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JNC Recommends Candidates for DC Superior Court Vacancies

Friday, July 23, 2021

The District of Columbia Judicial Nomination Commission (“Commission”) has recommended to the President the names of the nine attorneys listed below for his consideration in selecting a nominee to fill the judicial vacancies on the Superior Court of the District of Columbia (“Superior Court”) created by the retirements of the Honorable Rhonda Reid Winston, the Honorable Frederick H. Weisberg, and the Honorable Russell F. Canan. The President has sixty (60) days to select a nominee to fill each vacancy. 

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

Jayesh M. Rathod, Esq., is a Professor of Law at American University Washington College of Law (WCL).  During his tenure at WCL, he has served as Associate Dean for Experiential Education and Director of the Clinical Program. Professor Rathod has taught both clinical and doctrinal courses, and through his work in the Clinical Program, he has provided pro bono representation to hundreds of clients on matters relating to immigration law, employment and labor law, criminal-immigration intersections, civil rights, and family law. Prior to joining the WCL faculty in 2006, Professor Rathod was a Staff Attorney at CASA of Maryland, where he represented scores of immigrant workers on employment and immigration law matters. He also practiced as a litigation associate in the Washington, DC office of Wilmer Cutler & Pickering. Professor Rathod’s legal experience includes both trial-level and appellate advocacy before state courts, federal courts, and administrative tribunals.

Professor Rathod’s legal publications, which include empirical, applied, and theoretical works, appear in a variety of prominent journals. In 2018, he received the Pauline Ruyle Moore Award for outstanding scholarship in the area of public law.  Over the course of his career, he has also received awards for his public interest lawyering, innovative teaching, and efforts to promote the advancement of justice.

Professor Rathod received his Bachelor of Arts degree, magna cum laude, from Harvard University and his Juris Doctor from Columbia Law School.  Following law school, he clerked for the late Hon. Louis F. Oberdorfer on the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.

Hon. Ebony Michelle Scott was appointed to serve as a Magistrate Judge on the Superior Court of the District of Columbia by the Honorable Robert E. Morin in January 2020.

Judge Scott began her legal career at the law firm of Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C., where she was a civil litigator for five years.  Judge Scott joined the Office of the Attorney General in 2012 as an Assistant Attorney General in the Housing and Community Justice Section (formerly the Neighborhood and Victim Services Section).  In 2016, she joined the Office of Human Rights as General Counsel.  In that role, she oversaw the day-to-day operations of the Legal Division and managed the resolution of discrimination complaints filed at the agency.  In 2018, Judge Scott joined the Mayor’s Office of Legal Counsel as Deputy Director.  In this role, she assisted the Director in supervising all agency counsel reporting to the Mayor and provided legal advice to the Mayor, agency Directors, and Deputy Mayors. 
 
Judge Scott has always been committed to public service. She currently serves as an Abramson Scholarship Foundation mentor and plays an active role on its mentoring committee. She is also an Adjunct Professor at WCL.

Judge Scott received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Rochester and her Juris Doctor from American University Washington College of Law. Following law school, Judge Scott clerked for the Honorable Anna Blackburne-Rigsby on the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.

Elana Tyrangiel, Esq., is Vice President for Investigations at Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE).  She previously served as HPE’s Vice President for Compliance, Ethics, and Social & Environmental Responsibility.   

Before joining HPE, Ms. Tyrangiel worked at the U.S. Department of Justice. Among other roles, she served as Acting Assistant Attorney General and Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Department’s Office of Legal Policy and led that office for three years. Before joining the Office of Legal Policy, Ms. Tyrangiel served in the Office of the White House Counsel, where she worked on ethics and regulatory reform.

Ms. Tyrangiel has served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Columbia.  She prosecuted hundreds of criminal matters, tried approximately 45 cases to verdict in the Superior Court, and served as a Deputy Chief of the Sex Offense and Domestic Violence Section.  Ms. Tyrangiel was a policy counsel at the National Partnership for Women and Families as a Georgetown Women’s Law and Public Policy Fellow.  Her work at the National Partnership focused on family leave policy. 

Ms. Tyrangiel received her undergraduate degree from Brown University, magna cum laude and her Juris Doctor from the University of Michigan Law School, magna cum laude. Following law school, she clerked for the late Honorable M. Blane Michael on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

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

Hon. Leslie A. Meek received her appointment as an Administrative Law Judge with the District of Columbia Office of Administrative Hearings in June 2014, where she presides over cases involving Rental Housing, Unemployment Compensation, Tax and Revenue, D.C. Public Schools, the D.C. Taxicab Commission, and the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. 

Before joining the Office of Administrative Hearings, Judge Meek served as an Administrative Law Judge and Appellate Administrative Law Judge with the District of Columbia Department of Employment Services, Administrative Hearings Division. There, she adjudicated workers’ compensation cases for over eight years.

Judge Meek is a graduate of Fisk University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science. She earned her Juris Doctor from Case Western Reserve University School of Law. Following law school, Janet Reno recruited Judge Meek to become an Assistant State’s Attorney in Miami-Dade County, Florida. Judge Meek has also served as an Assistant City Attorney for the City of Miami, as an Assistant General Counsel for the Comptroller of the State of Florida, and as General Counsel for United Teachers of Dade – becoming the first African-American woman to occupy that position.

Hon. Adrienne Jennings Noti has served as a Magistrate Judge on the Superior Court of the District of Columbia (“Superior Court”) since 2014. She has served in all divisions of the Court. Before her appointment, Judge Noti worked at the Office of Child Support Enforcement, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, where she developed and implemented a federal child support policy.  

Previously, Judge Noti practiced family law for ten years. She served as a Managing Attorney at the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Program, coordinating the Advocacy and Justice Clinic.  Judge Noti served as a Practitioner-in-Residence WCL, where she supervised the representation of low-income clients in family law cases in the Superior Court. Before that, at Rutgers School of Law – Newark, she led a law clinic and pro bono project. Judge Noti also served as a staff attorney with the Safe Horizon Domestic Violence Law Project in New York City. 

Judge Noti has taught as an adjunct professor at the New York University School of Social Work, Rutgers University - Newark, WCL, and Georgetown University Law Center.   

Judge Noti received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her Juris Doctor, magna cum laude, from the Georgetown University Law Center. Following law school, she clerked for the Honorable Carol Bagley Amon on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.

Elizabeth Oyer, Esq., is Senior Litigation Counsel to the Office of the Federal Public Defender for Maryland (“Federal Public Defender”), where she represents indigent defendants at all stages of proceedings in federal district court. Ms. Oyer handles various criminal cases, ranging from complex frauds to drug and gun offenses and violent crimes. In addition to her case work, Ms. Oyer is the Office’s ethics and conflicts advisor, discovery policy coordinator, and mentor to junior attorneys. 

Before joining the Federal Public Defender in 2012, Ms. Oyer was a partner in the Washington, D.C. office of Mayer Brown LLP, where she practiced civil and criminal litigation.  Ms. Oyer handled various cases, including class actions and multi-district litigation, at both the trial and appellate levels.  Ms. Oyer also maintained an active pro bono practice during her time at the firm.  Ms. Oyer strongly values community engagement and has done substantial volunteer work with Community of Hope, Jobs Have Priority, and other local organizations.
 
Ms. Oyer received her Bachelor of Arts degree, magna cum laude, from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and her Juris Doctor, cum laude, from Harvard Law School.  At Harvard, Ms. Oyer was an Executive Editor of the Harvard Law Review and a member of the winning team of the Ames Moot Court Competition, in which she was awarded Best Oralist.  Following law school, Ms. Oyer clerked for the Honorable Stanley Marcus on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.

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

Emily A. Gunston, Esq., serves as Deputy Attorney General for Legislative Affairs and Policy at the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia. She advises the Attorney General and Chief Deputy Attorney General on a range of policy and legal matters and has primary responsibility for the office’s legislative and intergovernmental efforts. Ms. Gunston previously served as Deputy Legal Director at the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs (“Committee”), where she directed the Committee’s criminal legal system reform work. In that role, she developed and led complex civil rights lawsuits and engaged in policy advocacy in the areas of police accountability, prison conditions, parole and compassionate release, and the criminalization of poverty.  

Before joining the Committee, Ms. Gunston served for nine years in the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, where she helped lead the Division’s group conducting pattern or practice investigations of police departments. Ms. Gunston led the investigations of the Chicago and Cleveland police departments and the enforcement of the agreement to reform the New Orleans Police Department. In recognition of her work, Ms. Gunston received the Attorney General’s John Marshall Award and three Distinguished Service Awards. 

Ms. Gunston began her career as a public defender in Contra Costa County, California, where she tried over 40 cases. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree, cum laude, from the University of Maryland, College Park, and her Juris Doctor from the University of California, Berkeley.

Hon. Sherry M. Trafford has served as a Magistrate Judge for the Superior Court of the District of Columbia since February 2016. She was designated Deputy Presiding Magistrate Judge in November 2019 and has been assigned to calendars in all Divisions of the Court. Before her appointment, she served as a staff attorney for the Mental Health Division of the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia (“PDS”) for twelve years, representing individuals subject to mental health detention and commitment proceedings. Judge Trafford began her career at PDS in the Civil Legal Services Division, providing representation to PDS clients in civil matters arising out of, or related to, their criminal cases. Before working at PDS, Judge Trafford had a Skadden Fellowship at the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, where she provided technical assistance and training on the rights of persons with disabilities under the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. She previously served as a law clerk for the law firm of Bernabei & Katz and the Whitman-Walker Clinic. 

Judge Trafford received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Indiana University and her Juris Doctor from Yale Law School. Following law school, Judge Trafford served as a law clerk to the late Honorable William B. Bryant on the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.

Donald Walker Tunnage, Esq., is a career attorney in the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice.  He has spent the past two decades enforcing federal civil rights statutes through criminal and civil courtroom litigation. During his early tenure in the Civil Rights Division as a civil trial attorney, Mr. Tunnage litigated lawsuits in federal district courts across the nation to enforce the Fair Housing Act, the Public Accommodations Act, and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Mr. Tunnage has been recognized consistently by the Department of Justice with Special Achievement awards and has thrice been awarded Special Commendation for outstanding performance.

Mr. Tunnage is currently a criminal prosecutor in the Civil Rights Division. He investigates and prosecutes cases throughout the nation that involve interference with liberties and deprivation of Constitutional or federal rights.  Before joining the Department of Justice, Mr. Tunnage was an assistant state public defender in Miami, Florida, where he litigated criminal appeals on behalf of indigent persons and made appearances in all three levels of state appellate courts in Florida, including a case of first impression before the Supreme Court of Florida. 

Mr. Tunnage received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology, magna cum laude, from Morehouse College and his Juris Doctor from Duke University Law School. Mr. Tunnage also holds a Master in Public Policy degree from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

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
Black Lives Matter Plaza
Washington, DC 20006
(202) 626-5837
[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
PPC-Leftwich
1400 K Street, NW
Suite 1000
Washington, DC 20005-2403
(202) 434-9124
[email protected]

Vincent H. Cohen, Jr., Esq.  
Dechert LLP
1900 K Street N.W.  
Washington, DC 20006-1110
(202) 261-3432
[email protected]