John England III has been named the First Assistant U.S. Attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s office in the Northern District of Alabama, The Birmingham News reports.
Joyce Vance, who has been the U.S. Attorney in Birmingham since last August, selected England, spokeswoman Peggy Sanford told The Birmingham News. “It is the usual practice that new U.S. attorneys name their own first assistants,” Sanford told the newspaper. “A first assistant is the U.S. Attorney’s alter ego, so it’s important to have someone who is a good fit to the U.S. attorney’s personal style.”
England, who joined the U.S. Attorney’s office in 1999, most recently served as a criminal division deputy chief, according to The News. He also has headed the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force the newspaper reports.
England replaces Jim Phillips, who had been the First Assistant U.S Attorney for two years. Phillips will remain in the office as a deputy chief, overseeing terrorism, child exploitation and cybercrime cases. He will also oversee the office’s asset forfeiture unit, according to the newspaper.
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Attorney General Eric Holder on Monday announced nine appointees to the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee of U.S. Attorneys.
In August, Holder tapped Minnesota U.S. Attorney B. Todd Jones to chair the committee, an influential policy-making and advisory body that serves as the voice of the U.S. Attorneys at Main Justice.
U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, of Illinois’ Northern District, served as interim chairman before Jones was confirmed. Chicago’s top prosecutor, a Republican appointee who has been recommended for a second tour of duty, will remain on the committee.
The nine new members are listed below. Click on their names for a summary of their Senate questionnaires.
- Preet Bharara, of the Southern District of New York
- Dennis Burke, of Arizona
- Jenny Durkan, of the Western District of Washington
- Paul Fishman, of New Jersey
- Neil MacBride, of the Eastern District of Virginia
- Peter Neronha, of Rhode Island
- Joyce Vance, of the Northern District of Alabama
- Channing Phillips, acting U.S attorney in the District of Columbia
- John Davis, chief of the criminal division of the federal prosecutors’ office in Alexandria, will represent the views of Assistant U.S. Attorneys.
They will each serve two-year terms.
The Senate so far has confirmed 18 of 93 U.S. Attorneys. One nominee is waiting for approval by the full Senate, and 11 more await a vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Holder, in a statement, said he would rely heavily on the the AGAC as the department works to curb violent crime and gang violence, promote civil rights, police the marketplace and protect national security.
The AGAC’s other members, who were appointed during the Bush administration, include U.S. Attorney Leura Canary, of Middle District of Alabama; Rod Rosenstein, of Maryland; Brett Tolman, of Utah; and Gretchen Witt, the civil chief in the District of New Hampshire.
Regulations require only that the committee have an “appropriate” number of members.
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Former Northern Alabama U.S. Attorney Alice Martin, whose tenure was mired in controversy over allegations that she singled out Democrats for prosecution, has joined an executive search firm in Birmingham.
“After eight years of recruiting talent into the public sector it is clear the significant impact attracting and retaining the right talent has on an organization,” Martin said in the statement. “I chose to join the outstanding professionals at Wheless to bring that experience to serve private sector leaders in a search process focused on yielding a competitive advantage for our clients.”
Martin, reached by phone, declined to comment further.
President George W. Bush appointed Martin to head the Northern District’s office in 2001. She stepped down in June, after the second of two “courtesy calls” she said she received from officials at Justice Department headquarters in Washington informing her of the progress of her successor’s nomination.
Joyce Vance took over as interim U.S. Attorney on June 19 and was confirmed by the Senate on Aug. 7. Attorney General Eric Holder attended her swearing-in ceremony.
Martin came under scrutiny during the Bush administration for what critics called a pattern of politicized prosecutions of Democratic state legislators. Supporters say she aggressively pursued crooked politicians of all stripes. In 2002, Martin created the North Alabama Public Corruption Task Force, which tallied more than 125 corruption-related convictions during her tenure.
She also came under criticism for her role in the prosecution of military contractor Axion Corp., whose CEO was acquitted in October 2007 of violating the Arms Export Control Act. The Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility is investigating the matter. (You can read Scott Horton’s piece in The American Lawyer about the Axion case here.)
Martin has denied wrongdoing in that and other cases.
Mike Wheless, CEO of Wheless Associates, expressed confidence in the former prosecutor, who has practiced law for 28 years. In her new position, Martin is ferreting out top talent for executive, senior and mid-level management roles. The Birmingham-based firm has operations in New York, Atlanta, Houston, Dallas and Naples.
“Alice Martin has the contemporary knowledge to understand how boards, senior officers and selection committees can best contend with the challenges facing today’s executive leadership,” Wheless said in the statement.
Martin (Vanderbilt, University of Mississippi Law) served on the Attorney General Advisory Committee from 2003 to 2005. Before her appointment as U.S. Attorney, she served as a state judge and a federal prosecutor in Memphis. In private practice, she specialized in medical malpractice and product liability defense.