The Senate confirmed John S. Leonardo, a former state superior court judge, to the Arizona U.S. Attorney position on Friday.
President Barack Obama nominated Leonardo to the position in March. The position has been vacant since former Arizona U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke resigned last summer amid controversy over Fast and Furious, the botched gun-walking operation.
Sens. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) offered their support to Leonardo, a former Superior Court judge.
“We are pleased that the Senate confirmed Judge John Leonardo to serve as U.S. Attorney,” they said in a news release. “Judge Leonardo’s decade of experience on the bench and previous work in the U.S. Attorney’s office will be strong assets as he continues his public service in this new, challenging role.”
In 2010 Leonardo dismissed an indictment against Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox, ruling it had been brought in a retaliatory manner. Wilcox was an outspoken critic of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who has made headlines recently after raising over $1 million dollars in his relection bid in the face of a federal lawsuit.
Leonardo served as a Judge in Arizona’s Superior Court from 1993 until earlier this year. Before taking the bench he was an Arizona assistant U.S. Attorney from 1982 to 1993. He was an assistant U.S. Attorney in Indiana’s Northern District from 1973 to 1982. He worked as Assistant State’s Attorney for Prince George’s County, Maryland from 1972 to 1973.
Leonardo graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1969 and from the George Washington School of Law in 1972.