March 2015

NAFUSA Update is published monthly. NAFUSA's website can be accessed directly from this newsletter. New articles are posted to the website during the month.  You may also subscribe to NAFUSA email updates, delivered to your inbox overnight, the day after any new items are posted. (Be sure to complete the two step process.) You can also follow NAFUSA on Twitter (@NAFUSAorg).
Senate Judiciary Committee Approves Lynch Nomination

Loretta Lynch On February 26, 2015, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved the nomination of Loretta Lynch as Attorney General. With a vote of 12-8, GOP Senators Lindsey Graham, Orrin Hatch, and Jeff Flake, joined the Democrats on the committee in sending the nomination to the full Senate, which is expected to act sometime in March. The Republican opposition cites the Obama administration's actions on immigration and her belief in the legality of the president's executive action on immigration- issues which may lead to a contentious vote in the full Senate.


Lynch has strong bipartisan support, as shown by the letter to the Judiciary Committee signed by 25 former United States Attorneys. (See February, 2015 newsletter)



John McKay Reports From Palestine

John McKay NAFUSA lifetime member John McKay reported in from Ramallah, Palestine, where for the past two years he has headed the U.S. State Dept. (INL) rule of law program supporting Palestinian public prosecutors, police and security services.


U.S. government support for a two-state solution in the region includes strengthening Palestinian justice sector and law enforcement, including crime scene investigations, cybercrime enforcement, leadership training for Chief Prosecutors and case management systems for police, prosecution and security forces.


"Working in Palestine to support human rights based training and applying skills learned while serving as U.S. Attorney has been among the most rewarding assignments of my life," McKay said.


Leading a team of 50 Palestinian lawyers, former police officers and technologists in the Justice Sector Assistance Project for Palestine, McKay intends to return to his full time teaching position on the law faculty of Seattle University in fall, 2015.


In the first photo below, McKay is at the podium addressing Palestinian law students preparing for the International Jessup Moot Court tournament, for which he provided support and training.


John McKay  


McKay took the Palestinian Attorney General to DOJ and FBI in October, as you can see from the bottom photo with the tall FBI Director.


John McKay, Jim Comey  


Dan and Adele Hedges Featured in Texas Lawyer

Dan & Adele Hedges NAFUSA Past President (1992-1993) Dan Hedges, and his wife, Adele, were featured in the February 16, 2015, issue of the Texas Lawyer. The article entitled "Love in Law: Legendary Lawyer Couples Talk About Life and Love", the Hedges were one of two married couples of Texas lawyers profiled in how they have juggled their busy careers, raised families and found time to enjoy each other.


The Hedges first met when they were on opposing moot court teams in law school. Their relationship began when they were both associates at Fulbright & Jaworski in the 70s. Dan served as United States Attorney for the Southern District of Texas (1981-1985) and is currently a partner at Porter & Hedges in Houston. Adele served eleven years on the First Court of Appeals in Houston, and ten years as the Chief Justice of the Fourteenth Court of Appeals in Houston before retiring in 2013 to open an appeals and mediation practice in Houston.


Click here to read the article about the Hedges:  Texas Lawyer Love in Law Digital Edition 2_16_2015.



Easton Commended for Pro Bono Court Martial Defense 

Steve Easton At the request of Major Jessica Grace Martz, U.S. Marine Corps, NAFUSA member Steve Easton joined the defense team as lead counsel in the General Court-Martial of Sergeant Kayla Cerda, at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, South Carolina in December of 2014.


Major Martz met Easton when she was a student at the University of Wyoming, College of Law. Easton taught her criminal procedure and trial practice classes and was her moot court competition coach. He encouraged Martz to become a trial attorney and told her "if you ever need help, please call me." When Martz returned to the Marine Corps, she became a new judge advocate. Soon she found herself "undermanned and overwhelmed" in the Cerda case and called upon Easton for help.


