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JNC Recommends Candidates for DC Superior Court Vacancies

Friday, July 28, 2023

The District of Columbia Judicial Nomination Commission ("Commission") has recommended to the President the names of the six attorneys listed 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 retirement of the Honorable Peter A. Krauthamer and the Honorable Hiram E. Puig-Lugo. The President has sixty (60) days to select a nominee to fill each vacancy.

The Commission recommends the following candidates to fill Judge Krauthamer's vacancy:

Fara T. Gold, Esq., is an attorney for the Office on Violence Against Women with the United States Department of Justice (DOJ). Before that, she served as Special Litigation Counsel and Senior Sex Crimes Counsel for the DOJ's Civil Rights Division for nearly 14 years. Ms. Gold has traveled nationwide, investigating and prosecuting bias-motivated crimes and law enforcement misconduct cases. During that time, she was the national expert in prosecuting civil rights offenses involving sexual misconduct. She has led investigations that garnered national attention, including the first case prosecuted under the Shepard-Byrd Hate Crimes Act.

Ms. Gold was awarded the Attorney General's Award for Exceptional Service in 2014 and the Attorney General's Award for Outstanding Contributions by a New Employee in 2012. She also received the DOJ Office of Inspector General's Honorary Collaboration Award in 2023, the FBI Director's Award for Excellence in 2021, the Assistant Attorney General's Award for Distinguished Service in 2020, and the Assistant Attorney General's Special Commendation Award for Outstanding Service in 2014 and 2011. Ms. Gold serves as an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University Law Center.

Before joining DOJ, Ms. Gold served as an Assistant State Attorney for the Broward County State Attorney's Office in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She received her Juris Doctor, magna cum laude, from the University of Miami School of Law and her Bachelor of Arts degree from Emory University as a member of the Emory Scholars Program. She currently serves on the Emory College Alumni Board.

Hon. Adam R. Hunter has served as an Administrative Law Judge with the District of Columbia Rental Housing Commission since 2022. Before Judge Hunter's appointment, he was a founding partner of Hunter & Johnson, PLLC, a boutique litigation firm based in Washington, D.C. As a criminal and civil litigator, Judge Hunter represented businesses and individuals in the Superior Court and before the Office of Administrative Hearings. For most of his practice, he represented individuals charged in criminal cases through the Criminal Justice Act. 

Judge Hunter is an Adjunct Professor of Trial Advocacy at the Howard University School of Law (HUSL), where he teaches trial advocacy skills and the mastery of the rules of evidence. Under his leadership, his students have garnered a record number of regional and national awards. Judge Hunter also served as visiting faculty at Harvard Law School's Trial Advocacy Workshop. He is a board member of the Washington Government Relations Group Foundation and a past board member of Rising for Justice (formerly D.C. Law Students in Court Program). 

Judge Hunter earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Howard University and Juris Doctor from HUSL. While in law school, he was a Marshall-Brennan Fellow teaching Constitutional Law at Eastern Senior High School and the District of Columbia's Youth Services Center.

Ray D. McKenzie, Esq., is co-founder of WTAII PLLC, a boutique law firm specializing in white-collar defense and compliance. Before WTAII, Mr. McKenzie was an Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) for the District of Maryland in Greenbelt, Maryland, where he prosecuted violent crimes, drug offenses, fraud, and human trafficking. Mr. McKenzie served the U.S. Attorney's Office as Project EXILE coordinator, Civil Rights Coordinator, and Asset Forfeiture Coordinator. In 2018, he received the U.S. Attorney's Award for Excellence in the Prosecution of Fraud. He is on the adjunct faculty of Georgetown University Law Center, the George Washington University Law School, and Virginia Union University.

Before becoming an AUSA, Mr. McKenzie was a litigation associate at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher, and Flom. He worked on internal investigations and government enforcement actions involving the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the False Claims Act, and the Securities Exchange Act. Mr. McKenzie represented domestic violence victims at the Superior Court and filed amicus briefs and petitions for writ of certiorari in the United States Supreme Court. 

