With statewide jurisdiction, the Distrct Court of Maryland functions in every county and Baltimore City.
Maryland Judicial Center, Annapolis, Maryland, December 2000. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.
In minor civil and criminal matters, and in virtually all violations of the Motor Vehicle Law, the District Court has jurisdiction. The exclusive jurisdiction of the District Court generally includes all landlord and tenant cases; replevin actions; motor vehicle violations; and criminal cases if the penalty is less than three-years imprisonment or does not exceed a fine of $2,500, or both. The District Court has concurrent jurisdiction with the Circuit Court in misdemeanors and certain enumerated felonies, but has little equity jurisdiction.
Small claims (civil cases involving amounts not exceeding $5,000) also come under the jurisdiction of the District Court. In civil cases involving amounts over $5,000 (but not exceeding $30,000), the District Court has concurrent jurisdiction with the circuit courts.
Administered centrally, the District Court of Maryland is funded totally by the State.
Since July 1, 2016, some 117 judges, including the Chief Judge, serve on the Court (Chapter 199, Acts of 2005; Chapter 34, Acts of 2013; Chapter 91, Acts of 2016; Code Courts & Judicial Proceedings Article, sec. 1-603).
District Court judges are appointed by the Governor to ten-year terms, subject to Senate confirmation. They do not stand for election. Those appointed may take office upon qualification (or commissioning). Their term of office begins at the date of commissioning. After their being commissioned, a swearing-in date is set.
The Chief Judge of the District Court of Maryland is designated by the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals. As the District Court's administrative head, the Chief Judge appoints administrative judges for each of the Court's twelve districts, subject to the approval of the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals. A chief clerk of the District Court also is appointed by the Chief Judge as are administrative clerks for each district.
District 2 (6 judges): Dorchester (1 judge), Somerset (1 judge), Wicomico (2 judges) & Worcester (2 judges) counties
District 3 (6 judges): Caroline (1 judge), Cecil (2 judges), Kent (1 judge), Queen Anne's (1 judge) & Talbot (1 judge) counties
District 4 (6 judges): Calvert (2 judges), Charles (2 judges) & St. Mary's (1 judge) counties
District 5 (17 judges): Prince George's County
District 6 (13 judges): Montgomery County
District 7 (9 judges): Anne Arundel County
District 8 (13 judges): Baltimore County
District 9 (4 judges): Harford County
District 10 (7 judges): Carroll (2 judges) & Howard (5 judges) counties
District 11 (5 judges): Frederick (3 judges) & Washington (2 judges) counties
District 12 (3 judges): Allegany (2 judges) & Garrett (1 judge) counties
With the approval of the Chief Judge of the District Court of Maryland, a district commissioner is appointed by the District Administrative Judge in each district.
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