First Woman in State History Appointed to Worcester District Court

Several judicial appointments were made last week, including the first woman in state history to serve on the Worcester County District Court.

Governor Larry Hogan has appointed Justin Gregory to the Garrett County Circuit Court, Marybeth Ayres to the Montgomery County Circuit Court, J. Bradford McCullough to the Montgomery County Circuit Court, and Cathi V. Coates to the Worcester County District Court—the first woman in state history to serve on that court.

According to a Governor’s press release, the bios of each appointee are as follows:

For Worcester County District Court:

Cathi Van de Meulebroecke Coates is the Domestic and Juvenile Magistrate for Worcester County. Her practice as a Magistrate consists of civil work, although in juvenile delinquency cases criminal principles are applicable, particularly in adjudication hearings. In her role as Magistrate, Ms. Van de Meulebroecke Coates also heard truancy cases as part of the problem-solving court. Prior to her time as Magistrate, she worked as a private attorney and as Chair of the Worcester County Board of Property Review.

She received her B.A. from University of Lynchburg, formerly Lynchburg College, and received her J.D. from the University of Baltimore School of Law.

For Garrett County Circuit Court:

Justin Nathaniel Gregory is a solo practitioner operating under the name J. Gregory Law Firm, L.C. He is a general practitioner and has provided a broad range of services to both Maryland and West Virginia residents for nearly a decade. He has practiced in both circuit and district courts and has handled cases from traffic citations to capital offenses. In addition to handling residential and real estate closings, estate planning, and all matters of civil litigation, Mr. Gregory has also tried felony cases before a jury and has also handled cases involving attempted murder, robbery, and kidnapping. He also serves as the court auditor for the Circuit Court for Garrett County, is the chairman of the Garrett County Property Review Board and the current president of the Garrett County Bar Association.

He received his bachelor’s degree from Frostburg State University and his J.D. from the West Virginia University College of Law.

For Montgomery County Circuit Court:

Mary Elizabeth Ayres is the Chief of the Major Crimes Division at the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office, where she began working as an Assistant State’s Attorney in 2004. The Major Crimes Division handles homicides, attempted murders, home invasions, armed robberies and other major crimes affecting the community. Ms. Ayres has tried over 20 murder cases. Before coming to Montgomery County, she worked in the Homicide Division at the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office, and worked in the Queens County, New York, District Attorney’s Office. She has been a prosecutor since 1998.

She received her B.A. from Bucknell University and received her J.D. from the George Washington University Law School.

James Bradford McCullough is a commercial and business litigator and appellate attorney at Lerch, Early & Brewer in Bethesda. He represents businesses and individuals in a wide variety of cases in both the federal and state trial and appellate courts, as well as before arbitration panels and in mediation proceedings. Mr. McCullough has handled shareholder’s derivative litigation, corporate directors’ and officers’ liability claims, business dissolutions, lender liability litigation, disputes concerning non-competition agreements, and matters arising from the Uniform Commercial Code.

He received his B.A from McDaniel College, formerly Western Maryland College, and received his J.D. from the University of Baltimore School of Law.

Read the full press release.