Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) called on the Justice Department to assist his state in its efforts to combat the illegal sale of prescription drugs.
In a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, Brown asked for the deployment of at least two Ohio-based groups of federal, state and local law enforcement officials who would be tasked with stopping “pill mills” and other offenses involving prescription drugs.
At least one of the “Tactical Diversion Squads” should be based in Ohio’s two judicial districts, the Northern District of Ohio and the Southern District of Ohio, Brown wrote. There are 37 of the groups located across the United States, but Ohio doesn’t have any, according to Brown.
“The prescription drug abuse problem in Ohio is worsening by the day. It’s shocking that as the 7th-largest state in the nation, our state is not home to a single tactical diversion squad to combat this issue—even though our neighbors Kentucky and Michigan are,” Brown said in a statement. “That’s why I am urging Attorney General Holder to establish two tactical diversion squads in Ohio—one in the north and one in the south. We must do all we can to stop this epidemic, which has already cost so many lives and futures in Ohio.”
At a Senate hearing this month, Brown initially asked Holder for help from the DOJ to fight prescription drug crimes in Ohio. Holder said he would work with the senator on the matter.
“That is something we have devoted a great deal of attention to and have come up with ways in which I think we are fighting a problem that exists in a great many states,” Holder said.
The new U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio plans to ramp up his office’s work on white-collar, drug, gang and child exploitation prosecutions, The Columbus Dispatch reported today.
U.S. Attorney Carter Stewart, who was confirmed by the Senate in September, told the newspaper he is moving some of his office’s resources away from terrorism cases.
“While terrorism remains our No. 1 priority, we need more resources on our bread-and butter cases — financial crimes, public corruption, high-level drug and gang cases, and child exploitation,” Stewart told The Dispatch.
He told the newspaper that the Southern District has received the resources necessary to bring on an Assistant U.S. Attorney that will handle mortgage-fraud cases.
“This area has been hit hard by the mortgage crisis,” Carter told The Dispatch. “Some of it has been exacerbated by fraud.”
A second ceremony marking the swearing-in of Carter M. Stewart (Stanford University, Columbia University, Harvard Law) was held in the Lincoln Theater in downtown Columbus today, a month after Carter took the oath of office before a federal judge, a local NBC affiliate reported today.
In remarks delivered by video tape, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) said: ”How we earn the public’s trust, or how we seek justice – as Carter explained to me – free of bias and fairly based in law – is the great challenge of public service.”
Brown added: “The pursuit of justice, based on the merits and devoid of ideology or hidden agenda, is part of an honored profession.”
The Southern District of Ohio office has a staff of 108 and covers 48 southern Ohio countries, NBC reported.
Stewart, formerly an associate at law firm Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease was unanimously confirmed by the Senate on Sept. 15, taking over for Bush appointee Gregory Lockhart. He was first sworn in by U.S. District Court Judge Edmund Sargus Jr. on Sept. 30.
Before he joined the law firm in 2005, Stewart served in the U.S. Attorney’s office in San Jose, Calif., where he prosecuted gangs, drug violations, gun possession, social security fraud, obstruction of justice, environmental crime and illegal immigration.
The Senate confirmed six U.S. Attorneys this afternoon by unanimous consent.
-Steven Dettelbach (Northern District of Ohio): The partner at the Baker & Hostetler law firm was nominated July 14. Dettelbach will replace Gregory White, who resigned in 2008. Read more about Dettelbach here.
-Carter Stewart (Southern District of Ohio): The associate at the Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease law firm was nominated July 14. He will replace Gregory Lockhart, who resigned last month. Read more about the appointee here.
-Peter Neronha (Rhode Island): The Rhode Island Assistant U.S. Attorney was nominated July 31. Neronha will replace Robert Clark Corrente, who resigned June 26. Read more about the appointee here.
-Daniel Bogden (Nevada): The former Nevada U.S. Attorney, who was fired during the 2006 U.S. Attorney purge, was re-nominated July 31. Bogden will replace Gregory Brower, whose resignation is effective Oct. 10. Read more about Bogden here.
-Dennis Burke (Arizona): Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano’s senior adviser on border security and law enforcement was nominated July 14. Burke will replace Diane Humetewa, who resigned Aug. 2. Read more about the appointee here.
-Neil MacBride (Eastern District of Virginia): The Justice Department Associate Deputy Attorney General was nominated Aug. 6. MacBride will replace Chuck Rosenberg, who resigned in October 2008. Read more about MacBride here.
The Senate has now confirmed all 11 U.S. Attorneys that have been reported out of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
On Thursday, the panel is slated to consider U.S. Attorney nominees Jenny Durkan for the Western District of Washington and Paul Fishman for New Jersey. After the committee votes on Durkan and Fishman, it will still have to consider five more U.S. Attorney nominees. The panel has not announced when it will vote on the five nominees.
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Southern District of Ohio U.S. Attorney Gregory Lockhart will step down from his post at the end of the month, the Dayton Daily News reported this afternoon.
The Senate confirmed Lockhart as U.S. Attorney in 2001. He spent 14 years as an Assistant United States Attorney before he became the top federal prosecutor in the Southern District.
He also taught at University of Dayton’s College of Law and Wright State University’s Colleges of Political Science and Business while working at the U.S. Attorney’s office.
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The group of U.S. Attorney nominees endorsed by the panel grew to seven members with the addition of Dettelbach and Stewart. There are another 10 U.S. Attorney appointees that the committee has not considered yet.
The U.S. Attorney nominees reported out of committee (not including Dettelbach and Stewart) are:
-Preet Bharara for the Southern District of New York (nominated June 4; reported out of committee June 18)
-Tristram Coffin for the District of Vermont (nominated June 4; reported out of committee June 18)
-Joyce Vance for the Northern District of Alabama (nominated June 4; reported out of committee June 18)
-John Paul Kacavas for the District of New Hampshire (nominated June 4; reported out of committee June 25)
-B. Todd Jones for the District of Minnesota (nominated June 4; reported out of committee June 25)
The U.S. Attorney appointees that the panel has not considered yet are:
- Jenny Durkan for the Western District of Washington (nominated: June 4)
- Paul Fishman for the District of New Jersey (nominated: June 4)
-Brendan Johnson for the District of South Dakota (nominated: July 14)
-Karen Loeffler for the District of Alaska (nominated: July 14)
-Florence Nakakuni for the District of Hawaii (nominated: July 14)
-Dennis K. Burke for the District of Arizona (nominated: July 14)
-Daniel Bogden for the District of Nevada (nominated: July 31)
-Deborah Gilg for the District of Nebraska (nominated: July 31)
-Timothy Heaphy for the Western District of Virginia (nominated: July 31)
-Peter Neronha for the District of Rhode Island (nominated: July 31)
Senate Judiciary Chair Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) called on the Senate again to move on all Justice Department nominees reported out of committee. Read our previous report on the delays here.
“I remain hopeful that the Senate Republican leadership will work with us to clear all these nominations for confirmation before the extended August recess,” Leahy said in a statement submitted for the record today. “Those that cannot be confirmed by unanimous consent or on a voice vote this week should be scheduled with appropriate time agreements for debate, and up-or-down votes upon the Senate’s return the week of Sept. 8.”
The panel today also approved by voice vote Vermont U.S. Marshal nominee David Demag and President Obama’s nominee to lead the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, David Kappos.
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U.S. Attorney nominees Steven Dettelbach for Ohio’s Northern District and Carter M. Stewart for Ohio’s Southern district were nominated July 14. The Senate Judiciary Committee announced today that the Ohio nominees will come before the panel for a vote this Thursday.
But Washington state Western District U.S. Attorney nominee Jenny Durkan and Paul Fishman, President Obama’s choice to be New Jersey’s top prosecutor, were announced May 15. They still haven’t come before the committee for a vote.
What gives? Are Republicans objecting to Durkan, who is openly gay and a confidante of Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire? Did one of those clients Fishman declined to reveal publicly turn out to be controversial? Write us at email@example.com or click here to ensure total anonymity.