Gov. Larry Hogan made the final judicial appointments of his term on Friday, appointing three new judges for Prince George’s County Circuit and District Court.
The Republican appointed Judges Darren S. Johnson and Stenise L. Rolle to the district court and Llamilet Gutierrez, a former prosecutor and public defender, to the district court.
Johnson and Gutierrez will be the first Hispanic judges to serve in their respective courts, Hogan’s office said.
Johnson has served as a family divisions judge at Prince George’s County Circuit Court since 2018, where he handles the truancy list. He also served for seven years as an appeals officer and legal counsel with the US Department of Agriculture’s National Appeals Division and has a background in private practice, Hogan’s office said.
Johnson received his law degree from the University of the District of Columbia, David A. Clarke School of Law.
Rolle has also served as a judge in Prince George’s County Circuit Court, where she has served thousands of foreclosure cases since 2019. She began her legal career in 2002 at Parks & Crump LLC, a Tallahassee law firm co-founded by nationally recognized civil rights attorney Ben Crump.
She joined the University of Maryland in 2013 as the director of legal aid for graduate students and joined the Maryland Administrative Office of the Courts in 2018 and oversaw the development of all mandatory education programs for judges and prosecutors, Hogan’s office said.
She received her law degree from the University of Miami School of Law.
Gutierrez will join Prince George’s County Circuit Court, having served as a prosecutor with the county attorney’s office since 2021. She previously worked as the executive director of the Amara Legal Center, which provides legal services to sex trafficking survivors and sex workers.
She also previously served as an assistant public defender in Prince George’s County. According to Hogan’s office, she received her law degree from Lewis & Clark Law School.
Hogan has made a record 190 judge appointments, including six to the Maryland Supreme Court and seven to the state Court of Appeals.
“While I’m proud of the sheer number of judge appointments we’ve made, I’m just as proud of our success in ensuring that the composition of our courts better reflects the vast diversity of our state,” Hogan said. “I call on world leaders, judges and the legal community to continue to build on the work we have done to make the bank more diverse.”
Hogan also announced other “historic firsts” among his appointments as judges, including becoming the first African-American chief justice of the Court of Appeals and the first openly LGBTQ person to serve as chief appeals judge.
Hogan also appointed the first Hispanic and Afro-Latin appellate judge and the first Asian American appellate judge, his office said.