January 2012

 NAFUSA UPDATE

NAFUSA Liaison Committee Meets with Attorney General and AGAC
Latest in Periodic Meetings with General Holder
 
 

NAFUSA Liaison Committee with Attorney General Eric Holder

 

On January 11, 2012, NAFUSA's six-member Liaison Committee met with Attorney General Eric Holder in his conference room at Main Justice. It was the most recent of several periodic meetings with the General, which began in 2010. Following the meeting with the AG, the committee also met with the Attorney General's Advisory Committee (AGAC). The Liaison Committee is chaired by NAFUSA President Rick Deane and is composed of President Elect Jay Stephens, Secretary Matt Orwig , board member Doug Jones and Executive Director Rich Rossman. Committee member Wayne Budd was unable to attend, and board member Joe Whitley attended in his absence.

 

President Deane began the meeting by proposing that NAFUSA sponsor a lecture series intended to foster and promote ethics and professionalism within the Department, with a particular focus (though not exclusively), on United States Attorneys. The goal would be to offer something inspiring and perhaps aspirational, rather than a discussion of ethics rules. The committee mentioned the presentation that William Ruckelshaus, the former Deputy Attorney General in the Nixon Administration, gave to NAFUSA at its annual conference in Seattle in 2009 as an example of such a lecture. The General was very open to this suggestion and the committee later discussed it with the AGAC, whose members were very receptive. We agreed to attempt to put something together for the upcoming U.S. Attorney conference to be held in March.

 

We had an extensive discussion with the AG about the budgetary impact on Department resources. The General said Justice has done better than some departments of government, but it has been a tough budgetary cycle. He feels he has the capacity to handle the problems, but for how long. He mentioned that the Bush Administration had left a good structure in place in the national security area and that there is much more cooperation between agencies than was the case in the past.

 

Terrorism, of course, is the major focus. There are more terrorism cases around the country, not just in New York and Virginia. It will have to be decided whether the FBI will primarily be a national security agency. The state and local law enforcement agencies are also feeling the pinch and looking to help from federal prosecutions. It is a challenge to find the agencies to do the investigations. There is a need for seasoned, experienced agents, not just new hires. The threat of terrorism has not diminished, but is changing. The "lone wolf" continues to be a real concern.

 

A hiring freeze has been in effect for a year. There are hundreds and hundreds of applicants, but no ability to hire. The General hopes that will change soon. He argues to OMB that the Department can make money for the government if it has the resources. Through attrition the U.S. Attorney offices lose about 700 a year in AUSAs and support staff. There have been some volunteers who work without pay. Several field antitrust offices are closing and the work being centralized in Washington. The Bureau of Prison population is growing and taking budget from other areas. It will be worth looking at studies to seek methods to ease reentry in hopes to reduce prison population. Health care fraud is a priority. The civil rights effort has been beefed up.

 

The committee also proposed a NAFUSA "Day at Justice" as part of our national conference to be held in 2013 in Washington. NAFUSA would seek to host a half day at the Great Hall and ask major leaders at Justice to speak to us on the priorities and state of the Department. The General was very supportive.

 

The committee then had an hour meeting with the AGAC. President Rick Deane explained the purpose of NAFUSA and our dedication to the Department and the institution of U.S. Attorney. He explained that we are nonpartisan in our nature and not involved in partisan debates. He told them we look forward to their future membership in NAFUSA, whenever their terms might end. President Elect Jay Stephens discussed NAFUSA's Bradford Award and told the AGAC that the process will begin soon to select a winner for 2012. He encouraged the AGAC members to make nominations. As mentioned above, the AGAC was very open to our suggestion of a planned lecture series.

 

AGAC chair Paul Fishman said that due to Eric Holder "being one of us as a former U.S. Attorney and willing to listen to the AGAC", the committee has more influence than in the past. He said each office could double in size and not run out of work to do. He said the total budget for U.S. Attorneys is $1.9 billion and they took in $6.5 billion in forfeitures, fines and the like. He made the point that the offices are cash positive.

 

The Liaison Committee felt it had a very productive day in Washington and is hopeful that these sessions will become institutionalized and remain in place through future administrations.

 

The photo above is from the July 20, 2011, meeting with the Attorney General. Shown from the left, Doug Jones, President Rick Deane, Secretary Matt Orwig, Attorney General Eric Holder, Immediate Past President Bill Lutz, Executive Director Rich Rossman and Wayne Budd. Current Liaison Committee member and President Elect Jay Stephens and alternate Joe Whitley are not shown.

Department of Justice to Celebrate Life of Jack Keeney
January 24th in the Great Hall
The U.S. Department of Justice will hold a celebration of the life of John "Jack" C. Keeney, former Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division, who passed away on November 19, 2011. Keeney served in the Criminal Division for 59 years. The celebration will take place on Tuesday, January 24, 2012 from 2:00 p.m. until 3:30 p.m. in the Great Hall. All NAFUSA members are invited to attend. Please see the invitation below. If you plan to attend, please R.S.V.P. as indicated by Friday, January 20th.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Attorney General Appoints Eight New U.S. Attorneys to AGAC
Full Committee Composed of 19 Members
 

Paul J. FishmanAttorney General Eric Holder announced the appointments of eight new United States Attorneys to serve two-year terms on the Attorney General's Advisory Committee (AGAC). The full committee is now composed of 19 members, chaired by Paul J. Fishman, left, with Loretta E. Lynch, shown below, serving as vice chair. Click here to read the release from the Department of Justice, which includes the names of all 19 members of the AGAC.

 

Loretta Lynch

H.M. Ray Dies at 86
Served 20 Years as U.S. Attorney

NAFUSA recently learned that H.M. Ray, who served 20 years as the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Mississippi, passed away on May 18, 2011 at the age of 86. Ray, who was nominated by John F. Kennedy in 1961, died at his home in Tupelo, Mississippi. He served under two additional Democratic administrations and two Republicans until he resigned in 1981. Ray served as chair of the Attorney General's Advisory Committee (AGAC) 1976-77. He was a long time member of NAFUSA.

 

Ray served in the Army Air Corps, where he flew bombing missions in World War II. He earned his law degree at the University of Mississippi and served as a state representative from 1948 to 1951. He resumed his military service as an intelligence officer in the Air Force during the Korean War.

 

His survivors include sons Howard Manfred Ray of Skokie, Ill., and Mark Andrew Ray of Tupelo.

 

 

Robert Miller Authors Article on Prosecutive Discretion
ABA Litigation Magazine

NAFUSA member Robert N. Miller served as United States Attorney for the District of Colorado from 1981-1988, after having served as District Attorney in Greeley, Colorado for ten years. Miller is now a partner in the Denver office of Perkins Coie, where he practices complex commercial litigation and white collar criminal law.

 

This summer Miller published an article in the ABA magazine Litigation entitled "Balancing the Duty to Prosecute and the Obligation to Do Justice".  He draws upon several of the cases in which he was involved as U.S. Attorney.

 
Tennesseans Remember How Hal Hardin Handled Last Minute Pardons
Outgoing Governor's Last Ditch Effort Stopped by U.S. Attorney Hardin 33 Years Ago
 

 The recent news of Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi granting pardons or early release to more than 200 inmates led to a guest column in the Memphis newspaper, The Commercial Appeal. On January 14, 2012, in Guest column: Power of the pardon remains explosive, Keel Hunt writes of an effort 33 years ago by then governor Ray Blanton of Tennessee to issue 52 executive clemencies, including a pardon for the son of a political friend. Less than 48 hours later Blanton was out of office, stripped of his power in what amounted to a bipartisan "coup", led by then U.S. Attorney Hal Hardin, shown above, long time NAFUSA member.

  

Supreme Court Set To Have Historic Year
2011-2012 Term Includes Three Major Cases
 

Adam LiptakAt NAFUSA's yearly conference, an expert on the United States Supreme Court presents a review of the term just ended. Adam Liptak, left, who covers the court for The New York Times, gave the presentation in New York City in 2010. In a December 13, 2011, article in the Times entitled Court To Weigh Arizona Statute On Immigration, Liptak writes, "In the space of a month, the Supreme Court has thrust itself into the center of American political life, agreeing to hear three major cases that could help determine which party controls the House of Representatives and whether President Obama wins a second term."

 

Before the NAFUSA conference in Atlanta in October, the court will have heard the Arizona immigration case, reviewed the 2010 health care overhaul law and the Texas redistricting dispute. As Liptak points out, "...the current term may be most reminiscent of the showdown between the Supreme Court and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1936, when the court struck down major pieces of New Deal legislation as well as a New York law establishing a minimum wage for women and children." On the other hand, Liptak says, "...the court may yet avoid creating political earthquakes."

 

On Monday, January 9, 2012, the Supreme Court heard arguments on the major voting rights case from Texas. Liptak reported in The Times in an article entitled Justices Grapple With Voting Rights Case That Could Help Tip the House the case "could help decide control of the House."

 

What ever happens, the review of the 2011-2012 term at the Atlanta conference should be of considerable interest.

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Update on New York Terrorism Panel
Iraqi Detainee Causes Dilemma

 

Charlie SavageAt the NAFUSA annual conference in October, 2010, The New York Times reporter Charlie Savage moderated a two hour panel discussion on the appropriate forum in which to prosecute terrorism cases. More than a year later the national debate on this issue remains unresolved. In a front page article on December 12, 2011, Savage reports on the dilemma confronting the Obama administration on what to do with a detainee held by the American military in Iraq. Read Detainee Poses Dilemma For U.S. As It Exits Iraq. 

 

Subsequent to the publication of the Savage article, the U.S. military turned the prisoner over to the Iraqi government.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Update on WikiLeaks Panel
Wall Street Journal Op/Ed by Floyd Abrams
 
At the Santa Fe conference this past fall, the two hour panel on WikiLeaks featured a lively discussion on whether or not there have been any serious ramifications from the extensive leaks. The debate continues and on December 8, 2011, The Wall Street Journal published an op/ed Don't Cry for Julian Assange by Floyd Abrams, noted First Amendment lawyer. Abrams argues that Julian Assange and WikiLeaks have exhibited "persistent recklessness" in such disclosures as a classified report describing the radio-frequency jammers used in Iraq by American soldiers to cut off signals to remotely detonated explosives.

 

 

 

 

Peter Vaira Publishes Review of New Book on Criminal Discovery
New Book Authored By Three Partners at Williams & Connolly
 

NAFUSA member Peter Vaira, left,  published a thoughtful review of the new book Federal Criminal Discovery by Robert M. Crary, Craig D. Singer and Simon A. Latcovich, all partners at Williams & Connolly. Vaira's review, A New Resource For Criminal Discovery [MS Word file], was published in The Legal Intelligencer, January 10, 2012.

 

 

 

 

 


National Association of Former United States Attorneys (NAFUSA)

Richard A. Rossman

 Executive Director

27 Oakland Park

Pleasant Ridge, Michigan 48069

Phone: 248-548-8289

rossmanr@gmail.com

 

   

 

 

 

     

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