2015. The Court’s Assignment Office plays one of the most critical functions of the court: scheduling hearings, trials, and special event dates for the Judges and Family Magistrates of the Court, maintaining the schedules, and ensuring that these events are scheduled according to the Court’s Differentiated Case Management (DCM) Plans.

If you have questions about a scheduled court event, you can find information about the case using the On-line Maryland Judiciary Case Search or call the Montgomery County Circuit Court Assignment Office at 240 -777-9000. If you call the Assignment Office, please have your Circuit Court Case Number available. We will be happy to assist you. For the Court’s hearing schedule, click here.
 
 

What We Do

The Assignment Office’s main responsibility is to maintain and coordinate all scheduled court events for the Judges and Family Magistrates. This office handles the scheduling of trials, motions, and DCM events as well as any change to an event – the date, time, estimated duration, courtroom, or judge assignment.

The Assignment Office is also responsible for maintaining courtroom assignments, locating and retrieving court files, and ensuring that each court file is reviewed and delivered to judges’ chambers. The Assignment Office also enters information from completed events into the Court’s case management system.

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Who We Are

The Assignment Office consists of the Assignment Commissioner, Office Manager, and 12 staff. The Assignment Commissioner manages the operation of the office, including the assignment of trials to the judges; coordination of all scheduled court dates with judges on specially assigned matters, approving, scheduling, and coordinating all other court calendars maintained by the Assignment Office; and the re-assignment and transfer of court cases from one courtroom to another.

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Assignment Office Responsibilities

Criminal Indictments/Informations

When the State’s Attorney’s Office initiates a criminal case, its trial date and other events are scheduled according to the Criminal Differentiated Case Management (DCM) Plan. Through close communication with judges, courtroom clerks, and the State’s Attorney’s Office, the Assignment Office coordinates necessary changes in the court’s calendar assignments and maintains up-to-date information for all matters, including sentencings, violations of probation (VOP), pleas, video bond hearings, and other special criminal hearings.

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Criminal Jury Demands and Appeals

Criminal cases that originated in the District Court are transferred to the Circuit Court when a jury trial is requested or the case is appealed. The Circuit Court hears Jury Demands made in open court at the District Court on the same day the jury demand was requested. To schedule Criminal District Court Appeals and other miscellaneous criminal cases that originated from District Court, the Assignment Office maintains the court’s criminal calendar, which is called the Pre-Trial Docket. The Pre-Trial Docket takes place at 9:00 am every Friday. The Assignment Office will provide a trial date at 8:30 am on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays for criminal cases not resolved at the Pre-Trial Docket..

The Assignment Office also schedules sentence review panels and en banc hearings (hearings in which three judges preside and participate in the decision).

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Civil Trial Assignments/Special Assignments

Civil trials are scheduled in accordance with the Civil Differentiated Case Management (DCM) Plan at a Settlement/Pre-Trial conference (Tracks 3, 4, 5 and 6) or Status/Pre-Trial conference (Track 2). The court case must be ready for trial, and a Joint Pre-Trial Statement must be filed. The Judge clears a trial date  with the attorneys and/or parties in the courtroom, which will not be changed without further order of court. Administrative Appeals, District Court Appeals (on the record), and any specially assigned civil trials are assigned to judges on a rotating basis and are scheduled according to Maryland Rules of Procedure.

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Civil Motions Assignment

When a request for hearing is filed with a motion in a civil case in Tracks 0, 2, or 3 of the Civil Differentiated Case Management (DCM) Plan, the request is referred to the Assignment Office to schedule the hearing. This Office schedules motions  for hearing Monday through Thursday and contested Register of Wills motions on Friday.

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Family Cases

Under the Family Differentiated Case Management (DMC) Plan, the Assignment Office retrieves, reviews, schedules, and oversees all the schedules for family cases, including Adoption and Guardianship matters, as well as updates and maintains the calendars of the Family Division Judges and Family Magistrates. T

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Juvenile Cases

The Assignment Office oversees the scheduling of juvenile matters by coordinating schedules and dates with several stakeholders, including the Juvenile Judges, Juvenile Division of the Clerk's Office, Juvenile Case Managers, State's Attorney's Office, Public Defender's Office, County Attorney's Office, and other Montgomery County juvenile service agencies.

Following the guidelines of the Juvenile Differentiated Case Management (DCM) Plan, a series of orders and scheduling orders for a juvenile case is automatically scheduled as soon as the case information a series of orders and scheduling orders for a juvenile case are automatically scheduled as soon as the Juvenile Division of the Clerk's Office or the Assignment Office enters case information into the Court’s database. The hearings scheduled include, but are not limited to, preliminary inquiries, pre-trial hearings, adjudicatory hearings, dispositions, permanency placement hearings, peace orders, adoptions, detention hearings, emergency hearings for delinquent and Child in Need of Assistance (CINA) cases, restitution hearings, review hearings, violations of probation, waivers to adult court, shelter care hearings, and termination of parental rights.

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Bench Warrants

Upon receiving bench warrant returns (for failure to appear) from the Sheriff's Office, the Assignment Office locates the court file, determines what matters need to be rescheduled for hearing, and attaches an information slip indicating necessary court actions for the Duty Judge’s consideration at 1:30 pm each day. If there are any bench warrants/body attachments returnable to individual judges only, that judge can direct the Assignment Office to send the defendant to the Duty Judge with instructions about bond, or schedule the bench warrant/body attachment hearing before him/herself for that same day.