Easton joined the Cerda team in August of 2014 to provide pro-bono service, and as Major Martz reports, "His impact was immediate and extremely positive....His tenacity and professionalism in the courtroom were recognized by all, even the military judge." Sgt. Cerda was acquitted of all charges.


Click here to read Major Martz's  commendation letter written to NAFUSA. 



After reading Major Martz's letter, Easton responded,

While I very much appreciate Major Martz's kind words, I feel compelled to note that she is being overly generous in describing our respective roles. While I was technically "lead counsel," only because civilian counsel is presumed to be the lead counsel in court-martial trials, this was very much a shared command. While it might (or might not!) be true the Sgt. Cerda would not have been found not guilty on all twenty counts that went to the Members (as the jurors are called in court-martials) without me, it is definitely true that she would not have been found not guilty without the considerable skills and hard work of Major Martz. She handled dozens of key witnesses, conducted the voir dire, and gave the defense opening. In difficult circumstances, she was superb in all of these facets of the trial, as well as in her pretrial advocacy and investigative work. Working with Major Martz on this case was my proudest moment as a teacher. To see one's student fight the good fight for her client, both ethically and tenaciously, against long odds, is something I will always treasure.

Easton reflected on the virtues of pro bono work,

As someone who wishes he had done a bit more pro bono work over the years, I can add that I am now a big believer in the concept that all of us should try, at least once, to pretty much drop everything and take on the representation of someone who could use our help, despite the odds and the reality that doing so will set us behind on everything else that demands our time and attention.

Easton is a professor of law at the University of Wyoming College of Law. He served as United States Attorney for the District of North Dakota 1990-1993.



Ron Woods Remembers Early FBI Experience


Ron Woods with J Edgar Hoover
Former NAFUSA Executive Director Ron Woods began his career with the FBI fifty years ago. His reminiscences were published on February 15, 2015, on xboys network, an email group of 3300 ex FBI agents. The photo was taken when Ron was invited to J. Edgar Hoover's office for a private meeting when he was admitted to the Supreme Court in 1967. Unfortunately, we were unable to find a photo of Ron with the famous fedora.


Fifty years ago today, 22 young males, most in their twenties,  met in an FBI office on the fifth floor of the DOJ Building, where we were introduced to our Class Counselor, GERALD D. COAKLEY, a poster image of an FBI agent and a good man, along with Training Supervisor SI 'THE SPY' TULLAI, famous for his involvement in the RUDOLPH ABEL Russian spy case (arrested and convicted in 1957; traded for U-2 pilot Gary Powers in 1962)


We were sworn in, filled out all of the paperwork, took the language aptitude test, and received our official Bureau names.  The next day, 20 of us were on the navy gray school bus to Quantico.  It was never explained what happened to the other two.


In 1965, the FBI was still using its original Academy, opened in 1940 on the Quantico Marine Base. After several additions during increased agent training in WW II and the Korean War, the Academy was then a three story building with a basement, which housed the gym and the gun cleaning room.  We began our defensive tactics and firearms training under GEORGE  ZEISS, a giant of a man and a truly legendary FBI Agent. His defensive tactics training and firearms training mantra was "It's better to be judged by 12 in the box rather than be carried by 12 in a box."  Of course, we had all seen him in "The FBI Story" and were eager to follow his instructions. His pistol shooting demonstrations were truly spectacular. He could shoot a playing card in half edgewise by pointing the .38 special revolver over his shoulder and using the stone in his ring to sight in. Another trick was splitting a bullet on an ax and breaking targets on both sides.  In the summer of 1968, GEORGE and KEN BOUNDS were sent by DIRECTOR HOOVER to London to bring back JAMES EARL RAY, who had been arrested there for the April 1968 murder of MARTIN LUTHER KING,JR.


Our firearms training focused on the .38 Special Smith and Wesson revolver, the 1903 .30-06 Springfield rifle (never understood why the Bureau was still using this WW I rifle), the .45 Thompson Submachine gun and the Remington 870 shotgun. The FBI had great outdoor ranges for each of the different weapons. For some of us, this was the best part of the 14 week training.


