Governor Moore Announces Appointments to the Baltimore County Trial Court Judicial Nominating Commission

Published: 10/2/2023

ANNAPOLIS, MD — Governor Wes Moore today announced appointments to the Baltimore County Trial Court Judicial Nominating Commission. Jason St. John will serve as chair.

“Baltimore County residents deserve diverse, talented, and knowledgeable representation on the Trial Court Judicial Nominating Commission,” said Gov. Moore. “These appointees reflect our commitment to those principles and I am grateful that each appointee has welcomed the opportunity to serve.”

There are sixteen Trial Court Judicial Nominating Commissions established by executive order. The commissions advertise judicial vacancies, seek recommendations for judicial candidates from their own membership, bar associations and members of the general public, set closing dates for the submission of the judicial applications, and evaluate applicants based on a variety of factors including their integrity, temperament, legal knowledge, and professional experience.

Governor Moore’s appointees to the Baltimore County Trial Court Judicial Nominating Commission include:

Jason St. John, Chair
Jason St. John is Managing Partner of Saul Ewing, LLP. He oversees the firm’s daily operations, client relations, strategic planning, business development, and growth strategies. In addition to his law practice, Jason previously served as an adjunct professor at the University of Maryland School of Law where he now serves on their Board of Visitors. He serves on the Baltimore County Economic Development Advisory Board and also serves as the vice chair of the Board of Trustees of the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore.

Rukaayat Balogun
Rukaayat Balogun has spent her entire 20-year legal career at the Maryland Office of the Public Defender. She is currently the managing attorney of the Circuit Court Felony Division, where she spearheads a team of experienced litigation attorneys in the Circuit Court of Baltimore County. She is a member of the Baltimore County Bar Association.

Alison D. Kohler
Alison Kohler is a medical malpractice and personal injury lawyer with more than 40 years of legal experience. Alison previously served on the Baltimore County Judicial Nominating Commission from 2006-2014 and 2018-2022. She has held a variety of leadership positions in the Maryland Association for Justice, the Maryland State Bar Association, the Baltimore County Bar Association. She is an active singer and has participated in Baltimore’s Young Victorian Theatre, Baltimore Bar Foundation fundraisers, and with The Deer Creek Chorale.

Jose Antonio Molina
Jose Molina is a solo practitioner practicing in both state and federal district courts. Jose maintains a general practice representing clients in a variety of matters ranging from non-incarcerable traffic offenses to federal felony offenses. He is a member of the Baltimore County Bar Association, the Maryland Criminal Defense Attorneys’ Association and served on the Board of Directors of the Maryland State Bar Association’s Lawyer Assistance Program. 

Brian M. Cathell
Brian Cathell is a partner at Wais, Vogelstein, Forman, Koch & Norman, LLC. He is a trial lawyer who has spent his career handling medical negligence and medical malpractice cases. Brian clerked for the Honorable Mickey J. Norman of the Circuit Court of Baltimore County from 2009-2010. He serves on the Bench-Bar Committee of the Baltimore County Bar Association, and previously served as a judge for the Maryland Statewide High School Mock Trial Competition.

Noelle W. Newman
Noelle Newman is counsel in PK Law’s general litigation group. She represents clients in state and federal courts, in various legal matters including property, landlord tenant, and contract disputes, family law litigation and appellate cases, and criminal cases. Noelle has served as a guest lecturer at the Maryland Law Criminal Defense Clinic and as a moderator for the Maryland State Bar Association. She is past president of the Monumental Bar Association, and a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Emily C. Malarkey
Emily Malarkey is a partner at Beckman, Marder, Hopper, Malarkey & Perlin, LLC. Emily has spent her entire career as a trial attorney focusing on medical negligence, wrongful death, and catastrophic injury cases. She has provided presentations for a number of organizations including the Maryland Defense Counsel Trial Academy, the Maryland Employment Lawyers Association, and The Casey Feldman Foundation. Emily is past president of the Maryland Association for Justice, Inc. and regularly testifies before the Maryland General Assembly regarding civil justice issues. 

Leonard J. Grossman
Leonard Grossman is a patent and banking attorney with more than 57 years of experience. He is an attorney with Goodman, Meagher & Enoch, LLP. Leonard is past president of the Savings & Loan Association Lawyers of Maryland and served on the committee to revise the land patents statute. Since 2009, he has served as a member of the peer review committee of the Attorney Grievance Commission of Maryland. Until 2023, Leonard had served on the board of directors for the Woodholme Country Club.

Tony W. Torain, II
Tony Torain is a trial attorney specializing in labor and employment law. He represents companies in various labor and employment disputes, and additionally assists federal contractors with the implementation and maintenance of effective affirmative action programs. Tony is legal counsel to the board of directors for the National Association of African Americans in Human Resources, Baltimore chapter. He is first vice chair of the board for Associated Black Charities and is admitted to practice in the U.S. Supreme Court.

Zarena Sita Cason
Zarena Sita Cason a prosecutor in the Baltimore County State’s Attorney’s Office for nearly her entire career. She is currently assigned to the Child Abuse and Sex Offense Division. She is an instructor at both the Maryland State’s Attorneys’ Association Trial Advocacy training and the Top Gun training.  Zarena was a judicial law clerk for the Honorable Robert E. Cahill, Jr. of the Baltimore County Circuit Court from 2014-2015. She served on the Baltimore County Judicial Nominating Commission from 2019-2023.

Wendy L. Shiff
Wendy Shiff is an assistant attorney general in the Civil Litigation Division at the Maryland Office of the Attorney General. Previously, Wendy was a medical malpractice and insurance defense attorney at several Baltimore-based firms. She additionally served as an attorney-advisor for the U.S. Department of Labor from 1985-1986.

Tammy L. Turner
Tammy L. Turner is a solo practitioner serving as a hearing examiner, certified arbitrator, investigator, and mediator, and consultant for a variety of organizations and authorities. She has more than 27 years of experience in the practice of public sector law, and 20 years in the field of public education. Previously, Tammy served for 14 years as chief legal counsel for Baltimore City Public Schools as well as General Counsel for Washington County Public Schools and Prince George's County Public Schools. She is a past president of the Maryland Negotiators Service, and  for the Family and Children’s Service of Maryland.​

Scott P. Kurlander
Scott Kurlander is the founder of Kurlander Legal Counsel. Scott has more than 30 years representing plaintiffs and defendants in medical malpractice cases and other complex civil litigation. He also serves as a court-appointed mediator for Maryland courts and provides private mediation services. In addition to his legal practice, Scott has lectured at the National Business Institute and the Maryland Institute for Continuing Professional Education of Lawyers. He currently serves on the Attorney Grievance Commission of Maryland’s Peer Review Committee.