Gov. Martin O'Malley on Friday announced the appointment of four new judges to the Baltimore bench.

Jeffrey Michael Geller, a Towson business and family law attorney, will join the city's circuit court. He worked most recently within the firm of Miles and Stockbridge, and spent four years within the Maryland Office of the Public Defender earlier in his career. He received his law degree in 1997 from American University's Washington College of Law.

Rachel Elizabeth Cogen, Melissa Kaye Copeland, and Jennifer Etheridge were appointed to the district court.

Cogen, most recently the chief of the Juvenile Division within the Baltimore County State's Attorney's Office, has spent her career as a county prosecutor. The Baltimore County Police Department commended her for her work in reducing gun violence when she ran the Firearms Violence Division. Cogen graduated from the University of Baltimore School of Law in 1997.

Copeland has been a city prosecutor for a dozen years, working within the Felony Narcotics Trial Division, the Misdemeanor Trial Division, and the District Court Division. She has been the Deputy Chief for the Narcotics Division since 2005. She earned her law degree from the University of Baltimore School of Law in 1998.

Etheridge also comes from the Baltimore prosecutors' office, where she was the chief of Community Justice Initiatives, working on programs to curtail misdemeanor nuisance crimes and prostitution. She's also worked on the Juvenile Courts Division, the Misdemeanor Jury Trial Division, the Felony Jury Trial Division, and the Felony Narcotics Division. Etheridge graduated from the University of Baltimore School of Law in 1992.

"Each of these individuals has exceptional qualifications, and brings with them a diverse array of legal expertise. We are confident that they will serve the people of our State well in their new roles," O'Malley said in a statement.

Tricia.bishop@baltsun.com

Twitter.com/triciabishop

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