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JNC Recommends Candidates for DC Superior Court Vacancies

Thursday, March 19, 2020

The District of Columbia Judicial Nomination Commission (“Commission”) has recommended to the President the names of the six attorneys below for his consideration in selecting nominees to fill the judicial vacancies on the Superior Court of the District of Columbia (“Superior Court”) created by the retirements of the Honorable Carol Ann Dalton and the Honorable Wendell P. Gardner, Jr. The President has sixty (60) days to select a nominee to fill these vacancies.

The Commission recommends the following candidates to fill Judge Dalton’s vacancy:

Hon. Errol R. Arthur is a Magistrate Judge in the Superior Court. Since his appointment in 2010, he has served in the Criminal Division, Domestic Violence Division, and Family Court. He is currently the Presiding Magistrate Judge and serves on the Chief Judge’s Judicial Leadership Team. Judge Arthur has presided over numerous bench trials in neglect and abuse cases, as well as arraignments and detention hearings in both juvenile and adult cases. Judge Arthur has also served on numerous court committees, as a visiting faculty member of Harvard Law School’s Trial Advocacy Workshop, and as Chair of the Washington Bar Association’s Judicial Council.

Prior to his appointment to the Superior Court, Judge Arthur joined the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia (PDS) as a staff attorney in 1999, and he opened his own law practice in 2002. While at PDS and in private practice, he represented individuals in the Superior Court, Maryland’s Circuit and District Courts, the U.S. Parole Commission, and the District of Columbia Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services. In 2008, Judge Arthur was appointed as Chairman of the District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics, and he served as an adjunct professor and supervising attorney with the Howard University School of Law’s Criminal Justice Clinic. A native Washingtonian, Judge Arthur graduated from St. John’s College High School in 1990, and he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Maryland in 1994. He received his law degree from the Howard University School of Law in 1998. Following law school, Judge Arthur clerked for the Honorable Mary A. Gooden Terrell in the Superior Court.

Angela S. Robinson, Esq., is a solo practitioner in the District of Columbia practicing contracts, business, intellectual property, employment, real property, and franchise law, and representing parties in state court, mediation, and administrative actions, as well as before the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. She has also counseled clients in family and estates law. Ms. Robinson has served as a Hearing Examiner for the District of Columbia’s Child and Family Services Agency since 2012, presiding over appeals of substantiations of child physical and sexual abuse, medical and educational neglect, domestic violence, and other abuse allegations. Before her firm’s organization in 2005, Ms. Robinson was an Associate at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP with an international patent prosecution, licensing, and complex litigation practice, and at Beveridge & Diamond, P.C., with an environmental and land use practice, representing corporate and municipal clients in all phases of litigation, arbitration, and regulatory compliance matters.

Ms. Robinson has been active in the District of Columbia Bar, Maryland State Bar Association, and Giles S. Rich Inn of Court. An adoptive parent herself, Ms. Robinson has volunteered with the Children’s Law Center, representing parents in guardianship and custody matters. Ms. Robinson is also an advocate for special education, record expungement, and animal welfare, and she regularly participates in business law clinics. In addition, Ms. Robinson is a registered patent attorney. Born in Washington, DC, Ms. Robinson received both her Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering, cum laude, and her Juris Doctor degree, cum laude, from Howard University. While at the Howard University School of Law, Ms. Robinson was a member of the Howard Law Journal.

Emile C. Thompson, Esq., is an Assistant United States Attorney at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, where he has worked since 2016. Currently, he serves in the Homicide Section, where he is responsible for prosecuting homicides that occur in the First, Second, and Seventh Police Districts in Washington, DC. Before moving to the Homicide Section, Mr. Thompson investigated and prosecuted felony major crimes that occurred in the District of Columbia. Prior to joining the U.S. Attorney’s Office, he served as a senior counsel in the Mayoral Administration of Muriel Bowser, where he worked with senior Administration officials on policy and legal issues related to public safety and justice. He also served in the Mayoral Administration of Vincent Gray, under then-Deputy Mayor Paul Quander, working on legal issues that affected the federal and local agencies in the District’s public safety community.

Mr. Thompson was born in Washington, DC. He currently resides there with his wife, Diana C. Banks, and they have one daughter. He is active in the community, serving as a mentor with the Abramson Scholarship Foundation and as a board member for DC Water. He is also a former board member of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington. Mr. Thompson graduated from Morehouse College, with a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science, and minors in mathematics and biology, and he received his Juris Doctor degree from the Wake Forest University School of Law. Mr. Thompson previously served as a law clerk to the Honorable Herbert B. Dixon of the Superior Court.

