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Program Contacts

Contact Judy Rupp of the Circuit Court at 240.777.9103 or Trevor Lobaugh of the Office of Management and Budget at 240.777.2763 for more information regarding this department's operating budget.

Related Links

Mission Statement

The mission of the Circuit Court is to serve Sixth Judicial Circuit residents in the determination of litigation in serious criminal matters, substantive civil cases, domestic and child support cases in accordance with the Constitution while administering justice in an honest, fair, and efficient manner.

Budget Overview

The total approved FY18 Operating Budget for the Circuit Court is $14,795,682, an increase of $433,835 or 3.02 percent from the FY17 Approved Budget of $14,361,847. Personnel Costs comprise 80.44 percent of the budget for 114 full-time position(s) and four part-time position(s), and a total of 116.00 FTEs. Total FTEs may include seasonal or temporary positions and may also reflect workforce charged to or from other departments or funds. Operating Expenses account for the remaining 19.56 percent of the FY18 budget.

Consistent with the County Charter, the County Executive makes recommendations on the operating budget for all County departments, offices, and agencies. However, recognizing the Charter-defined roles, the Executive defers significantly to Legislative and Judicial Branch agencies. Questions regarding the approved budgets for Judicial Branch departments should be directed to Judy Rupp, jrupp@mccourt.com.

Linkage to County Result Areas

While this program area supports all eight of the County Result Areas, the following are emphasized:

  • Healthy and Sustainable Neighborhoods
  • A Responsive, Accountable County Government
  • Vital Living for All of Our Residents

Department Performance Measures

Performance measures for this department are included below (where applicable), with multi-program measures displayed at the front of this section and program-specific measures shown with the relevant program. The FY17 estimates reflect funding based on the FY17 approved budget. The FY18 and FY19 figures are performance targets based on the FY18 approved budget and funding for comparable service levels in FY19.

Accomplishments

  • During FY16, Montgomery County Circuit Court processed over 35,000 case filings and over 36,000 terminations, as well as held almost 40,000 hearings and 1,500 trials.

  • The court's Family Law Self-Help Center (FLSHC) served 7,061 patrons over 9,079 visits during FY16.

  • Between April 2015 and April 2016, Montgomery County Circuit Court's Kids Spot Center served 1,139 children, primarily between the ages of two and eight years (83 percent).

  • Continued to offer low- or no-cost attorney referral service, limited scope representation in family cases, and developed an Adult Guardianship Assistant Program.

  • Implemented a bi-directional data exchange with the State's Attorney's Office (SAO) to facilitate the efficient transfer of juvenile case data.

  • Implemented an electronic search warrant process.
  • Created a Mental Health Court for the Montgomery County Circuit Court.

  • Implemented the Marriage in Maryland (MIM) program in the License Department; Revenue Collection System (RCS) in Land Records and License Department; E-License program for processing Business Licenses; and E-Recording system for Land Records.

Initiatives

  • Operate the Family Law Self Help Center with evening hours one night per week to better meet the needs of the Center's users. Continue to review the Center's business processes to be more responsive to those in need of assistance.

  • Develop video and printed instructional materials regarding adult guardianship and responsibilities of the ward.

  • Redesign the Court's website to be more responsive. Implement mobile device and browser applications to assist court clients with limited accessibility as well as jurors during the check-in process.

  • Investigate and implement a secure file share environment to allow the court to exchange confidential financial documents with guardians.

  • Develop a family law case management database to assist family case managers and court staff in their monitoring of case progress in relation to Differentiated Case Management timelines and the impact on judicial workload.

Program Descriptions

  Family Magistrates

Family Magistrates are qualified individuals appointed by the Judges of the Circuit Court to hear family matters and make reports and recommendations based on testimony and analysis of the testimony received at hearings. Family Division Judges continue to review the recommendations, make rulings and issue orders based on the recommendations of the Family Magistrates and any exceptions filed.

