James Lee Tanavage appointed to St. Mary’s District Court

News Release, Office of Governor Larry Hogan

Fills Vacancies in Court of Appeals, Anne Arundel, and St. Mary’s Counties

ANNAPOLIS, MD—Governor Larry Hogan today announced the following judicial appointments:

  • Jonathan Biran for the Court of Appeals
  • Richard Trunnell for Anne Arundel County Circuit Court
  • James Lee Tanavage for St. Mary’s County District Court

“The appointment of these qualified individuals to serve across our state’s justice system is paramount to upholding our responsibilities to the people of Maryland and the rule of law,” said Governor Hogan. “I have every confidence that Mr. Biran, Mr. Trunnell, and Mr. Tanavage will continue to be strong advocates for the law and will serve the citizens of Maryland admirably.”

Jonathan Biran was a federal prosecutor for 17 years and is currently a partner at Baker Donelson, a nationally prominent law firm, practicing both criminal defense and appellate law. He worked at the U.S. Department of Justice, Criminal Division. He also served in the U.S. Attorney’s office for Maryland under Rod Rosenstein, working on fraud and public corruption matters. He served on the Maryland Mortgage Fraud Task Force and served as Appellate Chief of the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office from 2010-2013, supervising the appellate work of dozens of assistant U.S. Attorneys. He previously served as a law clerk for the Honorable David F. Levi, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California. He received his B.A. from Swarthmore College and his J.D. from Stanford Law School.


Richard Robert Trunnell is a solo practitioner operating under the name Trunnell Law, LLC. His practice areas include criminal, traffic, juvenile, domestic relations, and personal injury law. He also practices estate planning and administration and has a significant meditation practice, which includes both court-ordered and private mediations. Throughout his 31-year legal career, Trunnell has worked primarily as either a solo practitioner or at small firms. He also spent six years as a prosecutor in Prince George’s County. He served as a law clerk to Judge Calvin R. Sanders, Circuit Court for Montgomery County from 1987-1988. He received his B.A. from Gettysburg College and his J.D. from the University of Maryland School of Law.


James Lee Tanavage is a solo practitioner with the Law Office of James L. Tanavage, LLC. He is a general practitioner handling criminal defense, DWI/DUI, domestic cases, family law, personal injury, and wills and estates cases. Prior to creating his own firm in 2011, he was an assistant state’s attorney in St. Mary’s County for 18 years. He also worked as an associate with the firm of Farmer and Braun and served as a judicial law clerk for the Honorable Robert C. Nalley, Circuit Court for Charles County from 1990-1991. Tanavage holds a B.S. from LaRoche College (now LaRoche University) and obtained his J.D. from the University of Baltimore School of Law.


David M. Higgins II

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in Digital Marketing, eventually leading him back to his passion. David started The Southern Maryland Chronicle in December 2017 and has grown it to become the #1 news source in Southern Maryland.

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