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JNC Recommends Three Candidates for DC Superior Court Vacancy

Thursday, May 5, 2016

The District of Columbia Judicial Nomination Commission (“Commission”) has forwarded to President Barack Obama the names of three lawyers for his consideration in selecting a nominee to fill the judicial vacancy on the Superior Court of the District of Columbia created by the retirement of Hon. Judith N. Macaluso. The President has sixty (60) days to select a nominee to fill the vacancy. 

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

Maria-Claudia T. Amato, Esq. is the General Counsel for the District of Columbia Department of Corrections, a position she has held since 2006. Ms. Amato joined what is now known as the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia (DC-OAG) in 1992, following five years in private civil litigation practices in the District of Columbia. She rose through the ranks at DC-OAG as an Assistant Attorney General, Section Chief for the Civil Rights Section, and Senior Counsel in the Equity Division. Ms. Amato specialized in litigating civil rights class actions involving systemic reform, including in corrections, medical and mental health care, the juvenile justice system, special education, foster care and adoption, and services for persons with disabilities. She also litigated a broad spectrum of civil cases. As General Counsel to the Department of Corrections, Ms. Amato’s experience also includes legislative and regulatory work, criminal law, employment matters, and contracts and procurement. She serves as agency chief legal advisor, liaison to the bench and bar, agency ethics officer, and oversees all litigation support.  Ms. Amato serves on several commissions and committees related to the criminal justice system. Ms. Amato was born in Cairo, Egypt and immigrated to the United States as a child. She graduated with honors from Seton Hall University in 1984, and earned her law degree with honors from the American University Washington College of Law in 1987.

Hon. Joseph E. Beshouri is a Deputy Presiding Magistrate Judge in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.  In 1986, he founded his own criminal practice, which continued for twenty-three years until his appointment as a Magistrate Judge in 2009. During his years in private practice, Judge Beshouri represented individuals charged in Superior Court, in Maryland’s District and Circuit courts, and in the United States Districts Courts in both the District of Columbia and Maryland. His last decade in practice was primarily focused on complex federal litigation, to include gangracketeering cases, transnational crimes, and death-penalty prosecutions. Judge Beshouri represented several high-profile defendants in the District of Columbia, including Sam Carson in United States v. Sam Carson, et al., a seven-month federal trial of six defendants charged in a 101-count RICO indictment, and Kenneth Simmons in United States v. Kenneth Simmons, et al., a six-month federal trial of six defendants charged in a 158-count RICO indictment. Judge Beshouri was born and raised near Detroit, Michigan. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Studies in 1982 from the University of South Florida, and received his law degree in 1986 from Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law. 

Hon. Rainey Ransom Brandt is a Magistrate Judge in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia where, since 2012, she has served in the Criminal Division. She began working at Superior Court in 1996, as a law clerk to Judge Michael Rankin and later Judge Stephanie Duncan-Peters. In 1998, Judge Brandt became Special Counsel to the Chief Judge of the Superior Court, serving in that position until her appointment as Magistrate Judge.  As Special Counsel, she served as ombudsman to the justice community for prisoner/correctional issues, and held leadership roles on committees addressing access to justice, and provided judicial training sessions for new and seasoned judges. Judge Brandt continues to mentor young lawyers via the Women’s Bar Mentoring Program and serves on several judicial committees within the Court. Prior to her work at the Court, Judge Brandt was a full-time professor in the Department of Justice, Law and Criminology at American University, where she remains an adjunct associate professor.  In 2010, Judge Brandt received the Council for Court Excellence’s Justice Potter Stewart Award in recognition of her work on behalf of the administration of justice. In May 2015, she received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from DC Law Students in Court. Judge Brandt received a Bachelors degree in
History (1989), a Masters in Justice (1990), and a Ph.D. in Sociology in 1993 from American University. She received her law degree from the Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law in 1995. 

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