  Administration

The Administrative Office of the Circuit Court serves as a conduit for many operations of the Court. The Court Administrator's role is to facilitate the administrative functions of the Court and to develop policies to enhance systems performance while maintaining the independence of the judiciary. Basic functions performed by the Court Administrator and staff include the following: fiscal administration of the budget; human resources; case flow management and statistics; technology management; information management; jury management; space management; intergovernmental liaison; and public information.

The Trial Court Researchers, funded in part by the Trial Court Research Partnership Grant, provide research and statistical support for judiciary-wide research projects; prepare reports based on statistics and other data collected from the Montgomery County Circuit Court; establish links to national research/statistical sources relative to courts; and analyze court-wide programs, functions, and organizations to determine whether current management systems accomplish objectives efficiently.

Program Performance MeasuresActual
FY15
Actual
FY16
Estimated
FY17
Target
FY18
Target
FY19
Case Filings (includes re-opened cases)
Criminal (including District Court appeals)6,4216,6706,8206,8806,938
Civil (including Registrar of Wills, District Court appeals)11,90611,42113,14613,19813,251
Domestic Relations15,58314,70515,41415,57015,726
Juvenile (including Delinquency, CINA, and TPR)2,4642,5512,3562,1361,914
TOTAL Case Filings35,37435,34737,73637,78437,829
Case Terminations (includes re-opened cases)
Criminal6,4976,5316,7926,8466,901
Civil12,10912,70513,55913,64713,733
Domestic Relations14,66814,94115,53815,71415,890
Juvenile2,2922,4922,4392,2342,030
TOTAL Case Terminations35,56636,66938,32738,44138,554
Case Clearance Rate (includes re-opened cases)
Criminal101%98%100%100%99%
Civil102%111%103%103%104%
Domestic Relations101%102%101%101%101%
Juvenile93%98%104%105%106%
OVERALL Case Clearance Rate101%104%102%102%102%
Total Trials1,4151,5071,6031,6411,679

  Adjudication

Adjudication encompasses support staff for the Judiciary and Differentiated Case Management (DCM). Conceptually, this division monitors case assignment (criminal, civil, and family cases), provides expedited case disposition for incarcerated offenders, and provides judicial supervision consistent with the complexity of each case filed. Adjudication and DCM improves the efficiency of case processing and reduces the demand for judicial intervention at various stages of litigation. To minimize case delay, each case is assigned to an appropriate track that allows for the performance of pre-trial tasks and allocates the appropriate level of judicial intervention. Tracks are monitored for performance and are evaluated based on established performance measures.

  Case Assignment

The Assignment Office schedules and maintains all hearings, trials, and motion dates as well as special event dates for Judges and Family Magistrates of the Court, and ensures that these events are scheduled in accordance with the Court's Differentiated Case Management plans. The Assignment Office maintains all scheduling information related to criminal indictments and information; criminal jury demands and appeals; civil, juvenile, and family trial assignments; civil, family, and juvenile motions; and bench warrants. The Assignment Office also manages all courtroom information sheets, locates all files for assigned calendars, reviews each file, and delivers files.

  Jury

The Jury Office manages prospective and active jurors for civil and criminal proceedings. In accordance with Maryland Courts and Judicial Proceedings, Title 8, every citizen may serve as a juror and must serve when summoned. The Jury Commissioner and staff dispatch questionnaires to prospective jurors using information gathered from voter registration and Motor Vehicle Administration listings. The Jury Commissioner maintains a qualified jury pool from the individuals who are determined to be qualified as jurors under Maryland Courts and Judicial Proceedings § 8-207.

  Family Division Services

This program provides a variety of services for children and families, most of them funded by the Family Law Grant. Services include case managers that provide day-to-day management of cases between Family Magistrates, judges, counsel, and litigants; custody mediation involving litigants in an effort to obtain a settlement of custody issues prior to litigation; the Family Law Self Help Center staffed by attorneys to help individuals representing themselves in uncomplicated family law cases involving divorce, custody and child support; psychological evaluations when psychological testing is necessary as an adjunct to arriving at a decision in the best interest of the children; best interest attorney appointments to specifically represent the interests of children; and operating expenses associated with managing the division.

