General Jurisdiction Trial Court
Each Maryland county and Baltimore City has a circuit court--the general jurisdiction
The circuit court resolves legal disputes in civil, criminal and family law matters,
including appeals from that county's district court and judicial review of administrative
proceedings. The circuit court also conducts all jury trials in the county.
Seventh Judicial Circuit
The county circuit courts are grouped into eight judicial circuits. The Circuit Court for Prince George’s County shares the Seventh Judicial Circuit with the Circuit Courts for Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s counties.
Qualifications of Circuit Court Judges
The Maryland Constitution requires that all circuit court judges are:
a citizen of the United States
qualified to vote in Maryland
a Maryland resident for at least five years
a resident of county for at least six months before appointment or election
admitted to practice law in Maryland
at least 30 years old at the time of election or appointment AND
"most distinguished for integrity, wisdom and sound legal knowledge"
Appointment and Election
Since in 1970, each Maryland governor has established Judicial Nominating Commissions to review the qualifications of judicial applicants.
In most instances, the Governor then appoints a new judge from the list of
persons recommended by that court's Judicial Nominating Commission.
After appointment, the new judge takes an oath of office, to uphold the Constitution
and laws of Maryland and serves as a judge of the circuit court until conclusion of the
next general election.
Every judge of the circuit court must stand for election; however, anyone meeting the
requirements of the Maryland Constitution may run against the appointed judge.
The person certified by the election results then serves a 15-year term as judge of the circuit court.
Circuit Court for Prince George's County
Today, the Circuit Court for Prince George’s County includes 23 full-time judges.
To serve a growing County population of about 750,000 residents in an increasingly
complex society, these judges are assisted by 7 full-time magistrates in the Family
Division, 15 retired judges recalled for part-time service, and about 100 employees.