A Baltimore City Circuit Court judge yesterday froze most depositors' accounts for 20 days at the financially troubled Old Court Savings and Loan Association in Baltimore, allowing its conservator time to straighten out the thrift's books.

Judge Martin B. Greenfeld acted after Joyce Kircher, a corporate systems analyst for the institution designated by the conservator to manage Old Court, Chevy Chase Savings and Loan Inc., said she needed time to calculate how much of Old Court's funds were deposited after an order by Maryland Gov. Harry Hughes May 13 limited withdrawals there to $1,000 per account every 30 days.

Yesterday's order also bars any new deposits at Old Court during the period, and calls for Old Court to notify depositors that they can withdraw their money after the 20 days lapse.

The judge's order provides for hardship exemptions, including the release of some funds, such as Social Security checks, that are automatically deposited, and money previously committed for construction and real estate loans.

Paul Mark Sandler, an attorney who represented Old Court owner Jeffrey Levitt at a hearing Tuesday before Greenfeld, said the thrift had attracted some deposits since Hughes limited withdrawals as a means of aborting a run there, but noted that it was "not an overwhelming amount."

The removal of Levitt as Old Court's president, and the subsequent runs there and at a second Baltimore thrift, Merritt Commercial -- which opted for voluntary conservatorship -- set off a crisis among Maryland's 102 privately insured state savings and loan associations.