Posts Tagged ‘Steven Dettelbach’
Friday, November 27th, 2009

When President Barack Obama signed sweeping hate crimes legislation into law at a ceremony last month, new Northern District of Ohio U.S. Attorney Steven Dettelbach was there - a sign of the Cleveland prosecutor’s rising influence in civil rights enforcement.

Northern District of Ohio U.S. Attorney Steven Dettelbach speaks at his swearing in ceremony on Oct. 26. (DOJ)

Northern District of Ohio U.S. Attorney Steven Dettelbach speaks at his swearing in ceremony on Oct. 26. (DOJ)

Dettelbach, who was confirmed by the Senate in September, is the new chair of the civil rights subcommittee of the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee of U.S. Attorneys.

The AGAC advises Attorney General Eric Holder on policy and law enforcement issues. And civil rights is a top priority of the Obama administration.

At his Oct. 26 investiture ceremony, Dettelbach made clear his commitment to enforcing anti-discrimination laws by invoking Tom Perez, the new Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division.

“We can and must follow Tom Perez’s example of relentless dedication to civil rights, because our citizens must understand that the laws we enforce apply equally to all, not just some,” he said in prepared remarks.

Dettelbach has a long history working on civil rights issues. He successfully prosecuted several civil rights cases during his almost two decades as a federal prosecutor at U.S. Attorney’s offices in Cleveland and Maryland and at  Justice Department headquarters in Washington.

He told Main Justice in a recent interview that among his office’s “usual assortment of prosecutorial plaques and knickknacks” are two awards from former Attorney General Janet Reno that he received when he was an attorney in the DOJ Civil Rights Division.

One plaque honors Dettelbach’s work on a case that involved an Indian woman who was brought to Miami as a slave. She endured regular beatings over the course of seven months and was even branded with an iron, according to Dettelbach.

Another award commemorates the prosecution of Ku Klux Klan members who tried to undermine the integration of housing projects in Vidor, Texas.

“He is deeply committed to fighting for crime victims and to holding those who commit crimes, even the most powerful, accountable,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division Mythili Raman, who worked with Dettelbach in the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office.

But Dettelbach’s experience extends beyond civil rights cases.

He was a part of the organized crime and corruption strike force during his time as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Cleveland. As deputy chief of the Greenbelt branch of the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office, he prosecuted fraud cases. Dettelbach also worked as a Senate Judiciary Committee counsel to Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and most recently as a partner in the Cleveland office of law firm Baker & Hostetler.

“He brings a good, well-rounded experience to the table,” said former Deputy Attorney General Craig Morford, who once supervised Dettelbach in the Cleveland U.S. Attorney’s office.

Dettelbach said while his diverse experience has prepared him to be U.S. Attorney, the job presents new challenges.

“There is no typical day,” Dettelbach said. “That’s what makes the job both so rewarding and so challenging. On any day, you are doing a mixture of managing the cases and the investigations that the assistants and agents are doing in the office, representing the office in the community and representing the office within the Department of Justice as a whole.”

The U.S. Attorney said taking over the reins of the Northern District office is “like getting on a train that going 100 miles per hour.”

“Even though I had worked here as an Assistant, it’s a much different perspective being the U.S. Attorney than it is being an Assistant,” he said.

His office is working a number of major prosecutions including a corruption scandal in Cuyahoga County and a civil rights case involving a white supremacist who mailed a noose to an Ohio chapter of the NAACP.

Dettelbach said terrorism will remain his office’s top priority, even as he puts a renewed focus on civil rights enforcement and financial fraud.

The U.S. Attorney said he is meeting with all of the office’s Assistant U.S. Attorneys to discuss his plans and hear their suggestions.

Dettelbach said his new responsibilities have cut into his personal time with his wife and two children. He works a lot and is “not allowed to talk to my wife about it,” he said.

But long hours are nothing new for Dettelbach, said Maryland U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein. Dettelbach often worked nights and weekends as the deputy chief of the Greenbelt branch office, he recalled.

“He is a guy who really enjoys working for DOJ,” Rosenstein said.

Dettelbach said his work as a federal prosecutor has “made me the happiest.”

“I have to say one of the great things about this job is you can even explain to a four- and six-year-old the importance of what we do. And that to me is a great thing that Assistant U.S. Attorneys get to do and U.S. Attorneys get to do,” Dettelbach said. “Even at the most basic level, people can understand what you’re doing is something that is important in your community.”

This post has been corrected from an earlier version.

Monday, October 26th, 2009
Steven Dettelbach (ohio.gov)

Steven Dettelbach (ohio.gov)

Steven Dettelbach, who was sworn in Monday as Northern Ohio’s new U.S. attorney, says he will put a renewed focus on civil rights enforcement and financial fraud.

“After 9/11, we had to divert a lot of resources to anti-terrorism activities and we need to continue to do that,” Dettelbach said in an interview with WKYC-TV. ”We need to re-focus our efforts on things like fighting economic crime, because people in the community need to understand that a free market also has to be a fair market.”

Dettelbach was one of six U.S. attorneys confirmed by unanimous consent on Sept. 15.  He was sworn in at the Martin Luther King Jr. High School in Cleveland today. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) administered the oath of office.

Dettelbach jointed the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division in 1992 as a trial lawyer. He was an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Cleveland assigned to the Organized Crime and Corruption Task Force from 2003 until he left for private practice in 2006. Before his selection as U.S. Attorney, Dettelbach was a partner at Baker & Hostetler, splitting time between the firm’s Washington and Cleveland offices.

In another interview, Dettelbach said that that fighting terrorism would remain his top focus, but he would devote resources to other problems as well.

“We have to be able to walk and chew gum at the same time…we have to keep the level of protection against terrorism at the same place it’s been and, at the same time, we have to get back to the bread-and-butter work of federal investigators because threats don’t just come from terrorists,” said Dettelbach.

Dettelbach’s office is currently prosescuting a huge corruption scandal in Cuyahoga County and a civil rights case involving a white supremacist who mailed a noose to an Ohio chapter of the NAACP.

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

The Senate confirmed six U.S. Attorneys this afternoon by unanimous consent.

They are:

Steven Dettelbach (ohio.gov)

Steven Dettelbach (ohio.gov)

Carter Stewart (Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease)

Carter Stewart (Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease)

-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 (DOJ)

Peter Neronha (DOJ)

Daniel Bogden (Getty Images)

Daniel Bogden (Getty Images)

-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.

Neil MacBride (Business Software Alliance)

Neil MacBride (Business Software Alliance)

-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.

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

The Senate Judiciary Committee reported four U.S. Attorney nominees out of committee today by voice vote.

They are:

Daniel Bogden (Getty Images)

Daniel Bogden (Getty Images)

-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 would replace Gregory Brower. Read more about Bogden here.

Neil MacBride (Business Software Alliance)

Neil MacBride (Business Software Alliance)

-Dennis Burke (Arizona): Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano’s senior adviser on border security and law enforcement was nominated July 14. Burke would replace Diane Humetewa, who resigned Aug. 2. Read more about the nominee here.

-Neil MacBride (Eastern District of Virginia): The Justice Department Associate Deputy Attorney General was nominated Aug. 6. MacBride would replace Chuck Rosenberg, who resigned in October 2008. Read more about MacBride here.

-Peter Neronha (Rhode Island): The Rhode Island Assistant U.S. Attorney was nominated July 31. Neronha would replace Robert Clark Corrente, who resigned June 26. Read more about the nominee here.

“I think they are nominees worthy of confirmation,” Judiciary Ranking Member Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) said at the meeting today.

The panel has now endorsed a total of 11 U.S. Attorney nominees, including five who were confirmed by the full Senate last month. Another seven U.S. Attorney nominees have yet to be considered by the committee.

Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) criticized Senate delays on DOJ nominees in prepared remarks for the confirmation hearing of Environment and Natural Resources Division nominee Ignacia Moreno and four federal judges.

DOJ nominees who are still awaiting Senate confirmation include Dawn Johnsen for the Office of Legal Counsel, Thomas Perez for the Civil Rights Division, Mary L. Smith for the Tax Division, and Christopher Schroeder for the Office of Legal Policy. In addition, two U.S. Attorney nominees — Steven M. Dettelbach for the Northern District of Ohio and Carter M. Stewart for the Southern District of Ohio – have already been reported out of committee and “deserve prompt consideration by the full Senate,” Leahy said.

Friday, August 7th, 2009

The Senate confirmed five U.S. Attorneys today by unanimous consent.

They are:

  • Tristram Coffin, Vermont U.S. Attorney
  • Joyce Vance, Northern District of Alabama U.S. Attorney
  • Preet Bharara, Southern District of New York U.S. Attorney
  • B. Todd Jones, Minnesota U.S. Attorney
  • John Kacavas, New Hampshire U.S. Attorney
B. Todd Jones (Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi)

B. Todd Jones (Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi)

The federal prosecutors were in the first batch of U.S. Attorney nominees President Obama sent to the Senate June 4. Jenny Durkan for the Western District of Washington and Paul Fishman for the District of New Jersey are the only nominees from that group that have not been considered by the Senate or Senate Judiciary Committee yet.

Joyce Vance (DOJ)

Joyce Vance (DOJ)

U.S. Attorney nominees Steven Dettelbach for Ohio’s Northern District and Carter M. Stewart for Ohio’s Southern District were the only U.S. Attorney appointees that were reported out of the Senate Judiciary Committee, but not considered by the Senate today. The panel endorsed the two nominees yesterday. Read out post about them here.

But there are also other Justice Department nominees the Senate has not considered yet. They are:

  • Dawn Johnsen, Office of Legal Counsel (Reported out of committee: March 19)
  • Thomas Perez, Civil Rights Division (Reported out of committee: June 4)
  • Mary L. Smith, Tax Division (Reported out of committee: June 11)
  • Christopher Schroeder, Office of Legal Policy (Reported out of committee: July 28)
Patrick Leahy (Gov)

Patrick Leahy (Gov)

Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said confirming today the five U.S. Attorneys along with Vermont U.S. Marshal David Demag and U.S. Patent and Trademark Office director David Kappos was “long overdue.” He lamented that the Senate didn’t passed more appointees before the August recess.

“I am disappointed that … several other important executive nominations, remain pending in the Senate but look forward to considering them when the Senate returns in September,” Leahy said in a statement.

Read our previous report on the delays here.

Thursday, August 6th, 2009

The Senate Judiciary Committee reported U.S. Attorney nominees Steven Dettelbach for Ohio’s Northern District and Carter M. Stewart for Ohio’s Southern District out of committee today by voice vote.

Steven Dettelbach (ohio.gov)

Steven Dettelbach (ohio.gov)

Carter M. Stewart

Carter M. Stewart

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.

Monday, August 3rd, 2009

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.

Paul Fishman (Friedman, Kaplan, Seiler & Adelman)

Paul Fishman (Friedman, Kaplan, Seiler & Adelman

Jenny Durkan (Law Offices of Jenny A. Durkin)

Jenny Durkan (Law Offices of Jenny A. Durkin)

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 tips@mainjustice.com or click here to ensure total anonymity.

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

President Obama sent six more U.S. Attorney nominations to the Senate on July 14 — which means six more Senate Judiciary Committee questionnaires for Main Justice readers to chew over. We post the highlights below.

A note about transparency: The committee has begun posting U.S. Attorney questionnaires online, after previously making only hard-copies available through its office. The panel, however, has removed from the on-line versions the attachment showing details of the nominees’ personal finances. The financial information is a public record, and we have reported it in our profiles, which you can read here:

  • Steven Dettelbach, Northern District of Ohio. Click here.
  • Carter M. Stewart, Southern District of Ohio. Click here.
  • Brendan Johnson, District of South Dakota. Click here.
  • Karen Loeffler, District of Alaska. Click here.
  • Florence Nakakuni, District of Hawaii. Click here.
  • Dennis K. Burke, District of Arizona. Click here.


Wednesday, July 29th, 2009
Steve Dettelbach (Dartmouth, Harvard Law) is nominated to replace Gregory A. White, who resigned in 2008 to become a federal magistrate judge.

Steven Dettelbach (ohio.gov)

Steven Dettelbach (ohio.gov)

His vitals:
  • Born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1965.
  • Been a partner at Baker & Hostetler since 2006, splitting time between the firm’s Washington and Cleveland offices. He specializes in corporate internal investigations, as well as defending corporations and individuals in federal and state investigations and regulatory actions. Dettelbach dropped his criminal work in March 2009, apparently anticipating his return to the Justice Department. Since then, his practice has been exclusively on the civil side.
  • Was an assistant U.S. attorney in the Cleveland, assigned to the Organized Crime and Corruption Task Force from 2003 until he left for private practice. He was involved a series of high-profile corruption and fraud cases related to municipal contracting. The prosecutions — he was lead counsel (or “first chair”) in three trials -resulted in the conviction of eight defendants, including the mayor of East Cleveland, a Cleveland councilman, and the chief of staff to the mayor of Houston.
  • Served as a federal prosecutor in Maryland from 1997 to 2001, handling a wide array of federal criminal matters, from complex narcotics cases to large scale fraud and corruption matters. During that stint in Maryland, he took a detail as counsel to Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) of the Senate Judiciary Committee. He worked on criminal law policy, including the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, and DOJ oversight.
  • Joined the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division in 1992 as a trial lawyer and left as an acting deputy chief of the Criminal Section in 1997. Dettelbach specialized in involuntary servitude cases, hate crimes and complex police misconduct investigations.
  • Estimates he has tried between 25 and 45 trials to verdict, as lead counsel or co-lead counsel.
  • Received a raft of awards and commendations, including four from then-Attorney General Janet Reno.
  • Is a member of the Edward Bennett Williams Inn of Court.
  • Was an outside advisor to the Obama’s presidential transition on Justice Department-related issues and chaired the outside adviser group. He also volunteered for Obama’s presidential campaign as a member of the Government Reform and Criminal Law Policy advisory committees, and provided the campaign with legal assistance and advice.
  • Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland appointed Dettelbach to the Ohio Ethics Commission in 2008. In 2007, he served on the Governor’s Task Force on Campus Safety, Chairman, Law Enforcement Response Working Group, in the wake of the Virgina Tech shootings. (He volunteered for Strickland’s 2006 gubernatorial campaign, offering policy advice, fundraising, and assisting grassroots activities.)
  • Dettelbach lists a net worth of $902,900, with securities totalling $693,823.

Click here for his full questionnaire.

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

President Obama sent the following U.S. Attorney nominations to the Senate today:

Dennis K. Burke, of Arizona, to be United States Attorney for the District of Arizona for the term of four years, vice Diane J. Humetewa.

Steven M. Dettelbach, of Ohio, to be United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio for the term of four years, vice Gregory A. White, resigned.

Brendan V. Johnson, of South Dakota, to be United States Attorney for the District of South Dakota for the term of four years, vice Martin J. Jackley.

Karen Louise Loeffler, of Alaska, to be United States Attorney for the District of Alaska for the term of four years, vice Timothy Mark Burgess, resigned.

Florence T. Nakakuni, of Hawaii, to be United States Attorney for the District of Hawaii for the term of four years, vice Edward Hachiro Kubo, Jr.

Carter M. Stewart, of Ohio, to be United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio for the term of four years, vice Gregory Gordon Lockhart.

You can read our previous report on the six nominees here.

You can see how Obama’s performance in filling up the U.S. Attorney’s Offices stacks up against President Bush’s here.