Daily Docket and Delivery of Court Files

The Assignment Office locates all files for the assigned trial calendars, reviews each file to establish that the matter is still pending, and delivers the files to the judge’s chambers.  In addition, transcripts and/or exhibits will be retrieved from the reproduction room, attached to the court files if such documents are requested, and delivered to the judge’s chambers the day before the scheduled event(s).

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Civil Differentiated Case Management (DCM)

The Assignment Office maintains all the Differentiated Case Management (DCM) scheduled events. These events include Civil Track 2 Status/Pre-Trials, Civil Tracks 3, 4, 5, and 6 Scheduling Conferences and Settlement/Pre-Trial Conferences. The Assignment Office also updates any changes in discovery and motions cut-off dates. All files relating to these events will be obtained, reviewed, and delivered to the assigned judge by the Assignment Office

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Quality Control

The Assignment Office works closely with the Quality Control Department to monitor all court cases filed with the Circuit Court. They review data for accuracy and verify to ensure that all relevant information, such as court dates, deadlines, dispositions, and event postings, is entered into the Court’s database in accordance with existing Court policies and procedures. This work also involves constant coordination with other courthouse departments. They also research and correct any data problems or discrepancies to ensure the integrity of all case data.

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Assignment Office Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How can I find the telephone number for a specific department or individual within the Circuit Court?

Call the Information Desk at 240-777-9415.

What information do I need to have available for the Assignment Office Staff to assist me?

Please have the case number and the name of the case accessible when contacting the Assignment Office. The case number is usually a 4-6 digit number and is followed by a D (District Court Appeal), C (Criminal), V (Civil), and FL (Family Law). Please note that juvenile matters are confidential, and access to juvenile case information is limited

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How do I find out which judge is handling emergency matters?

Please 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 matters that pertain to family cases only.

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How do I get a motion scheduled for hearing?

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. Please note that Assignment Office staff schedule all motions in Criminal Jury Demand and Appeal cases (Track 1) to be heard on the day of trial. They schedule motions for Criminal Indictment and Information cases (Tracks 2, 3, & 4), during the Rule 4-215/Scheduling Hearing on Friday mornings.

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How is the scheduling of complex cases – cases in Track 4 Criminal, Civil, Business & Technology and ASTAR (Complex Science/Medicine) - arranged?

Complex cases are automatically assigned on a rotating basis to the judges sitting in the Criminal, Civil, Business & Technology and ASTAR rotations. An original scheduling order is produced setting the track guidelines.  The assigned judge’s staff schedules all necessary events with the parties and/or counsel and notifies the Assignment Office of all scheduled events for posting in the Court’s system.

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How is a trial date scheduled?

Criminal, civil, and family cases are assigned to the appropriate Differentiated Case Management (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 the DCM guidelines, each case is assigned a Scheduling Hearing, Status Hearing, and/or Settlement/Pre-Trial Hearing. In Criminal cases, a Track 4 designation must be approved by the Administrative Judge. 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.

Criminal Jury Demands and Appeals (Track 1) are assigned a trial date at the Pre-Ttrial hearing. Criminal Indictments and Informations (Tracks 2, 3, & 4) are assigned a trial date at the Rule 4-215/Scheduling hHearing. A formal motion for postponement is required to postpone the trial date..

Civil Trial dates (Tracks 2 and 3) are scheduled at the sStatus hHearing or sSettlement/pre-trialPre-Trial hHearing. The trial dates are normally scheduled within 60 to -90 days from the scheduled hearing.

Family Trials or hearings are normally scheduled at the sScheduling hHearing or sSettlement/sStatus pre-trialPre-Trial hHearing 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. The Administrative Judge must make a Finding of Extraordinary Cause to postpone a hearing beyond the mandatory guidelines.

Other cases that are not on a scheduling track will be sent to the Assignment Office for scheduling when all parties have filed an aAnswer (written response to the original filing). Assignment Office staff will confirm Ttime estimates will be confirmed, when possible, and the schedule the case will be scheduled for the next available date on the court’s calendar, . A and mail a notification of trial/hearing will be mailed to all parties.  

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How do I find out the name of the judge assigned to hear a particular case?

Call the Assignment Office at (240) 777-9000 after 3:00 pm the day before the scheduled trial/event date or go to the Maryland Judiciary’s on-line case search at http://casesearch.courts.state.md.us/.

Please keep in mind that the case assignment schedule can change at anytime.  When you arrive at the courthouse, check the case assignment monitors located on the Lobby Level before proceeding to the courtroom.

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What do I need to do when my case is not assigned to a judge and is on the “to be assigned” (TBA) calendar?

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 1280, in the Circuit Court. Every consideration will be given to assign the case as soon as possible.

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If I am unavailable to attend a scheduled hearing or trial date, what do I do to get it postponed?

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. ()

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. Call the Assignment Office at 240-777-9000 for more information on this procedure.

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Montgomery County Circuit Court
50 Maryland Avenue, Rockville, Maryland 20850
Office Hours: Monday through Friday, 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM