Posts Tagged ‘Ron Machen’
Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

U.S. Attorney Ron Machen of the District of Columbia formally swore in nearly three dozen of his Assistant U.S. Attorneys on Tuesday in the ceremonial courtroom of the E. Barrett Prettyman Federal Courthouse.

The 34 Assistant U.S. Attorneys sworn in during the ceremonial investiture took office between December 2009 and January 2011. Many of the lawyers are a few years out of law school and held judicial clerkships or jobs at law firms or state prosecutors’ offices before joining the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Machen told the scores of Assistant U.S. Attorneys and their families and friends gathered that he was proud of the new Assistant U.S. Attorneys, including Principal Assistant U.S. Attorney Vincent H. Cohen Jr., Executive Assistant U.S. Attorney for External Affairs Wendy Pohlhaus and Matthew Jones, who is Machen’s Counsel. [Article continues below]

D.C. U.S. Attorney Ron Machen administers the oath of office to 33 new Assistant U.S. Attorneys. (photo by Andrew Ramonas / Main Justice)

Machen, who was a D.C. prosecutor from 1997 to 2001, said the Assistant U.S. Attorneys are set to make their own mark on an office with a storied past that includes Attorney General Eric Holder, who served as U.S. Attorney from 1993 to 1997.

But he said their jobs won’t be easy and will include many long nights. ”I will be clear: Many of these folks will work harder than they have ever worked before,” Machen said.

Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer of the Criminal Division, who was there to see family friend Philip Selden sworn in, told the new Assistant U.S. Attorneys that they have a great profession. He told them to “milk it for all you can.”

“You are all incredibly lucky,” Breuer said. “This is an extraordinary office.”

The new Assistant U.S. Attorneys, with biographical information provided by DOJ, are:

  • Damian Ahn — Demian graduated cum laude from the University of Michigan Law School in 2003. During law school, Demian was an associate editor and a contributing editor for the Michigan Law Review and a quarterfinalist in the 2002 Henry M. Campbell Moot Court Competition. Following law school, Demian clerked for the Honorable Frederick J. Martone of the United States District Court for the District Court of Arizona. Thereafter, Demian joined Wilmer, Cutler, Pickering Hall & Dorr LLP in D.C. and was named Counsel at the firm in 2010. In September 2010, Demian started with our Office and was assigned to the Misdemeanor Unit of the General Crimes Section, where he continues to practice.
  • Kendra Briggs Kendra graduated cum laude from the University of Miami School of Law in 2002, where she sat on the Moot Court Board. After law school, Kendra served as Assistant General Counsel to the Florida Department of Transportation and then worked on product liability litigation at Shook, Hardy & Bacon, LLP in D.C. In November, Kendra joined our Office. She has been assigned to the Misdemeanor Unit of the General Crimes Section since her arrival.
  • Michelle Brown — Michelle graduated magna cum laude form Cornell Law School in 2004. There, Michelle was elected to the Order of the Coif and was the managing editor of the Cornell Law Review. Following graduation, Michelle clerked for the Honorable Julia Smith Gibbons of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. After a stint with Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP, Michelle clerked for Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. She then moved to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. In January 2011, Michelle relocated from New York and joined our Office. She currently serves in the Appellate Division.
  • Natalia Burnett — Natalia graduated cum laude from University of Florida Levin College of Law in 2006. While in law school, Natalia was awarded membership in the National Order of Barristers for Excellence in Moot Court and Appellate Advocacy. After law school, Natalia worked as an associate at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, LLP in Miami before joining our Office in November. Since then, Natalia has been assigned to the Misdemeanor Unit of the General Crimes Section.
  • Nicholas Cannon — In 2006, Nick graduated from the University of Richmond School of Law, where he was a
    member of the Moot Court Board. During the summers of his law school years, Nick interned with our Office. He worked in the Homicide Section in 2005 and the Appellate Division in 2006. After law school, Nick spent two years working at law firms both in the Washington, D.C. area and in Falls Church, Virginia. In 2010, Nick began serving in our Office in the Misdemeanor Unit of the General Crimes Section. Since that time, Nick has rotated to the Felony Unit of the General Crimes Section, where he prosecutes felony gun and drug cases.
  • Kevin Chambers — Kevin received his Juris Doctor degree from Yale Law School in 2004. While in law school,
    Kevin served as a class representative and as a board member for the Moot Court Competition among his many activities. Following law school, Kevin joined Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr as an associate. In 2006, Kevin began a one-year clerkship with Judge Harry Edwards of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Thereafter, Kevin returned to Wilmer Hale, where he remained until he joined our Office in August 2010. Since then, Kevin has practiced in our Appellate Division.
  • Vincent H. Cohen Jr. — Vincent H. Cohen Jr. returns to an office where he served with distinction from 1997 to 2003. As an Assistant U.S. Attorney, he conducted grand jury investigations and obtained indictments for cases involving bribery and gratuities, embezzlement, false claims, theft of government property and Worker’s Compensation fraud. He also prosecuted cases involving homicides, carjackings and other violent crimes. On the civil side, Cohen defended the United States against allegations of employment discrimination, suits under the Federal Torts Claims Act, and challenges to agency actions. He received numerous awards for his outstanding efforts, including honors from the Attorney General of the United States as well as from the Offices of Inspector General of the Department of State and the Smithsonian Institution. Cohen most recently was a partner at the law firm of Schertler & Onorato LLP, where his practice included representation of individuals and corporations in all aspects of criminal and civil litigation in state and federal courts. He handled cases involving public corruption, bank fraud, bribery, internal corporate investigations, government fraud, antitrust, health care fraud, securities fraud, congressional inquiries and homicide. His civil experience included representation of both plaintiffs and defendants in the areas of products liability, employment discrimination, premises liability and personal injury.
  • Laura Coates — Laura graduated cum laude from the University of Minnesota Law school in 2005. In law school, Laura served as a team member and the student director for the National Appellate Advocacy Competition. Following law school, Laura practiced at law firms in Minnesota and New York before relocating to Washington, D.C. and joining the Voting Rights Section of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division. In January 2011, Laura started her tenure with our Office. She currently practices in our Appellate Division.
  • Jeffrey Cook — Jeff graduated magna cum laude from Pepperdine University of Law in 2006. While in law
    school, Jeff was a member of the law review and was elected to the Order of the Coif. After law school, Jeff joined the law firm of O’Melveny & Myers LLP in D.C. and then clerked for Judge Ricardo Urbina of the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia. Thereafter, Jeff served as the legal program coordinator of the International Justice Mission for a year and was based in Cambodia. In August 2010, Jeff joined our Office and was assigned to the Misdemeanor Unit of the Sex Offense and Domestic Violence Section. Currently, Jeff handles a specialized caseload of sexual abuse and child physical abuse matters in that Section.
  • Benjamin Eisman — In 2003, Ben graduated cum laude from the University of Michigan Law School. During law school, Ben worked as a summer intern in the Criminal Division of our Office. In the fall semester of his last year of law school, Ben was an extern at a criminal legal clinic in Johannesburg, South Africa. After law school, Ben worked for a couple of law firms, clerked for Judge William Q. Hayes of the United States District Court for the Southern District of California, and taught international human rights courses at Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia. In December 2009, Ben joined our Office. Since then, he has rotated through the Misdemeanor Unit of the General Crimes Section and the Appellate Division. He now serves in the Felony Unit of the General Crimes Section.
  • James Ewing — James is a 2002 graduate of the College of William and Mary School of Law, where he worked as the Articles Editor for the William and Mary Law Review. In September of 2002, James joined the U.S. Army Juge Advocate General’s Corps. He spent time serving as chief Army prosecutor for all U.S. Army personnel in Europe stationed South of the Alps. He represented individual military members in military courts in Italy, Germany and the United States. He also served as lead liaison between U.S. forces and the South Korean justice system. In July 2010, James joined our Office and began the rotation in the Misdemeanor Unit of the General Crimes Section. He now serves in the Felony Unit of the General Crimes Section.
  • Michael Friedman — Michael is a 2004 graduate of Yale Law School. During law school, he was a finalist in the
    Morris Tyler Moot Court of Appeals. Following law school, he joined the Department of Justice’s Civil Division as a trial attorney in the honors program. After fours year, Michael moved to the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland where he worked on civil matters. In March 2010, Michael started in our Office and was assigned to the Appellate Division. He has since rotated to the Misdemeanor Unit of the Sex Offense and Domestic Violence Section, where he handles a specialized caseload of sexual abuse and child physical abuse matters.
  • John Fucetola — John graduated with honors from George Washington University Law School in 2006. While in law school, he served as a student attorney in our Sex Offense and Domestic Violence Section. After law school, John clerked for Judge Craig Iscoe of D.C. Superior Court. For the three years thereafter, he served as an Assistant State’s Attorney in Prince George’s County. In December, John joined the Office and was assigned to the Appellate Division, where he is currently serving.
  • Javier Guzman — Javier graduated cum laude from Tulane Law School in 1991. He was elected to the Order of the Coif and was a member of the Moot Court Board among his many law school activities. Upon graduating, he joined Crowell & Moring LLP in D.C. From there, he moved to the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division. In 2006, Javier relocated to Florida and began his tenure with the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida, Civil Division. Last year, Javier returned to the D.C. area and started with our Office in the Civil Division.
  • Andrea Hertzfeld — Andrea graduated from Harvard Law School in 2004. While in law school, she served as a law clerk for the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts. Since law school, Andrea has worked in several law firms prosecuting complex class actions on behalf of plaintiffs. Most recently, she worked an associate at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP in Los Angeles. In December, Andrea relocated to D.C. and joined the Office. She was assigned to the Appellate Division, where she continues to practice.
  • Travis Hill — Travis is a 2005 graduate of the Washington University School of Law. While in law school, Travis spent a semester at the St. Louis County Public Defender’s Office in Clayton, Missouri. He also worked at the City of St. Louis Law Department. In 2006, Travis joined the Queens County District Attorney’s Office in Queens, New York where he remained until he started with our Office in January 2011. Travis is currently serving in our Appellate Division.
  • Matthew Jones — Matt graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School in 2005. There, he was the notes editor for the Harvard Law Review and a teaching assistant for contracts among his many school activities. Following law school, Matt clerked for the Honorable W. Rogers of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and then joined Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr in D.C. In May 2010, Matt began his tenure in our Office. He currently serves as Special Counsel to the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia.
  • Anton Jongeneel — Anton is a 2007 graduate of Columbia University Law School. In law school, he was a Harlan Fisk Stone Scholar and a member of the executive board of the Columbia Law School Student Senate. Following law school, Anton spent the summer serving as a consultant with the United States Marine Corps, Foreign Training Unit at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. He then joined the Los Angeles Office of O’Melveny & Myers LLP. In January 2010, Anton relocated to Washington D.C. and began his tenure with our Office. Initially, he was assigned to the Misdemeanor Unit of the Sex Offense and Domestic Violence Section and spent time there
    handling a specialized caseload of sexual abuse and child physical abuse matters. Currently, Anton serves in the Felony Unit of the General Crimes Section.
  • Jonathan Kravis — Jonathan is a 2004 graduate of Yale Law School. In law school, he served as the articles editor for the Yale Law Journal in his third year (2003-04) and the editor of the Yale Law Journal in his second year (2002-03) among his many activities. Subsequently, Jonathan clerked for Judge Merrick Garland of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and then went on to a clerkship with Justice Stephen Breyer of the U.S. Supreme Court. After clerking, Jonathan joined Williams & Connolly LLP, where he remained until he joined our Office in November 2008 and began working in the Misdemeanor Unit of the Sex Offense and Domestic Violence Section. In 2009, Jonathan left to work in the White House. He returned to our Office in August, 2010 and resumed his work in the Sex Offense and Domestic Violence Section. He is currently serving in the Felony Unit of the General Crimes Section.
  • Peter Lallas — Peter graduated from New York University School of Law in 2004. There, he was a finalist in
    the Marden Moot Court Competition and participated in the federal defender clinic. After law school, Peter joined Hogan & Hartson in D.C. While at Hogan, Peter also taught as an adjunct professor of law at American University, Washington College of Law in the fall 2007. In July 2010, Peter joined our Office and was assigned to the Misdemeanor Unit of the General Crimes Section. Peter has since moved to the Felony Unit of General Crimes Section, where he is currently serving.
  • Brandon Long — Brandon graduated cum laude from Duke University School of Law in 2005. After law school,
    he worked as an associate at King & Spalding here in Washington, where he specialized in corporate investigations and white-collar criminal litigation and represented indigent defendants in pro bono matters. In December, Brandon joined the Office and was assigned to the Appellate Division, where he is currently practicing.
  • Adrienne Moran — Adrienne graduated in the top 15% of her class from Howard University School of Law in 2008. Before law school, Adrienne attended the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, where she received a master’s degree. After law school, Adrienne worked as an associate at Alston & Bird, LLP in New York City. In December 2010, Adrienne joined our Office and was assigned to the Misdemeanor Unit of the Sex Offense and Domestic Violence Section, where she is currently practicing.
  • Clayton H. O’Connor — Clayton graduated cum laude from the Columbus School of Law at the Catholic University of America in 2005. He clerked for Judge H.F. Gierke on the Court of Appeals for the Armed
    Forces while in law school. After graduation, Clayton joined the U.S. Air Force Judge Advocate General’s Corps. He served as a trial counsel and defense counsel and was stationed in Okinawa, Japan. His last military assignment was as Senior Trial Counsel at Langley Air Force Base. In January 2011, Clayton joined our Office and was assigned to the Misdemeanor Unit of the Sex Offense and Domestic Violence Section, where he continues to practice.
  • Kenechukwu Okocha — Kene graduated from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 2007. While in law school, he served as Executive Director of the Black Law Students Association and interned for a summer with the Dane County District Attorney’s Office in Madison, Wisconsin. In 2008, Kene joined the Dane County District Attorney’s Office as an Assistant District Attorney, where he worked for the last two years prior to joining our Office in January 2011. Kene is currently practicing in our Appellate Division.
  • Allen O’Rourke — Allen graduated from Harvard Law School in 2008. Following law school, he clerked for Judge Anita Brody in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and then for Judge Allyson Duncan on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Raleigh, North Carolina. In January 2011, Allen joined our Office and was assigned to the Misdemeanor Unit of the General Crimes Section, where he is currently practicing.
  • James Petkun — James graduated magna cum laude from Villanova University School of Law in 2007. In law
    school, James was managing editor of Villanova Law Review and was elected to the Order of the Coif. Thereafter, James joined the law firm of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP in Philadelphia. In 2009, he served as a clerk for Judge Michael M. Baylson of the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. In September 2010, James joined our Office and was assigned to the Misdemeanor Unit of the General Crimes Section, where he currently practices.
  • Wendy Pohlhaus — Wendy was awarded her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Miami School of Law in 1990. Following law school, Wendy worked in the Dade County Public Defender’s Office for a few years before joining the Federal Public Defender’s Office in Miami, Florida. In 1998, Wendy joined the Department of Justice as a trial attorney with the Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section and did a detail with our Office. In 2003, Wendy began her appointment as an Assistant United States Attorney in our Office and served with distinction in various sections in the Office, including the Felony Trial Section, the Felony Major Crimes Section, the Community Prosecution/Grand Jury Section and the Federal Major Crimes Section. In 2009, Wendy left the
    Office for another stint at the Department of Justice’s Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section. But fortunately for us, Wendy returned to the Office in March 2010. She is currently serving as the Executive Assistant United States Attorney for External Affairs.
  • Clare Pozos — Clare graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 2007. While in law school, she interned with the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Following law school, Clare clerked for Judge Michael Baylson in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. For the last three years prior to joining our Office, Clare worked as an associate at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, LLP here in Washington, where her practice focused on lobbying, ethics, and campaign finance laws. In November, 2010, Clare joined the Office and was assigned to the Misdemeanor Unit of the General Crimes Section, where she continues to practice.
  • Addy Schmidt — Addy graduated summa cum laude from American University Washington College of Law in
    2003. After law school, Addy joined the law firm of Dickstein Shapiro LLP, where she worked until she began a clerkship with Judge Emmet G. Sullivan of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Thereafter, she returned to Dickstein Shapiro. In 2007, Addy became Judge Sullivan’s career law clerk and counsel, a position she held until joining our Office in January 2010. Addy is assigned to our Civil Division.
  • John Benjamin Schrader — Ben earned his Juris Doctor degree from Vanderbilt University Law School in 2009. Among his many law school activities, Ben was the Notes Development Editor for the Vanderbilt Law
    Review in his third year. While in law school, Ben was a summer intern in the Grand Jury Section of our Office. Following law school, Ben clerked for Judge Thomas A. Varlan of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee. Ben joined our Office in October 2010 and has been assigned to our Appellate Division since his start date.
  • Philip Selden — Phil received his Juris Doctor degree from the Columbia University School of Law in 2007.
    Among his many accomplishments in law school, he was named a Harlan Fisk Stone Scholar. He also worked a semester at the New York County District Attorney’s Office. After law school, Phil joined the law firm of Arnold & Porter LLP. While there, Phil served as a volunteer firefighter. In March 2010, Phil joined our Office and was assigned to the Appellate Division. Since then, he has rotated into the Misdemeanor Unit of the Sex Offense and Domestic Violence Section.
  • Jennifer Short — Jennifer graduated from University of Virginia School of Law in 1995. She was editor in chief
    of the Journal of Law & Politics in her third year. Following graduation, Jennifer clerked for United States District Court Judge James C. Turke in the Western District of Virginia. After her clerkship, Jennifer worked at Wiley, Rein & Felding in Washington, D.C. She then joined Holland & Knight, LLP as an associate and became a partner at the firm in 2003. In October 2010, Jennifer joined our Office and began working in our Civil Division.
  • Michael Spence — Michael graduated from New York University School of Law in 2003. While in law school, he worked in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. After graduation, Michael clerked for Judge Kessler on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. He then worked as an associate at Arnold & Porter LLP and as a Counsel at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr, LLP, both here in Washington. Michael joined our Office in December 2010. He has served in the Misdemeanor Unit of the General Crimes Section since his arrival.
  • Eric Zwicker — Eric graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School in 2006. After law school, Eric served as
    Assistant Attorney General in Connecticut and founded an organization dedicated to bringing investment services to low-income Americans. Most recently, Eric worked as an associate at Wiggin & Dana LLP in New Haven, Connecticut, where his practice focused on government investigations and white-collar criminal litigation. Eric joined the Office in November 2010 and was assigned to the Misdemeanor Unit of the General Crimes Section, where he continues to serve.

This story has been corrected to reflect that 34 Assistant U.S. Attorneys, not 33, were sworn in and not all Assistant U.S. Attorneys are prosecutors.

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

Vincent H. Cohen Jr., a former federal prosecutor who moved to private practice in 2003, has rejoined the D.C. U.S. Attorney’s office as Principal Assistant U.S. Attorney, U.S. Attorney Ron Machen announced Monday.

Vincent Cohen (Schertler & Onorato)

Cohen, most recently a partner at the law firm of Schertler & Onorato LLP, previously served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in D.C. from 1997 to 2003.

“Vince Cohen is an extremely talented attorney who has the unique ability to assess a case from all the different angles,” Machen said in a statement. “He understands the gravity of the decisions we make and how they affect the lives of the residents of this city and he is committed to strengthening the bond between our office and the community. He will be a tremendous asset for the District of Columbia.”

Cohen replaces Channing Phillips, who served as Principal Assistant U.S. Attorney from 2004 through 2009. Phillips left the U.S. Attorney’s office in May to take a newly created position at Justice Department headquarters as Deputy Associate Attorney General for Diversity.

The 39-year-old Cohen, who attended Syracuse University for both undergrad and law school, was recently named one of the “Nation’s Best Advocates: 40 Lawyers Under 40″ by the National Bar Association.

Monday, May 24th, 2010

U.S. Attorney Ron Machen with Heather D. Graham-Oliver, recipient of the U.S. Attorney's Award for Exceptional Performance as an AUSA (photo by Ryan J. Reilly / Main Justice).

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia held an awards ceremony on Friday in the Great Hall of the Justice Department.

“There are few jobs more difficult than serving this office. Like an offensive tackle in football, our names aren’t going to be called out publicly unless something goes horribly wrong,” said U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen. “I want to say thank you and I want to tell you I appreciate everything you’ve done.”

The program is embedded and a list of the award recipients is reprinted below.

USADC

Administrative Division 2010 Award Recipients
Stephanie L. Bragg Lee
Nikiya S. Burnette
Joseph R. Calvarese
Karen T. Kress
Ann B. Lawrence
Annette D. Ortega
Florence L. Pensmith
Donna M. Proctor
Kimberly L. Rich
Michael Vasquez
Cereese A. Wills

Appellate Division 2010 Award Recipients

Michael T. Ambrosino*
Victoria L. Ashton
Timothy W. Barry
Lauren R. Bates
Leslie Ann Gerardo
Jonathan P. Hooks*
James R. Mazzitelli**
Timothy D. Parsons
James M. Perez
Stratton C. Strand
Reagan M. Taylor*
Marc D. Thompson

Civil Division 2010 Award Recipients

Marian L. Borum
Marina U. Braswell
Alan R. Burch
Patricia A. Gilbert
Brenda 1. Jones
Theresa D. Jones
Pamela F. Lawson
Jane M. Lyons
Robin M. Meriweather
William M. Nebeker
Timothy A. Rice
Reginald D. Rowan
Beverly M. Russell
Darrell C. Valdez

Criminal Division 2010 Award Recipients

Donice S. Adams
Jacqueline K. Akyea
Candace L. Battle
Keith A. Becker
Crystal F. Boodoo
Fernando Campoamor-Sanchez*
Matthew P. Cohen
Jeannette T. Fennell
Matthew M. Graves*
Gilberto Guerrero
Tasha L. Harris
G. Michael Harvey
Diane K. Hayes
Bruce R. Hegyi
David B. Kent*
Kenneth C. Kohl
ArvindK. Lal
Rachel C. Lieber
Emily A. Miller
Valencia E. Philyaw
CassidyK. Pinegar*
John C. Russell
BryanG. Seeley*
Sheree S. Smith

Front Office Staff 2010 Award Recipients
Bridget N. Harris
Katherine L. Kelly-Howard
Shawn M. Maguire
Shelia M. Miller
Abby J. Stavitsky
Monica M. Veney

Superior Court Division Felony Major Crimes Section 2010 Award Recipients
Joseph W. Anderson
Christopher1.Brophy
Kalisha S. Clark
Nicholas P. Coleman
Joseph P. Cooney
Darline D. Douglas
Lawrence W. Grasso
Anthony O. Griffith
Stacey S. McMillan
Shavaka N. Melvin
B. Michael Ortwein
Kendrell Smith
\Vanda V. Trice
Cynthia D. Walicki -Chan
Michael A. Worden

Superior Court Division General Crimes 2010 Award Recipients

Lavenia L. Fletcher
D’Yvonne S. Key
Nicole R. McGhee
Rochelle L. Mills
Tonya A. Queen
Katelyn M. Rowe
Lesley K. Slade

Superior Court Division Homicide Section 2010 Award Recipients

Philip S. Aronson
Kelly M. Blakeney
Alessio D. Evangelista
Todd W. Gee
Jennifer A. Kerkhoff
Sharad S. Khandelwal
Michael C. Liebman
Alesha M. Matthews Yette
Gary M. Wheeler

Superior Court Division Litigation Services Unit 2010 Award Recipient

Tierra L. Nanches

Superior Court Division Sex Offense and Domestic Violence 2010 Award Recipients

Sharon K. Donovan
Lynita N. Greene
Eugena Kay Johnson
David A. Last
Sharon I Marcus-Kurn
Cynthia D. Muhammad
Mark J. O’Brien

Special Proceedings Division 2010 Award Recipients

Sherri L. Berthrong
Barbara A. Burnett
Joan Draper
Christopher King
Michael A. Richards
James S. Sweeney

Victim / Witness Assistance Unit 2010 Award Recipients

Jennifer B. Allen
Yvonne M. Bryant
Lorraine A. Chase
Jennifer L. Clark
David A. Foster
Karen M. Giannakoulias
Melissa S. Milam
Christine O. Principe
Marcia L. Rinker
Maria O. Shumar
La June M. Thames
Meshall D. Thomas
Veronica A. Vaughan

