Posts Tagged ‘Middle District of Louisiana’
Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

The Justice Department tasked a contingent of agents and prosecutors in Louisiana six years ago with rooting out corrupt politicians in the state capital. But the Baton Rouge-based U.S. Attorney’s office has racked up relatively few public corruption prosecutions in the last few years, according to the Baton Rouge Business Report. Instead, they have appeared to focus their attention on cases that are easier to win, the news website reported.

Former Middle District U.S. Attorney David R. Dugas (McGlinchey)

The Middle District of Louisiana U.S. Attorney’s office initiated 50 public corruption prosecutions in the last five years. In comparison, the Eastern District of Louisiana U.S. Attorney’s office in New Orleans brought 165 cases during the same period.

Glen Petersen, a former Middle District Assistant U.S. Attorney, said federal prosecutors in Baton Rouge seem to focus on drug and gun crimes, instead of corruption cases. Lawyers told the website that drug and gun cases are the “low-hanging fruit” for the U.S. Attorney’s office.

“With the exception of a couple of cases literally in the past month or so, I haven’t really seen many cases one would consider white-collar or public-corruption cases,” Petersen said.  “I was aware this unit had been put into place, but I certainly was not aware of any cases that had come about as a result. I don’t know what the reason is, but I doubt that one of the reasons is because of a lack of public corruption in this area.”

U.S. Attorney Don Cazayoux (Gov)

U.S. Attorney Don Cazayoux, who was confirmed to the post a few months ago, said prosecuting corrupt government officials is a top priority of the Baton Rouge office. The Middle District of Louisiana is “a very active district when it comes to prosecuting white-collar crimes or public corruption,” he said.

“When I took over this office, there were a variety of cases in the pipeline that are now coming to light,” Cazayoux told the Business Report. “My predecessor made public corruption a high priority, and my office is full of very dedicated men and women who have carried out that priority in a very diligent way. I will continue to make public corruption a high priority.”

This post has been updated since it was first published.

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

The Senate confirmed four more of President Barack Obama’s U.S. Attorney nominees by voice vote Tuesday morning.

They are:

Donald J. Cazayoux (Gov)

- Donald J. Cazayoux (Middle District of Louisiana): The former U.S. House member will replace George W. Bush holdover David R. Dugas, who has served as U.S. Attorney since 2001. Read more about Cazayoux here.

- James A. Lewis (Central District of Illinois): The Central District of Illinois Assistant U.S. Attorney will succeed Rodger A. Heaton, who stepped down as U.S. Attorney last August. Read more about Lewis here.

- Thomas Delahanty II (Maine): The Maine Superior Court justice will replace Paula Silsby, who has led the Portland, Maine-based U.S. Attorney’s office since 2001. Delahanty previously served as U.S. attorney from 1980 to 1981. Read more about him here.

- Wendy J. Olson (Idaho): The Senior Litigation Counsel has worked in the Boise, Idaho-based U.S. Attorney’s office since 1997. Olson previously served at Justice Department headquarters in the Civil Rights Division as a trial attorney from 1992 to 1996 and Deputy Director of Operations and Assistant to the Director on the National Church Arson Task Force from 1996 to 1997. She will succeed Thomas Moss, who has served as Idaho U.S. Attorney since 2001. Read more about her here.

Senate has now confirmed 55 of Obama’s U.S. Attorney nominees.

The chamber has yet to consider another 15 U.S. Attorney nominees who are waiting for votes in the Senate Judiciary Committee. The Senate also has yet to vote on two U.S. Attorney nominees who were approved by the panel Thursday.

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

The Senate confirmed by a 96-0 vote Tuesday a former Middle District of Louisiana interim U.S. Attorney for a seat on the district’s federal court.

Brian Jackson (Liskow & Lewis)

Brian Jackson, who led the Baton Rouge, La.-based U.S. Attorney’s office in 2001, fills the vacancy on the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana left by Judge Frank Polozola, who took senior status in 2007.

The former prosecutor served in the U.S. Attorney’s office from 1994 to 2002. He also was an Associate Deputy Attorney General from 1998 to 1999 and an Assistant Director at the Executive Office for United States Attorneys from 1992 to 1994.

He previously served an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of Louisiana from 1988 to 1992.

Jackson is currently a shareholder at the law firm of Liskow & Lewis APLC in New Orleans.

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Thursday, June 10th, 2010

The Senate Judiciary Committee endorsed by voice vote four more of President Barack Obama’s U.S. Attorney nominees at its meeting Thursday.

They are:

Donald J. Cazayoux (Gov)

- Donald J. Cazayoux (Middle District of Louisiana): The former U.S. House member would replace George W. Bush holdover David R. Dugas, who has served as U.S. Attorney since 2001. Read more about Cazayoux here.

- James A. Lewis (Central District of Illinois): The Central District of Illinois Assistant U.S. Attorney would succeed Rodger A. Heaton, who stepped down as U.S. Attorney last August. The district’s current acting U.S. Attorney is Jeffrey B. Lang. Read more about Lewis here.

- Thomas Delahanty II (Maine): The Maine Superior Court justice would replace Paula Silsby, who has led the Portland, Maine-based U.S. Attorney’s office since 2001. Delahanty previously served as U.S. attorney from 1980 to 1981. Read more about him here.

- Wendy J. Olson (Idaho): The Senior Litigation Counsel has worked in the Boise, Idaho-based U.S. Attorney’s office since 1997. Olson previously served at Justice Department headquarters in the Civil Rights Division as a trial attorney from 1992 to 1996 and Deputy Director of Operations and Assistant to the Director on the National Church Arson Task Force from 1996 to 1997. She would succeed Thomas Moss, who has served as Idaho U.S. Attorney since 2001. Read more about her here.

The panel has now approved 55 of Obama’s U.S. Attorney nominees, 51 of whom have won Senate confirmation. The committee has yet to schedule votes for another 17 would-be U.S. Attorneys.

Monday, June 7th, 2010

The Senate Judiciary Committee is slated to consider two more of President Barack Obama’s U.S. Attorney nominees at its meeting on Thursday.

They are:

Donald J. Cazayoux (Gov)

- Donald J. Cazayoux (Middle District of Louisiana): The former U.S. House member would replace George W. Bush holdover David R. Dugas, who has served as U.S. Attorney since 2001. Read more about Cazayoux here.

- James A. Lewis (Central District of Illinois): The Central District of Illinois Assistant U.S. Attorney would succeed Rodger A. Heaton, who stepped down as U.S. Attorney last August. The district’s current acting U.S. Attorney is Jeffrey B. Lang. Read more about Lewis here.

The panel will also vote on U.S. Attorney nominees Thomas Delahanty II for Maine and Wendy J. Olson for Idaho at its Thursday meeting.

The committee has yet to schedule votes for another 16 would-be U.S. Attorneys. The panel has approved 51 of Obama’s U.S. Attorney nominees, all of whom have won Senate confirmation.

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

Don Cazayoux (Gov)

Donald J. Cazayoux (Louisiana State University, Georgetown University Law Center) is nominated to be U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Louisiana. He would replace Bush holdover David R. Dugas, who became the district’s head prosecutor in 2001. Dugas announced on Wednesday he would resign, effective April 24 to join a private law firm.

His vitals:

  • Born in Baton Rouge, La., in 1964.
  • Earned a master’s degree from Louisiana State University in August 1993.
  • Attended but did not earn a degree from Louisiana State University Law Center.
  • Has been an assistant district attorney in Plaquemine, La., since 2009.
  • Has been a mediator with Perry Dampf Dispute Solutions in Baton Rouge since 2009.
  • Has had his own private law firm in New Roads, La., since 2009.
  • Has worked at the Jewell and Jewell in New Roads since 2009. Also worked for the firm in 2008.
  • Was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Louisiana’s 6th District in 2008-2009.
  • Was a member of the Louisiana House of Representatives from 2000 to 2008.
  • Was a board member for the Catholic of Pointe Coupee in New Roads from 1996 to 1999.
  • Was the director of Ambel Corporation in Cottonport, La., from 1993 to 2006.
  • Has been the president of the New Roads Lions Club in New Roads since 1996.
  • Was a law clerk and associate at Chaffe, McCall, Phillips, Toler & Sarpy in Baton Rouge from 1991 to 1994.
  • Clerked for Kean Miller Hawthorne D’Armond McCowan & Jarman LLP in Baton Rouge in 1990.
  • Clerked for Taylor, Porter, Brooks & Phillips in Baton Rouge in 1990.
  • Clerked for Rust, Rust & Silver in Fairfax, Va., from 1989 to 1990.
  • Clerked for Mathews, Atkinson, Guglielmo, Marks & Day in Baton Rouge in 1989.
  • Was a teaching and research assistant at Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge from 1986 to 1988.
  • Worked as a psychology technician at CPC Meadow Wood in Baton Rouge in 1986.
  • Estimates that he has tried at least 75 cases to verdict. Acted as sole counsel in about 10 of those cases, chief counsel in approximately 50 of those cases and associate counsel in approximately 15 cases.

Click here for his full Senate Judiciary Committee questionnaire.

UPDATE: On his Senate Judiciary financial disclosure Cazayoux reported assets valued at $825,700, mostly from real estate and securities, and $43,000 in liabilities for a net worth of $782,700.

Monday, April 26th, 2010

James Stanley Lemelle (DOJ)

Attorney General Eric Holder has appointed James Stanley “Stan” Lemelle the new interim U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Louisiana, effective Sunday.