Family Division Services also handles adoption investigations, as well as child custody and visitation evaluations. After the establishment of a Court Order, independent evaluations for child custody and visitation and adoption investigations are conducted by Court staff possessing substantial experience in social science or suitable credentials in the field of social work. The evaluator meets with the litigants and children and interviews professionals and collateral references to ascertain the appropriate custodial situation for the children.

The Juvenile Division is also a part of Family Division Services and is responsible for oversight of delinquency petitions, Child in Need of Assistance (CINA) petitions, Termination of Parental Rights (TPR) petitions, Voluntary Placement petitions, and Petitions for Peace Orders. These matters, which are governed by strict statutory timeframes, require a high degree of judicial oversight by the Court on a long term basis.

  Technical Services

Technical Services manages the central recording location that electronically records all courtroom and hearing room proceedings for the Circuit Court. All video conferencing between the Circuit Court, District Court, Montgomery County Detention Center, and Montgomery County Correctional Facility is handled through this division. This equipment is used on a daily basis in order to conduct bond hearings via a video connection. Copies of court transcripts are purchased through this division. The Court's website and internal servers for the Court and Clerk's Office are administered by Technical Services.

  Law Library

The Law Library supports the research activities of the Court, the Bar, and the public and is the only law library open to the public in Montgomery County. The Library has a comprehensive collection of law, including U.S. statutes and the codes of Maryland, Washington, D.C., Virginia, and local ordinances. It has a complete collection of judicial opinions and a variety of subject treatises and reference materials. The Law Library also offers free access to the major on-line legal databases. Library staff are available to answer questions regarding the library and its collection but cannot give legal opinions or advice. The staff will provide limited assistance over the telephone and by e-mail.

  Trust and Guardianships

The Trust Office administers the case files for fiduciary entities (primarily guardianships) who are required to comply with the reporting requirements set forth in the Maryland Court Rules, Title 10, Guardians and Other Fiduciaries. The reports required to be filed include the Inventory and Information Report and Annual Fiduciary Report for guardianships of the property of a minor or disabled person and the Annual Report for guardianships of the person of a disabled person. The Trust Clerk examines the Annual Fiduciary Reports filed and prepares the Report of Trust Clerk for the Court.

  Grants

The Family Law Grant is funded by the State and provides services to families to reduce conflict and introduce the parties involved in litigation to problem-solving techniques to help reduce future litigation. See the Family Division Services Program for a description of the services supported by this grant.

The Trial Court Research Partnership Grant supports one Trial Court Researcher assigned to the Administration Program. This individual provides research, analysis, statistical support, and related reports on County and judiciary-wide research projects.

The Montgomery County Adult Drug Court is funded by the State through a grant from the Office of Problem Solving Courts. The mission of the Adult Drug Court is to eliminate drug abuse, crime, and their consequences by forging continuing partnerships with the Court, health treatment providers, concerned community organizations, and law enforcement. By leveraging its partnerships and its authority, the Court directs substance-abusing offenders into evaluation and treatment to achieve personal responsibility and productive citizenship.

Budget Summary
TitleActual
FY16
Budget
FY17
Estimate
FY17
Approved
FY18
%Chg
Bud/App
COUNTY GENERAL FUND
EXPENDITURES
Salaries and Wages6390751.006965800.00 6766878.00 7109969.002.1
Employee Benefits2341171.002252381.00 2397534.00 2297466.002.0
County General Fund Personnel Costs8731922.009218181.00 9164412.00 9407435.002.1
Operating Expenses2664116.002520654.00 2338619.00 2659119.005.5
County General Fund Expenditures11396038.0011738835.00 11503031.00 12066554.002.8
PERSONNEL
Full-Time89.0089.00 89.00 91.002.3
Part-Time3.003.00 3.00 3.000.0
FTEs90.7090.70 90.70 92.702.2
REVENUES
Magistrates18270.00170660.00 0.00 0.00-100.0
Miscellaneous Revenues55235.000.00 55230.00 55230.000.0
State Interpreter Fee Reimbursement518133.00314709.00 434799.00 434799.0038.2
State Jury Fee Reimbursement402395.00404245.00 404245.00 404245.000.0
County General Fund Revenues994033.00889614.00 894274.00 894274.000.5
 