United States Attorney’s STAR Award for Distinguished Service 2010 Award Recipient
Glenn L. Kirsclmer

United States Attorney’s Award for Exceptional Performance as an AUSA 2010 Award Recipient
Heather D. Graham-Oliver

United States Attorney’s Award for Exceptional Performance as a Support Staff Member 2010 Award Recipient
Anne P. Riopelle

United States Attorney’s Award for Creativity and Innovation 2010 Award Recipient
Nancy T. Gonzalez

United States Attorney’s Team Award for Creativity and Innovation 2010 Award Recipients
Katina A. Adams
Debra A. Cannon
LaVerne Forrest
Michael A. Hailey
Shawn K. Slade
Tanya A. Via

United States Attorney’s Award for Meritorious Service 2010 Award Recipients
Robin C. Ashton
Nathan C. Hawkins
Channing D. Phillips

United States Attorney’s Team Award 2010 Award Recipients
22nd Street Investigation
Laura R. Bach
John G. Giovannelli
Debra M. Joyner
Wanda M. Queen
Fern E. Rhedrick
Sean P. Tonolli

Monday, April 19th, 2010

Ron Machen (Ryan J. Reilly/Main Justice)

Federal prosecutors should be involved in crime prevention before crimes are committed, a young Ronald Machen, told his soon-to-be boss in the 1990s, according to a Washington Post profile of the new U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia published Monday.

When Machen first interviewed with Eric Holder for a job in the D.C. U.S. Attorney’s office that Holder then led, Machen said that federal prosecutors spent too much time working and not enough time in the community.

“He had such fully formed ideas,” Holder, now the Attorney General, told the Post of Machen. “He knew that it wasn’t enough to just show up at a crime scene, but to be there to explain what the office was about in non-stressful times. He had a vision then, and now his time has come.”

Machen’s desire for involvement and the variety of cases he has handled has contributed to Machen’s versatility, according to the Post. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), who recommended Machen for his current post said, “He has to be able to relate to the community, because you cannot deal with crime in a community if people feel estranged from the U.S. attorney here.”

Read the full profile of Machen here.

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Friday, April 2nd, 2010

D.C. U.S. Attorney Ron Machen has been on the job for only a little more than a month and he has already found himself in the middle of a brewing storm.

Ron Machen (DOJ)

Machen has been pushed into the spotlight over his office’s handling of a man who allegedly participated in a drive-by shooting Tuesday night that led to four deaths and five wounded people. The drive-by was one of the worst shootings in D.C. history.

A few days before to the shootings, D.C. police had asked the U.S. Attorney’s office to obtain a warrant for the arrest of the man, Orlando Carter, in connection with an earlier homicide. But prosecutors decided not to act on the request because they said they determined there wasn’t enough evidence at the time for a warrant. The U.S. Attorneys office for the District of Columbia prosecutes cases on behalf of the D.C. Police, as well as federal law enforcement cases.

“We can only approve arrest warrants when sufficient probable cause has been established for a particular offense after a thorough review of the evidence,” the U.S. Attorney’s office said in a statement released Thursday to the D.C. Examiner.

D.C. homicide detectives have expressed frustration with the way the U.S. Attorney’s office has handled similar incidents, according to The Washington Post. Detectives said the prosecutors’ caution was unnecessary.

“I think they expected the United States Attorney’s Office . . . to do their important legal review, but also to really take at face value what the police department has said about evidence,” D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty said in an interview with WTOP radio.

Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier said on NewsChannel 8 that she understood why the D.C. detectives spoke out and that it is common for there to be differences of opinion between prosecutors and police working on cases.

According to the D.C. Examiner, Lanier requested an emergency meeting with Machen last week and specifically asked for a warrant to arrest Carter. Prosecutors denied the request based on a lack of evidence

Norman Williams, the father of one of the murdered men, told WTOP that he believes racism played a role in the U.S. Attorney’s office decision not to request a warrant for Carter before he participated in the shooting.

Williams told the news radio station about a conversation he said he had with prosecutors at the courthouse.

“I said, ‘Are you telling me an African-American witness is less credited than a white witness?’” Williams said. “If a Caucasian lady said, ‘Hey, that guy stole my bike,’ you’re going to lock him up, not ask any questions. If a black lady says, ‘That guy stole my bike,’ you’re going to ask her a bunch of questions — ‘Where’s your receipt? Is the bike registered? Where did you get the bike? How long have you had the bike?’

“It’s black-on-black crime,” Williams said. “They’re not interested in protecting the community. If a white kid gets shot, you’d better believe it buddy, they’re going to lock the city down.”

Principal Assistant U.S. Attorney Channing Phillips told WTOP the he “strongly and emphatically denies race played a factor in how this case was handled, nor does it ever in any of our decisions.”

“Our deepest sympathies go out to all of the victims and their family members of this terrible tragedy, but they can rest assured that our decisions are color-blind, and based on only the facts and the law,” Phillips told the news radio station.

Sunday, March 14th, 2010

The U.S. Attorney’s office in Washington, D.C., is reviewing 100 cases for potentially false and inaccurate tests by FBI analysts, The Washington Post reported Sunday.

The cases date back to the mid-1970s, and the office has conducted a “preliminary review” of 78 of them, according to a report filed late Friday in D.C. Superior Court. The report stems from an internal investigation after the exoneration of Donald Gates, who was falsely imprisoned for the 1981 rape and slaying of a Georgetown University student. He was freed last December.

The review originally focused on 20 cases involving six FBI forensic analysts whose statements were called into question in a 1997 report by the department’s Office of Inspector General. In the course of the review, officials discovered an additional 100 cases on which the analysts worked.

Patricia Riley, a Special Counsel to Ronald Machen, U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, wrote that prosecutors had found no evidence of wrongful convictions, except in Gates’ case. Prosecutors have not submitted their findings in the remaining 22 cases.

“We intend to fully research the remainder of the cases to determine whether additional disclosures are required or appropriate,” Riley wrote in the report.

Sandra Levick, chief of the special litigation division for the Public Defenders Service, called the new report “troubling.”

“The government still does not know the number of people hurt by testimony from discredited FBI analysts, although it was given names beginning in 1997,” she said.

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

The Senate confirmed three U.S. Attorneys tonight by unanimous consent, according to a Senate spokesperson.

They are:

Andre Birotte Jr. (Gov)

– Andre Birotte Jr. (Central District of California): The Los Angeles Police Commission’s inspector general succeeds Thomas P. O’Brien, who stepped down as U.S. Attorney last September. Birotte was nominated on Dec. 23. Read more about him here.

Ron Machen (Wilmer Hale)

– Richard Hartunian (Northern District of New York): The interim U.S. Attorney for the district is the first presidentially appointed U.S. Attorney to lead the office since Glenn T. Suddaby resigned in 2008. Hartunian also was tapped on Dec. 23. Read more about him here.

– Ron Machen (District of Columbia): The partner at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr succeeds Jeffrey A. Taylor, who stepped down as U.S. Attorney last May. Machen was nominated on Dec. 23. Read more about him here.

The Senate has now confirmed 34 U.S. Attorneys. The Senate Judiciary Committee has yet to schedule votes another 12 would-be U.S. Attorneys.

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

Richard Shelby (Getty Images)

Republican Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama has withdrawn most of his “holds” on presidential nominees, including President Obama’s picks for key Justice Department posts.

Shelby’s office announced late last night that the senator would drop his “blanket hold” on more than 70 nominees pending on the Senate Executive Calendar. A hold is when a senator — often anonymously — lets it be known he would oppose a unanimous consent request to bring a particular bill or nomination to the Senate floor. Without unanimous consent, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) would have to make a debatable motion to bring the matter to the floor, thus raising the possibility of a filibuster. Senate leaders usually do not even begin that process, recognizing it would be very time-consuming.

The DOJ nominees who were caught up in Shelby’s hold were:

  • Mary L. Smith, to be Assistant Attorney General for the Tax Division. She was reported out of committee last Thursday.
  • Christopher Schroeder, to be Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Policy. He also was reported out of committee on Thursday.
  • John Laub, to be director of the National Institute of Justice. He was reported out of committee on Dec. 3.
  • Susan Carbon, to be director of the Office on Violence Against Women. She was reported out of committee on Dec. 3.
  • Richard Hartunian, to be U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of New York. He was reported out of committee on Jan. 28.
  • Andre Birotte Jr., to be U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California. He was reported out of committee on Jan. 28.
  • Ron Machen, to be U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia. He was reported out of committee on Jan. 28.

The Alabama senator had held up the more than 70 nominees since Thursday over concerns he has about a tanker contract that could bring 1,500 jobs to Mobile, Ala., and over funds he is requesting to build an FBI counterterrorism center in his state. Northrop Grumman is vying to win the tanker contract, and if successful, would assemble the planes in Mobile.

A spokesman for Shelby said the Republican had “accomplished” his goal by employing the “blanket hold,” according to Politico.

“The purpose of placing numerous holds was to get the White House’s attention on two issues that are critical to our national security – the Air Force’s aerial refueling tanker acquisition and the FBI’s Terrorist Device Analytical Center (TEDAC). With that accomplished, Sen. Shelby has decided to release his holds on all but a few nominees directly related to the Air Force tanker acquisition until the new Request for Proposal is issued,”  Shelby aide Jonathan Graffeo said in a statement, according to Politico.

Shelby still has holds on the nominations of Terry Yonkers, assistant secretary of the Air Force; Frank Kendall, principal deputy undersecretary of Defense for acquisition, technology, and logistics; and Erin Conaton, undersecretary of the Air Force, Politico said.