The Commission recommends the following candidates to fill Judge Gardner’s vacancy:

Lee W. Jackson, Esq., is a partner at James & Hoffman, P.C., where he formerly served as counsel. Before joining James & Hoffman, Mr. Jackson worked at the law firm of O’Donnell, Schwartz & Anderson, P.C., where he represented international and local unions and their members before local, state, and federal courts and agencies. Prior to that, Mr. Jackson was a Field Attorney for the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) in New Orleans, and, in 1978, became an attorney in the Office of the General Counsel, Division of Enforcement Litigation, Appellate Court Branch, and Contempt Litigation Section at the NLRB in Washington, DC, where he represented the NLRB in actions before the U.S. Courts of Appeals. From 1982 until 1991, he was an associate and then a partner at Kirschner, Walters & Willig in Philadelphia, where he represented many of that firm’s over 100 Local Union clients, including teachers, blue and white collar employees, firefighters, and newspaper reporters. In 1991, Mr. Jackson was a partner at Ronald A. White, P.C., where he also represented labor unions. Since 1998, he has served as a member of the Board of the African American Civil War Memorial Freedom Foundation, which maintains the monument honoring the 209,145 Black soldiers who fought for the Union army during the Civil War. Mr. Jackson received a Bachelor of Arts degree, with honors, in political science and history from Jackson State College, and he earned his Juris Doctor degree, with honors, at the George Washington University Law School.

John C. Truong, Esq., is a Senior Litigation Counsel in the Civil Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. He currently concentrates on Affirmative Civil Enforcement (ACE), where he is responsible for litigation against individuals and corporations in an effort to recover money lost due to fraud, abuse, and other misconduct. Prior to joining the ACE team, Mr. Truong represented federal officials and executive government agencies in federal district court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in a variety of defensive civil litigation. He also previously served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Criminal Division. Prior to joining the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Mr. Truong was an associate at Morgan Lewis & Bockius, LLP, where he focused on complex litigation. Mr. Truong is currently an adjunct professor at the George Washington University School of Law.

In 2009, Mr. Truong received the “Best Lawyers Under 40” award from the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association. Mr. Truong served as President of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of the Greater Washington, DC Area from 2006-2007. In 2006, the Daughters of the American Revolution awarded Mr. Truong the Americanism Medal, one of its highest honors, for demonstrating extraordinary qualities of leadership, trustworthiness, service, and patriotism. Mr. Truong received his undergraduate degree from the University of Southern California and his Master of Arts and Juris Doctor degrees from American University. He previously clerked for the Honorable Ricardo M. Urbina of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Mr. Truong was born in Vietnam and immigrated to the United States as “boat people” in 1980.

Melissa Felder Zappala, Esq., is a partner at Boies Schiller Flexner LLP, where she focuses on complex commercial litigation. Ms. Zappala joined Boies Schiller in 2005, where she has remained, with the exception of a one-year clerkship from 2007-2008. Ms. Zappala is an experienced litigator who has worked on cases across a variety of subject areas—including securities, antitrust, and class actions—and in both federal and state courts. She has also worked on a number of pro bono matters throughout her career. Ms. Zappala was recognized by the National Law Journal in 2015 as one of the DC area’s top 40 lawyers under 40, and she has been recognized as a Rising Star by Super Lawyers.

Ms. Zappala received her Bachelor of Arts degree, magna cum laude, from Yale University in 2002 and is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa honor society. She also received a Harry S. Truman Scholarship in 2001 for her commitment to public service. She subsequently received her law degree, magna cum laude, from the Georgetown University Law Center in 2005, where she was a Public Interest Law Scholar. Ms. Zappala previously clerked for the Honorable Henry H. Kennedy of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Please direct any questions to the Commission’s Executive Director at (202) 879-0478 or [email protected].

Members of the District of Columbia Judicial Nomination Commission

Honorable Emmet G. Sullivan, Chair
United States District Court for the District of Columbia
United States Courthouse
333 Constitution Avenue, NW
Chambers 4935-Annex
Washington, DC  20001
(202) 354-3260
[email protected]

Mr. William Lucy
1831 Sudbury Lane, NW
Washington, DC  20012
(301) 520-0576
[email protected]

John J. McAvoy, Esq.
3110 Brandywine Street, NW
Washington, DC  20008
(202) 966-8544
[email protected]

Addy R. Schmitt, Esq.
Miller & Chevalier, Chtd.
900 16th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20006
[email protected]

Benjamin F. Wilson, Esq.
Beveridge & Diamond, PC
1350 I St NW, #700
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 789-6023
[email protected]

The Honorable Marie C. Johns
1400 K Street, NW
Suite 1000
Washington, DC 20005-2403
(202) 434-9124
[email protected]

Deborah Epstein, Esq.
Georgetown University Law Center
600 New Jersey Avenue, NW
Suite 334
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 662-9675
[email protected]