GRANT FUND - MCG
EXPENDITURES
Salaries and Wages1709418.001807269.00 1807269.00 1911022.005.7
Employee Benefits546150.00570347.00 570347.00 582930.002.2
Grant Fund - MCG Personnel Costs2255568.002377616.00 2377616.00 2493952.004.9
Operating Expenses257692.00245396.00 245396.00 235176.00-4.2
Grant Fund - MCG Expenditures2513260.002623012.00 2623012.00 2729128.004.0
PERSONNEL
Full-Time23.0023.00 23.00 23.000.0
Part-Time1.001.00 1.00 1.000.0
FTEs23.3023.30 23.30 23.300.0
REVENUES
State Grants2554769.002623012.00 2623012.00 2729128.004.0
Grant Fund - MCG Revenues2554769.002623012.00 2623012.00 2729128.004.0
 
DEPARTMENT TOTALS
Total Expenditures13909298.0014361847.00 14126043.00 14795682.003.0
Total Full-Time Positions112.00112.00 112.00 114.001.8
Total Part-Time Positions4.004.00 4.00 4.000.0
Total FTEs114.00114.00 114.00 116.001.8
Total Revenues3548802.003512626.00 3517286.00 3623402.003.2
FY18 Approved Changes
TitleExpendituresFTEs
COUNTY GENERAL FUND
FY17 ORIGINAL APPROPRIATION1173883590.70
Changes (with service impacts)
Add: Contractual Costs for MDEC Data Migration [Administration]1000000.00
Other Adjustments (with no service impacts)
Increase Cost: FY18 Compensation Adjustment2506280.00
Increase Cost: Judge Administrative Assistants and OE2099722.00
Increase Cost: Annualization of FY17 Compensation Increases802690.00
Technical Adj: Continuation of Mental Health Court Initiated in FY17 [Administration]299520.00
Increase Cost: Retirement Adjustment175130.00
Increase Cost: Video Conferencing Unit Replacement [Administration]145120.00
Decrease Cost: Motor Pool Adjustment-49890.00
Decrease Cost: Printing and Mail-54100.00
Decrease Cost: Turnover Savings -1741400.00
Decrease Cost: Annualization of FY17 Personnel Costs-1905880.00
FY18 APPROVED1206655492.70
 
GRANT FUND - MCG
FY17 ORIGINAL APPROPRIATION262301223.30
Other Adjustments (with no service impacts)
Increase Cost: Grant Award Adjustments [Grants]1061160.00
FY18 APPROVED272912823.30
Program Summary
Program NameFY17 APPR
Expenditures
FY17 APPR
FTEs
FY18 APPR
Expenditures
FY18 APPR
FTEs
Family Magistrates5497596.005660426.00
Administration351731110.20353050410.20
Adjudication312480331.00333697733.00
Case Assignment118804514.00124917914.00
Jury7483254.007007134.50
Family Division Services8185629.008417429.00
Technical Services114124811.00119833811.00
Law Library4403063.004572803.00
Trust and Guardianships2104762.501857792.00
Grants262301223.30272912823.30
Total14361847114.0014795682116.00
Future Fiscal Impacts ($000s)
TitleFY18FY19FY20FY21FY22FY23
COUNTY GENERAL FUND
EXPENDITURES
FY18 Approved12067.00000012067.00000012067.00000012067.00000012067.00000012067.000000
No inflation or compensation change is included in outyear projections.
Elimination of One-Time Items Approved in FY180.000000-100.000000-100.000000-100.000000-100.000000-100.000000
Items recommended for one-time funding in FY18, including MDEC data migration ($100,000), will be eliminated from the base in outyears. Additional funding for MDEC implementation is expected in future years.
Labor Contracts0.000000116.000000116.000000116.000000116.000000116.000000
These figures represent the estimated annualized cost of general wage adjustments, service increments, and other negotiated items.
Subtotal Expenditures12067.00000012083.00000012083.00000012083.00000012083.00000012083.000000