Mary Patrice Brown, the acting head of the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility, will move to the Criminal Division next month, Blog of Legal Times reported Tuesday.
Brown will replace Jack Keeney, a Deputy Assistant Attorney General who retired last month after 59 years with the department.
The position involves oversight of the Office of Enforcement Operations, the unit that evaluates and approves the department’s use of surveillance tools, and the Public Integrity Section, which handles high-profile public corruption prosecutions. The job also has policy and legislative dimensions.
A new head for OPR has not yet been named, according to BLT.
Brown has served as acting head of OPR, the Justice Department’s internal disciplinarian, since April 2009. She is the person to head the office, which was created in 1975.
Before taking over the office, she spent 20 years in the U.S. Atttorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, rising to head the office’s Criminal Division.
In an interview with Main Justice in August, Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division Lanny Breuer said it was “probably impossible” to replace Keeney.
“The goal will be to reach out to find a person of gravitas and a person of great judgment, a person who is a great patriot,” Breuer said. “They’re not going to replicate Mr. Keeney. But they will be at the right time in their lives and have the right skill set to carry forth what he did.”
Earlier this year, Brown was under consideration for a federal judgeship. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton recommended Brown and two other candidates to fill a seat on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. President Barack Obama ultimately selected another candidate for that position.