U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte Jr. of the Central District of California will establish a section dedicated to civil rights and public corruption prosecutions, according to an office memo sent to staff members Friday and reviewed by Main Justice.
Birotte, who has led the Los Angeles-based office since March, wrote in the memo that he decided to create the section within the office’s Criminal Division after he consulted with Central District Assistant U.S. Attorneys, Justice Department officials and law enforcement members. The section is slated for a July 1 launch.
“The public needs to be able to rely on federal law enforcement to act as a watchdog for public institutions and the individuals who hold positions of trust in those organizations,” Birotte wrote. “The presence in this office of a vigorous section with a broad mandate – to investigate, and to prosecute when necessary, public corruption and civil rights violations in all their insidious forms – will fulfill this public need.”
The section will include about seven prosecutors led by Lawrence Middleton, a 20-year veteran of the office, who is currently Special Counsel to the U.S. Attorney. Middleton helped handle the civil rights case against two Los Angeles Police Department officers convicted in 1993 on charges stemming from the beating of Rodney King.
The prosecutors will work closely with the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section and their counterparts in Los Angeles area law enforcement agencies, the U.S. Attorney said.
“[T]he residents of this large and diverse district can look forward to having a dedicated team of expert federal prosecutors whose mission is to protect and preserve the fundamental civil rights of those residents and to bring to justice those public officials and public employees who violate the public’s trust,” Birotte wrote.
The U.S. Attorney also said he will fold the Domestic Security and Immigration Crimes Section into the Criminal Division’s General Crimes Section to make a “single, larger, and more flexible section.” He said the loss of a number of Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys, who handled a majority of the illegal re-entry cases, was a contributing factor to his decision.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Curtis Kin, who currently leads the Domestic Security and Immigration Crimes Section, will become the Chief of the General Crimes Section after it is expanded next month. Assistant U.S. Attorney Rod Castro-Silva, who is currently the chief of the General Crimes Section, will become the office’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Chief.
Birotte also announced a number of other promotions, which are slated to happen July 1 including:
-Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office Gang Division Chief Bruce Riordan, a 15-year veteran of the office, will return as Special Counsel to the U.S. Attorney.
-Assistant U.S. Attorney Dorothy Kim, who will become a Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division.
-Assistant U.S. Attorney Rupa Goswami, who will become a Deputy Chief in the General Crimes Section.
-Assistant U.S. Attorney Denise Willet, who will lead the Santa Ana, Calif., branch of the U.S. Attorney’s office.
-Assistant U.S. Attorney Tim Searight, who will become a Senior Litigation Counsel and serve as an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force attorney.
-Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, the acting Chief of the National Security Section, will become the permanent Chief.
-Assistant U.S. Attorney Beong-Soo Kim, the acting Chief of the Major Frauds Section, will become the permanent Chief.
-Assistant U.S. Attorney Conseulo Woodhead, an acting Deputy Chief in the Major Frauds Section, will become a permanent Deputy Chief.