Democrats and White House press secretary Robert Gibbs had sharply criticized Shelby for the rare move to hold up all of Obama’s nominees who were waiting for votes in the full Senate. Last week, Gibbs said there likely wouldn’t be a “greater example of silliness throughout the entire year of 2010.”

Friday, February 5th, 2010

Richard Shelby (Getty Images)

Seven Justice Department nominees that have been reported out the Senate Judiciary Committee might not receive votes on the Senate floor anytime soon thanks to Republican Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama.

Last night Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said that Shelby had placed a “blanket hold” on all nominations pending on the Senate Executive Calendar, including two Assistant Attorneys General nominees, two would-be directors of DOJ offices and three prospective U.S. Attorneys.

Those nominees are:

  • Mary L. Smith, Assistant Attorney General for the Tax Division. She was reported out of committee yesterday.
  • Christopher Schroeder, Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Policy. He also was reported out of committee yesterday.
  • John Laub, Director of the National Institute of Justice. He was reported out of committee on Dec. 3.
  • Susan Carbon, Director of the Office on Violence Against Women. She was reported out of committee on Dec. 3.
  • Richard Hartunian, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of New York. He was reported out of committee on Jan. 28.
  • Andre Birotte Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California. He was reported out of committee on Jan. 28.
  • Ron Machen, U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia. He was reported out of committee on Jan. 28.

But the Republican’s beef isn’t with the nominees.

The Alabama senator is holding up the nominees over concerns he has about a tanker contract that could bring 1,500 jobs to Mobile, Ala., and over funds he is requesting to build an FBI counterterrorism center in his state, according to The Caucus blog on The New York Times Web site. Northrop Grumman is vying to win the tanker contract, and if successful, would assemble the plans in Mobile.

“Senator Shelby has placed holds on several pending nominees due to unaddressed national security concerns,” Shelby spokesperson Jonathan Graffeo said in a statement, according to The Caucus. “Among his concerns is that nearly 10 years after the U.S. Air Force announced plans to replace the aging tanker fleet, we still do not have a transparent and fair acquisition process to move forward. The Department of Defense must recognize that the draft Request for Proposal needs to be significantly and substantively changed.”

He added: “Senator Shelby is also deeply concerned that the administration will not release the funds already appropriated to the FBI to build the Terrorist Explosives Devices Analytical Center. This decision impedes the U.S. military, the intelligence community, and federal law enforcement personnel in their missions to exploit and analyze intelligence information critical to fighting terrorism and ensuring American security worldwide.”

Shelby would be willing to speak with the Obama administration about his concerns at any time, according to the spokesman.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs condemned Shelby for the rare decision to hold up all of Obama’s nominees who are waiting for votes in the full Senate.

“I guess if you needed one example of what’s wrong with this town, it might be that one senator can hold up 70 qualified individuals to make government work better because he didn’t get his earmarks,” Gibbs told reporters today, according to the blog. “If that’s not the poster child for how this town needs to change the way it works, I fear there won’t be a greater example of silliness throughout the entire year of 2010.”

The Democratic National Committee also posted a video on YouTube yesterday that alleges Shelby’s holds are threatening national security.

The senator’s holds don’t make it impossible for the Senate to consider nominees. Under normal circumstances, Senate leaders honor an individual senator’s hold. But if Majority Leader Reid wants to bring a nomination to the Senate floor, he could file a cloture petition. Cutting off debate on a nomination is a time-consuming process for the Senate and would be difficult for the Democratic majority with the addition of Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) to the Senate. Brown became the 41st member of the Republican Senate caucus yesterday, ending the Democrats’ filibuster-proof majority.

Reid said on the Senate floor yesterday that the president might have to start considering recess appointments, which wouldn’t require confirmation.

“The president will look at all his options,” Gibbs said, according to The Caucus.

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

The Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved three U.S. Attorney nominees during its business meeting today.

They are:

Andre Birotte Jr. (Gov)

– Andre Birotte Jr. (Central District of California): The Los Angeles Police Commission’s inspector general would succeed Thomas P. O’Brien, who stepped down as U.S. Attorney last September. Birotte was nominated on Dec. 23. Read more about him here.

Ron Machen (Wilmer Hale)

– Richard Hartunian (Northern District of New York): The interim U.S. Attorney for the district would be the first presidentially appointed U.S. Attorney to lead the office since Glenn T. Suddaby resigned in 2008. Hartunian also was tapped on Dec. 23. Read more about him here.

– Ron Machen (District of Columbia): The partner at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr would succeed Jeffrey A. Taylor, who stepped down as U.S. Attorney last May. Machen was nominated on Dec. 23. Read more about him here.

The panel has now approved 34 U.S. Attorney nominees, 31 of whom have already won Senate confirmation. The committee has yet to schedule votes for another 12 would-be U.S. Attorneys.

The committee also postponed — as expected — consideration of Justice Department nominees Dawn Johnsen (to head the Office of Legal Counsel), Mary L. Smith (to lead the Tax Division) and Christopher Schroeder (to head the Office of Legal Policy). Committee rules allow senators to delay a vote on a nominee for a week.