Our counselor explained to us that everyone must wear a hat while in Washington because DIRECTOR HOOVER believed that all professionals wore a hat with their dark suits and white shirts. We all bought pretty much the same fedora at a clothing store in Quantico. When we returned to Washington, we were the only ones in town wearing hats. When we made the frequent walk from the DOJ Building to the Old Post Office and back to attend classes, we stood out like a sore thumb with our identical hats, dark suits, white shirts and all carrying identical leather government briefcases.  This scene was later parodied in a 1967 James Coburn movie, "The President's Analyst"


Four of us rented an apartment in Arlington and drove in every day for classes in Washington, which were held in the DOJ Building and The Old Post Office, which was in a terrible state of disrepair before its first renovation in 1977. Our class alternated between Quantico and Washington during the 14 weeks training.  EFRAM ZIMBLAST, JR attended several of our classes in Washington and firearms in Quantico as he was preparing for the television show, The FBI, which started in September 1965.


The most memorable teacher during this period was CHARLIE DONELAN, who led the legal training.   He was very humorous with his melancholic (his favorite word) factual situations calling for a legal solution. He was an excellent teacher. The 20 member class ultimately met and shook hands with DIRECTOR HOOVER in his office, making sure we had dry palms as the DIRECTOR did not like damp, clammy handshakes.  The only time that we observed the counselor become nervous.  A few days later we heard the rumor that in one of the classes, after the ritual hand shaking, DIRECTOR HOOVER had told the counselor to "get rid of the guy with the funny shaped head". Since the counselor had no idea which agent HOOVER meant, the counselor looked at all of the hat sizes to find one out of the ordinary. At any rate, we did not lose any class member and we chalked the story up to the numerous HOOVER rumors.


We eventually received our first office assignments, following DIRECTOR HOOVER'S mandate that each agent was sent to a different part of the country from which he came; i.e. north to south and vice versa. This was especially so since the NOVEMBER 1964 flare up between MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR and DIRECTOR HOOVER. KING had publicly claimed the FBI was not doing its job on civil rights in the South because all of the agents there were from the South. DIRECTOR HOOVER responded by publicly calling KING the "most notorious liar in the country" and pointed out that his policy had long been to assign northern agents to the South. True to form, the Yankees in our class all got assigned to southern offices and we southerners were sent north. Only one was sent west, to San Diego.


Times were much more simple fifty years ago.




Cincinnati; Columbus RA; Defense Language Institute, Monterey, CA; New York City; San Juan, P.R.


Hardin Quoted By IBTimes

Hal HardinNAFUSA Director Hal Hardin was quoted in the February 27, 2015, issue of the International Business Times. The article, "Amid Federal Corruption Probe, Andrew Cuomo Administration Purges State Government Emails", discusses the reported mass purging of email records by the Cuomo administration. The IBTimes interviewed a number of former prosecutors and open-government advocates.


"The government belongs to the people and the government has to be transparent," said Hal Hardin, a former judge and U.S. Attorney who famously investigated Gov. Ray Blanton of Tennessee. "Citizens ought to be able to know what our government is doing. The average email generated by a government owned by the people should be available to the people."


 Click here to read the entire IBTimes article.



Phillips Memorial Service Held in Jackson

A memorial service was held on February 3, 2015, in Jackson, Mississippi, for George Landon Phillips, former United States Attorney, 1980-1994, who passed away on January 26, 2015. (See January 27 obituary in the February newsletter). Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant was the keynote speaker. NAFUSA member James Tucker spoke at the service and presented to George's wife, Nicole, the American flag that flown over Main Justice in George's honor.


In the photo shown below, Tucker is making his presentation and the flag, within its case, can be seen sitting on the chair.




