Family Court: Two sisters in Prince George’s County are judges

by Kevin Don Porter


Judges DaNeeka Varner Cotton and Donnaka Varner Lewis with their brother, Dr. Geoffrey Mount Varner, an ER physician. (Courtesy Varner Family/WTOP News)

Family court takes on a different meaning for two Prince George’s County women. They’re both sisters. They both work in the same courthouse. They're both judges.


“It’s so nice to walk into the courthouse and have my sister here too,” DaNeeka Varner Cotton told WTOP News.


Varner Cotton is an associate judge for the Prince George’s Circuit Court, 7th Judicial Circuit. Her sister, Donnaka Varner Lewis, is an associate judge for the District Court of Maryland, District 5 in Prince George’s County.


Although the two women don't actually preside over family courts, they've given the institution their own unique spin. In Maryland's history these two partners against crime are the only sitting judges to be sisters.


Both sisters received their undergraduate degree from Hampton University, an HBCU in Virginia, as did their brother, Dr. Geoffrey Mount Varner, an emergency room physician. Each woman received their Juris Doctorate from the University of Maryland School of Law, according to WTOP News.


Varner Cotton, the oldest of the siblings, had her sights set on becoming a judge since she was a child after a female judge visited her elementary school. “I wanted to be a judge before I wanted to be a lawyer,” she said.


Both women attribute their success to the values imparted by their mother, Linda Varner Mount, a retired Agriculture Department employee who holds a doctorate in education.


Varner Cotton said, “She instilled in us the importance of hard work, the importance of education, the importance of family, the importance of our community.”


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