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Cotton fills judicial opening in Circuit Court for Prince George’s County

Court of Appeals of Maryland Chief Judge Matthew J. Fader has named Judge DaNeeka Varner Cotton as county administrative judge for the Circuit Court for Prince George’s County.

Cotton succeeds Chief, Circuit and County Administrative Judge Sheila R. Tillerson Adams, Seventh Judicial Circuit, who will retire on Dec. 31, after serving nearly three decades on the bench.

Judge DaNeeka Varner Cotton, the new county administrative judge for the Circuit Court for Prince George’s County.

County administrative judges oversee the administration of the court, budget and procurement functions. They also manage trial calendars to ensure the expeditious disposition of cases.

Cotton has served as an associate judge in the Circuit Court for Prince George’s County since October 2011, upon her appointment by then-Governor Martin O’Malley. From September

2006 to October 2011, she served on the District Court of Maryland, District 5, Prince George’s

County, after being appointed by then-Gov. Robert Ehrlich.

Cotton earned a Bachelor of Arts in business management from Hampton University in 1988 and earned a Juris Doctor from the University of Maryland School of Law in 1991. She was admitted to the Maryland Bar in 1991. Judge Cotton began her legal career as a staff attorney for the Legal Aid Bureau of Maryland from 1991 to 1993.

She currently serves as vice-chair of the Judicial Council’s Domestic Law Committee. She also serves on the Guardianship and Vulnerable Adult Work Group, and as faculty member at the Maryland Judicial College, instructing on the issues of guardianship and family law.

Cotton is a member of the Maryland State Bar Association, Prince George’s County Bar Association, J. Franklin Bourne Bar Association, National Bar Association, National Association of Women Judges, National Council of Juvenile & Family Court Judges, Maryland Circuit Court Judges Association, Women’s Bar Association, National Guardianship Association, and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated. She also serves on the board of directors for Bishop McNamara High School, Forestville.

Cotton has received several awards and accolades, including being named to the Daily Record’s list of Maryland’s Top 100 Women in 2021. She received the Leadership Award from the Prince George’s County Health Department’s Adam’s House program in 2004 and the Woman of Achievement Award from the Lieutenant Governor’s Office in 2002. Cotton also received the Governor’s Citation for Outstanding Service in 1998.

During Adams’ tenure, the Circuit Court for Prince George’s County was expanded and modernized with technology and security enhancements. The circuit court has increased numerous services for the public through the expansion of its Problem-Solving Court Division, which includes adult and juvenile drug court, re-entry court, veterans court, juvenile diversionary court, and truancy court. Judge Adams also worked with Prince George’s County on the creation of the Family Justice Center, which has more than 21 partnering agencies providing connections to services for local residents.