Prince George’s County Courthouses
The Prince George’s County Courthouse dates back almost 300 years. It started out as a one-room court in Charles Town, which was the original county seat for Prince George’s County. In 1721, as the population grew, the county seat, along with the court, moved to Marlborough (eventually Upper Marlboro). Over the years, through many additions and improvements, the complex grew to the present campus at 14735 Main Street in Upper Marlboro, MD. It now includes conference rooms and offices on the first floor of the County Administration Building on Governor Oden Bowie Drive; a three-wing main courthouse building on Main Street, which houses the District and Circuit Courts; and a Circuit Court Annex located on Elm Street between the main courthouse and the County Administration Building.
Prince George’s County Court is “A Fair Forum for Justice” made up of several different branches that offer various services to the citizens of PG County. The Circuit Court holds jury and non-jury trials for civil and criminal cases, plus oversees juvenile and family matters. The District Court holds non-jury criminal and civil trials, handles tenant-landlord actions, oversees traffic offenses, and issues peace orders and domestic violence protection.
There are two District Court locations in Prince George’s County; one in Upper Marlboro as well as one in Hyattsville. The Orphan’s Court is a probate court that handles estates and the guardianship of minors. The Clerk of the Circuit Court maintains and manages the records of cases in the Circuit Court, oversees civil marriages and issues marriage and other licenses, and handles passport applications. The Court of Special Appeals handles appeals from the Circuit Court. The Court of Appeals, Maryland’s high court, hears appeals in cases with unique legal issues. The Register of Wills determines and collects probate fees and inheritance taxes, is the office of the Clerk to the Orphan’s Court, and oversees estate filings.
The Honorable Sheila R. Tillerson Adams is the Administrative Judge for the Seventh Judicial Circuit and the Circuit Court for Prince George’s County. Part of her job is to develop and implement long- and short-term plans for the Circuit Court of Prince George’s County and to oversee its daily operations. She is also supervisor of the county administrative judges in the circuit courts of Charles, Calvert, and St. Mary’s counties.
There are 23 active judges in the Circuit Court of Prince George’s County. Because of the high volume of cases the courts hear each year, magistrates and recalled judges handle some matters. Magistrates, appointed by the Circuit Court, hear cases that involve paternity, child support, child custody, divorce, and juvenile delinquency but do not issue final court orders; masters make recommendations to the judges. Recalled judges are retired judges who work as needed and have the same authority to hear cases and decide matters as active judges.
There is one jury session each year in Prince George’s County that runs from January through December. Jury prospects are selected from voter registration and motor vehicle rolls.
In addition to courtroom services, Prince George’s County Courts provide a number of other related services to citizens. The Lawyer Referral department helps people with legal representation and advice, allowing individuals to get answers to a few questions and even retain full legal counsel. Family Support Services provides help with psychological evaluations, domestic violence screenings, and mediation, among other services. The Paralegal Division provides advice to attorneys and to people representing themselves in family law matters. There’s also a Transcript Center, a Children’s Waiting Room, Family Law Orientation Center, an Interpreter Center, a Lactation Center, and a Family Division Information Center.
Getting to the Courthouse Campus
Many people drive to the many buildings that make up the main courthouse campus. Below are brief driving instructions:
- From I-495 (the Capital Beltway) and points north, take exit 11A to MD Route 4, Pennsylvania Avenue South. Proceed about nine miles past Woodyard Road, Ritchie-Marlboro Road, and Crain Highway to the Upper Marlboro exit (if you reach the exits 301 North/South, you’ve gone too far).
- From Calvert County, follow MD Route 4 North, just past the MD Route 301 North/South exits. Take the next exit to Upper Marlboro.
- From Charles County, follow MD Route 301 North and exit onto MD Route 4/Pennsylvania Avenue North. Do not merge onto Route 4. Stay on the exit ramp to enter Upper Marlboro.
You can park in any of the free satellite parking lots that have free shuttle service to the courthouse, or you can use the metered lots in front of and next to the courthouse. Public transportation includes the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, Metrobus/Metrorail, Metro Access, and The Bus.
The second District Court location is located at 4990 Rhode Island Avenue in Hyattsville, Maryland. Many DUI-related cases may be heard at this location, which is easily accessible by Metrorail and the Bus. The Hyattsville location also features free garage parking.