DC Superior Court Starts 2020 With Seven New Judges

The DC Superior Court bench kicked off the year with a number of new faces, and a few ‘old’ faces in new places….

On January 10th, Rainey Ransom Brandt’s investiture was held at the Moultrie Courthouse, where she has worked for over twenty years. Rising from law clerk to Special Counsel to the Chief Judge (working for three different chief judges) and then Magistrate Judge. Judge Brandt was sworn-in by Senior Judge Michael Rankin, for whom she served as a law clerk when she began her DC Superior Court tenure. During her investiture ceremony, remarks were made by Presiding Magistrate Judge Errol Arthur and Senior Judge Stephanie Duncan-Peters for whom Judge Brandt had also served as a law clerk.

On January 17th, the Court held its second investiture. Shana Frost Matini was sworn-in as an Associate Judge by Senior Judge Richard Levie, for whom she had served as a judicial law clerk after graduating from UDC’s David A. Clarke School of Law and later as an assistant to Judge Levie in his capacity as a Special Master in a large federal lawsuit brought against the tobacco industry. Before law school, Judge Matini taught English at the Language Teacher’s Training College in Słupsk, Poland. At her investiture, Senior Judge Levie made remarks, as did Senior Assistant Attorney General Robert DeBarardinis, a former colleague of the judge’s at the DC Office of Attorney General.

On January 24th, the Court’s third investiture of the year held, as Jason Park was sworn-in as an Associate Judge. Judge Park joined a large corporate law firm in New York after law school, where he received pro bono achievement awards for work on litigation to expand hospital access for low income community members.  After a judicial clerkship and then some time at a DC law firm, Judge Park joined the DC US Attorney’s Office.  Judge Kelly Higashi administered the oath of office. Remarks were made by former United States District Court Judge Ricardo Urbina, for whom he served as a judicial law clerk after law school, made remarks, along with Judge Park’s wife, Kati Daffan.

Last but by no means least, the Court’s fourth investiture held on the last day of the month. On January 31st, James A. Crowell IV was sworn-in as an Associate Judge by Chief Judge Robert E. Morin. Judge Crowell is a former Assistant US Attorney who most recently served as head of the Executive Office of US Attorneys at the US Department of Justice after serving as Chief of Staff to the Deputy Attorney General. US District Court Judge Charles A. Pannell, Jr., for whom Judge Crowell had clerked after law school, gave remarks, as did former Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, for whom he had worked in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Maryland.

On February 21st, the Court held an installation ceremony for three new magistrate judges: 

Magistrate Judge Raquel Olivo Trabal was raised in Brooklyn, went to college in Ohio (Oberlin) and then taught English in Japan!  Most recently she was an Attorney Negotiator in the Domestic Violence Division, and prior to that served as an Assistant Attorney General in the Child Support section of the Office of the DC Attorney General.  Judge Trabal was sworn in by Associate Judge Laura Cordero. Her college friend, Elizabeth Barajas-Román, President and CEO of the Women’s Funding Network, gave remarks.

Next came Magistrate Judge Ebony M. Scott, who was raised in Buffalo, NY but came to DC for law school and has lived here ever since.  Most recently Judge Scott served as Deputy Director of Mayor Bowser’s Office of Legal Counsel, after working for the DC Office of Human Rights as General Counsel and as an Assistant Attorney General in the Office of the Attorney General for DC.  Chief Judge Anna Blackburne-Rigsby of the DC Court of Appeals, for whom Judge Scott clerked right after law school, gave remarks and administered the oath of office.

The ceremony closed with the installation of native Washingtonian Judith Pipe as magistrate judge.  Judge Pipe graduated from American University and received her juris doctor magna cum laude from the Columbus School of Law at Catholic University.  She joined the Public Defender Service for DC after graduation and served there for a dozen years, ultimately becoming a supervisor in the trial division in 2014.   Jason Downs, General Counsel, in the Office of the D.C. Attorney General, who was a former PDS colleague of the judge’s, gave remarks. Chief Judge Robert Morin administered the oath of office. 

Chief Judge Morin was pleased to see so many new judges joining the bench. We welcome our five new colleagues, and congratulate our long-time colleagues Magistrate Judge Brandt, who is now Associate Judge Brandt, and Raquel Trabal, who is now Magistrate Judge Trabal!