State/Local Funding

  • The Maryland Judiciary is primarily a state funded system. 
  • The state pays for the salaries of judges, support staff and clerical staff and for trial court technology and operating expenses, local courthouses and equipment of the District Courts.
  • The state and local political subdivisions fund the Circuit Courts.

State Revenue and Appropriations

  • Judicial system state and federal grant appropriations increased from $431 million in FY12 to $447 million in FY13.
  • State general fund appropriations increased from $374.6 million in FY12 to $387.4 million in FY13.  The percent of state general funds allocated to the judiciary rose from 2.5% to 2.6% in FY13.
  • Technology funding has increased by 8% over the past four years.
  • The Judicial Branch budget situation over the next three years is likely to improve.

Funding Principles for Judicial Administration

  • The Judicial Branch presents it budget directly to the Legislature.
  • The Judiciary has the authority to move funds between line items.  A budget amendment is required.
  • The FY13 budget enables the courts to provide and enhance necessary technology. 
  • Technology has enabled the courts to enhance services.  Justice partners can more easily obtain warrants and protective orders.  The public has greater access to court information.

Steps Taken to Address Tough Economic Times

Staffing Levels and Operating Expenses:  Over the past four years, the number of judges increased by 1%, the number of trial court staff increased by 3%, the number of central office staff increased 2% and funding for court operating expenses has increased 1%.  In the coming year, central office staff will increase 1%.

Service Reductions:  Over the past four years, the Maryland courts have delayed filling vacancies in the clerks’ offices and in judicial support positions and will continue to delay filling those vacancies in the coming year.

Compensation:  Over the past four years, the courts have frozen and reduced the salaries of court staff.  They have furloughed court staff.

Impact of Service Reductions:  These service and compensation reductions have resulted in reduced service to the public, limited access to court services, and produced delays and backlogs in the disposition of cases.  

Efficiency Measures:  The Maryland courts have a virtual self-help center and a virtual web-based information center to provide public access to court records.   They have enabled law enforcement to file e-citations and the public to make e-payment of fees and fines.  In the coming year, they will implement e-filing, an electronic document management system, an enhanced case management system and electronic workflow.

Business Processes:  The courts have implemented a statewide fine schedule for petty misdemeanors, have transitioned to digital recording of court proceedings, and have instituted videoconferencing of incarcerated defendants and detained juveniles.

Centralization:  The Maryland courts have centralized traffic citation processing.

The Maryland Judiciary is in a better position than four years ago to provide access and timely justice. 

Reports and Articles

Gavel to Gavel

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