Mr. McKenzie earned his Bachelor of Arts degree, Master of Teaching degree, and Juris Doctor from the University of Virginia. He earned his Master of Divinity from the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology. Following law school, Mr. McKenzie clerked for the Honorable James R. Spencer on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia

The Commission recommends the following candidates to fill Judge Puig-Lugo's vacancy:

Erin C. Johnston, Esq., is a litigation partner in the Washington D.C. office of Kirkland & Ellis LLP. Over the past sixteen years, she has represented several Fortune 500 companies and household names, helping them resolve complex business disputes nationwide in state and federal courts. An experienced trial lawyer, Ms. Johnston has first-chaired multiple jury and bench trials. She has handled various legal matters from inception to resolution, including dedicating nearly 2000 hours to pro bono work, primarily in family law and criminal law matters.

Ms. Johnston received Kirkland's Pro Bono Service Award several times. She also holds several leadership roles within the Firm, including chairing the Diversity Committee and the Women's Leadership Initiative in the D.C. office, for which she was profiled in the Washington Lawyer Magazine. Her non-profit work includes serving on the Boards of Equal Justice Works and the Disability Rights Legal Center. She has been recognized by The National Law Journal as a "D.C. Rising Star" and by The Legal 500 U.S. for General Commercial Disputes. Ms. Johnston also was named an "Emerging Women Leader in Private Practice" by DCA Live and a "Rising Star" in Business Litigation twice by Super Lawyers.

Ms. Johnston earned her Bachelor of Arts degree cum laude from the University of California at Los Angeles and her Juris Doctor from the NYU School of Law. She interned in law school with the Innocence Project and the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

Hon. Philip A. Medley has been a Magistrate Judge on the Superior Court since May 2022, handling Abuse and Neglect cases. He has also assisted in other Family Court calendars, such as uncontested divorces and juvenile arraignments.

Before joining the Superior Court, Judge Medley served as an Assistant Attorney General at the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia (OAG). There, he served in the Civil Litigation Division, representing the District of Columbia and its employees in general civil litigation matters, including employment law, civil rights claims, and common law torts. Judge Medley also served in the Child Support Services Division of the OAG, representing the District of Columbia on behalf of children needing paternity establishment and financial support. He specialized in paternity and support cases litigated alongside related custody, domestic violence, and neglect matters.

Judge Medley currently serves on the Children's Justice Act Task Force. He has also served as a member, co-chair, and vice chair of the Steering Committee for the Family Law Community of the D.C. Bar. Judge Medley has served as a mentor in the community through both the Thurgood Marshall Academy Mentor Program and the Everybody Wins DC Power Readers Program.

Judge Medley received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the College of William & Mary and his Juris Doctor from The George Washington University Law School. After law school, he clerked for the Honorable Melvin R. Wright on the Superior Court. 

Hon. Charles L. Thomas, Jr. has served as the first Administrative Law Judge for the District of Columbia assigned to the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (DYRS) since August 2019. He currently presides over matters involving probable cause, detainee discipline, the Interstate Compact on Placement of Children (ICPC), the District of Columbia Government's employee grievances, terminations, and residency claims, the Education Licensure Commission, and the Compulsory School Attendance Act. He also presides over administrative hearings relating to the revocation of juvenile parole rights, aiming to provide a fair process for youth while balancing the need to
ensure effective community violence prevention.

Before his appointment, Judge Thomas served as a Hearing Officer for DYRS. In that role, he developed a comprehensive strategy to protect and expand the rights of individuals facing revocation of their liberty, interests, and freedoms in the District of Columbia. Before his career at DYRS, Judge Thomas worked as a Policy Advisor for the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services. In that role, he provided technical assistance and recommendations on city-wide violence prevention, critical community responses, summer activity and funding planning, community-based grants, truancy, and other matters. Judge Thomas began his career as a law clerk and then as an assistant general counsel with the District of Columbia's Child and Family Services Agency.

Judge Thomas received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of South Carolina and his Juris Doctor from Western Michigan University Law School.

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

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

Benjamin F. Wilson, Esq.
7825 Orchid Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20012
(202) 657-2534
[email protected] 

Addy R. Schmitt, Esq.
Harris St. Laurent & Wechsler LLP
1775 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Suite 650
Washington, DC 20006
(202) 617-5791
[email protected]

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

Yaida O. Ford, Esq.
Ford Law Pros P.C.
1001 L Street, SE
Washington, DC, 20003
(202) 792-4946
[email protected] 

The Honorable Linda W. Cropp
4001 18th Street, NW
Washington, DC  20011
(202) 726-0505
[email protected]

The Honorable Tanya S. Chutkan
United States District Court
for the District of Columbia
United States Courthouse
333 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 354-3390
[email protected]