A Louisiana television station reported the news Monday afternoon.

David R. Dugas served as the district’s head prosecutor from 2001 until last week when he resigned to enter private practice in Baton Rouge.

“I have been an Assistant United States Attorney for the Middle District for 31 years,” Lemelle said in a news release. “For the past 16 years, I’ve served as criminal chief and supervised the office’s criminal division.”

“I am honored by the Attorney General’s appointment and look forward to continuing my work with the fine professionals of this office and with our outstanding law enforcement community,” Lemelle added.

President Barack Obama nominated Don Cazayoux, a former member of the U.S. House, earlier this month.

http://www.wafb.com/Global/story.asp?S=12375739
Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

The White House announced seven new U.S. Attorney nominations Wednesday night.

They are:

Don Cazayoux (Gov)

– Don Cazayoux (Middle District of Louisiana): The former U.S. House member would replace Bush holdover David R. Dugas, who has served as U.S. Attorney since 2001. Read more about him here.

Pamela C. Marsh (Akerman Senterfitt)

– Pamela C. Marsh (Northern District of Florida): An of counsel for Akerman Senterfit and former Assistant U.S. Attorney, Marsh would succeed George Miller, who stepped down as U.S. Attorney in 2008. Read more about her here.

Zane D. Memeger (Morgan Lewis)

– Zane D. Memeger (Eastern District of Pennsylvania): The partner at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP and former Assistant U.S. Attorney would succeed Pat Meehan, who resigned as U.S. Attorney in 2008. Read more about Memeger here.

– Peter J. Smith (Middle District of Pennsylvania): The former deputy state treasurer for the Pennsylvania Treasury Department and former Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania would succeed Martin C. Carlson, who resigned as U.S. Attorney last year. Read more about Smith here.

Edward L. Stanton III (Western District of Tennessee): The senior counsel for Federal Express would succeed David Kustoff, who stepped down as U.S. Attorney in 2008. Read more about Stanton here.

John Walsh (Hill & Robbins)

John F. Walsh (Colorado): The partner at Hill & Robbins PC would succeed Troy Eid, who resigned as U.S. Attorney last year. Read more about Walsh here.

Stephanie Villafuerte, the deputy chief of staff to Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter (D) for community outreach, was Obama’s first nominee for the Colorado post, but she withdrew her nomination after coming under fire for reportedly asking employees of the Denver district attorney’s office to access a restricted government database in connection with the 2006 gubernatorial campaign.

Stephen Wigginton (Weilmuenster & Wigginton)

– Stephen R. Wigginton (Southern District of Illinois): The Assistant State’s Attorney in Madison County, Ill., and partner at Weilmuenster & Wigginton PC would replace Bush holdover U.S. Attorney A. Courtney Cox. Read more about Wigginton here.

Obama has now made 67 U.S. Attorney nominations, 36 of whom have already won Senate confirmation.

On Wednesday, Attorney General Eric Holder called on panel members to move “more expeditiously” on U.S. Attorney nominees. He said the number of would-be U.S. Attorneys stalled in the Senate is “unusual.”

Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, the committee’s ranking Republican, responded Wednesday that the panel shouldn’t be faulted for failing to get more U.S. Attorneys through the Senate. He said there is a “lack of nominations” coming out of the White House.

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

FBI Special Agent Philip Halbert Neilson was indicted by a federal grand jury Thursday in Oxford, Miss., with failing to disclose his financial interests and making false statements to a federal agency and agent, a DOJ news release said.

United States Attorney for the Middle District of Louisiana David R. Dugas announced the five-count indictment, which alleges that Neilson, age 49, took an active role in the construction and lease of the Oxford, Miss., FBI Building, but failed to disclose he had a personal financial interest in the building. The indictment also alleges that Neilson knowingly filed a false disclosure to the FBI of his assets and income, among other things.

If convicted, Neilson faces up to twenty-five years in prison and a $1.5 million fine.

The case was investigated by Special Agent Susan Howell of DOJ’s Office of the Inspector General, and Assistant United States Attorneys René Salomon and Rich Bourgeois of the Middle District of Louisiana.

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) recommended that President Obama nominate former Rep. Don Cazayoux (D-La.) as the next U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Louisiana, the senator said in a statement released today.

Don Cazayoux (U.S. House of Representatives)

Don Cazayoux (U.S. House of Representatives)

Cazayoux took his seat in the House on May 2008 after a special election, but did not win reelection. He has also served as a prosecutor and Louisiana state representative.

“It would be a privilege to serve the people of the Baton Rouge area, the state and country through the Justice Department’s critical role in fighting crime and securing justice,” Cazayoux said in the statement.

We previously reported that Landrieu has already said she wants Jim Letten to stay on as the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana. She has not announced who she will recommend to be the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana.