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Circuit judges named in Montgomery County, first woman to Worcester court

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan appointed new circuit court judges in Montgomery and Garrett counties Thursday and named a new district court judge who will be the first woman to serve on that court in Worcester County’s history.

Hogan named career prosecutor Marybeth Ayres to Montgomery County Circuit Court. Ayres served as the chief of the major crimes division at the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office and has worked in the office since 2004, handling more than 20 murder trials, Hogan’s office said in a news release.

She previously worked in the homicide division at the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office and in the Queens County, New York, District Attorney’s Office. She began her career as a prosecutor in 1998 and received her J.D. from the George Washington University Law School.

Hogan also named J. Bradford McCullough to Montgomery County Circuit Court. McCullough handled commercial and business litigation and appellate issues at Lerch, Early & Brewer Chtd. He has represented a variety of cases in federal and state trial and appellate courts and in mediation proceedings. He has experience handling high-level business litigation, business dissolutions, disputes related to noncompetition agreements and other issues, Hogan’s office said.

McCullough received his J.D. from the University of Baltimore School of Law.

Hogan named Justin N. Gregory to the circuit court in Garrett County. He is a solo practitioner at his firm, J. Gregory Law Firm L.C., and has handled a variety of cases in Maryland and West Virginia. He has provided services ranging from estate planning and other civil matters to trying serious felony cases before juries.

He is also the court auditor for the Garrett County Circuit Court and the president of the county’s bar association. He received his J.D. from the West Virginia University College of Law.

Cathi V. Coates will join the Worcester County District Court and will be the first woman to serve in that role. She is currently the domestic and juvenile magistrate for the county, handling juvenile delinquency cases and civil matters. She also hears truancy cases as part of the county’s problem-solving court. She previously worked in private practice.

She received her J.D. from the University of Baltimore School of Law.

“I am proud to appoint such distinguished individuals to serve in our state’s judicial system,” Hogan said. “Our state is gaining an immensely talented and principled group of judges who will honorably serve the citizens of their respective counties and Maryland in the years to come. I want to especially congratulate Cathi Coates as she becomes the first woman in state history to serve on the Worcester County District Court.”