Affidavit Judgments

I happened to be in court this morning and caught wind of a new affidavit judgment procedure, which apparently started in Worcester County and has already made its way to Wicomico.  The clerk was telling a plaintiff who did not see her case on the docket that affidavit judgments are no longer done in the courtroom.

If a defendant does not file an intention to defend, the case is not on the docket at all. 

If a defendant appears on the date of the hearing, and goes to the clerk's office, the defendant is apparently permitted to file an intention to defend with the clerk and the case is rescheduled for trial. 

If the defendant does not get to the clerk's office and the supporting documentation is in order, the Court will review the complaint sub curia and if the documentation is in order enter judgment. 

I suppose there would be some upside if the defendant could write virtually anything and get a continuance and Judges were not making a thresshold determination as to whether there was a viable defense. 

The downside, of course, is that folks may simply go home without going to the clerk's office to find out what to do when the case is not on the docket.  I don't know whether judges or clerks will be making the call as to whether there is enough of an explanation of the defense to warrant .  I am wondering if anyone else has seen this.  If not, I was wondering what your reaction is, since it may be creeping your way.


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