In the next photo, Tucker is presenting the flag to Nicole Phillips. It has been a NAFUSA tradition upon the death of a former U.S. Attorney to arrange with EOUSA to have flag flown over Main Justice in his or her honor, then boxed in a beautiful display case and presented to the family. This tradition began during the time when Marshall Jarrett was the director of EOUSA and has continued under Director Monty Wilkinson. Our special thanks to Im Saovaluk at EOUSA for her special assistance in making this happen.

James Tucker


In the final photo, a group of U.S. Attorneys are attending an LECC subcommittee meeting of the AGAC several years ago.

LECC Subcommittee
Former U.S. Attorneys: George Phillips (SDMS), John Smietanka (WDMI), John Gill (MDTN), Sam Currin (EDNC), Rich Stacy (WY) and Dick Cohen (ME)




Phil Modlin Dies, 88

Phil ModlinPhilip Hodgkin Modlin, former EOUSA director (1970-1975) passed away peacefully at age 88 on February 4, 2015. He had lung cancer. He is survived by two children, Melanie Modlin of Takoma Park, MD and Ann Modlin Boehm (Scott) of Alexandria, VA.


As reported in Modlin's obituary,

Born in Jamestown, North Carolina on October 9, 1926, Modlin heard the call of adventure at an early age. As a teenager, he hitchhiked to New York, Los Angeles and other fabled American places. A talented violinist and an ardent movie fan, his initial plan was to be a studio musician in Hollywood. That dream took him to the University of Michigan, where he pledged Sigma Chi and commenced to study music. Grasping that his true talents lay elsewhere, he transferred to High Point (N.C.) College, earning his A.B. degree in 1947. His sharp intelligence and powers of analysis helped him attend the George Washington University law school. and earn his J.D. degree from the University of North Carolina in 1950.


Modlin was proud of the fact that he held 67 jobs during his lifetime, including soap wrapper, golf course starter and magistrate for the city of Alexandria. With that unique frame of reference, he was often hailed by those who knew him as an insightful career coach.


Philip Modlin found his greatest job satisfaction at the U.S. Department of Justice, where he served with distinction for 25 years. During his career, he played an integral part in the creation of the Attorney General's Honor Program and Advocacy Institute. In 1970, he became Director of the Executive Office for United States Attorneys, where he hired and worked with many future legal luminaries. Another of his later duties, which he relished, was to advise U.S. Attorneys General on judicial appointments. He traveled often to Capitol Hill to meet with senators, striking up an especially warm working relationship with Sen. James Eastland (D-Miss.), the powerful head of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Toward the end of his Justice career, he served as the primary Deputy Associate Attorney General. 

A memorial service was held at Trinity United Methodist Church, Alexandria, VA on Tuesday, February 10, 2015.  



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2015 Dues payable February 28
NAFUSA membership dues were payable by February 28, 2015. If you have not paid your 2015 dues, you are in arrears.

Dues remain at $150 for regular members, $1500 for lifetime and $50 for seniors (fully retired and over 70). 

If you have not yet paid your 2015 dues, please register online by clicking on the red link below. You may pay by credit card or mail a check. Please fill out the online registration even if mailing a check. 

Greg Scott has become the latest lifetime member.  A full list of lifetime members can be reviewed here. Lifetime members do not need to fill out the 2015 registration form. 

Brad Pigott (SD Mississippi 1994-2001) has become the newest regular member.

The NAFUSA Foundation, a separate 501(c)(3) tax-deductible entity, has announced it will undertake a project to fund grants to U.S. Attorney Offices throughout the country to fund projects not normally paid by DOJ but consistent with NAFUSA principles. The NAFUSA board voted to transfer $25,000 of NAFUSA funds to the Foundation as seed money for this important initiative.

Please consider making a separate tax-deductible contribution to the Foundation for this purpose.  As the Foundation has a separate bank account, contributions cannot be processed on the same credit card used for dues payment, as that process is linked to the NAFUSA bank account. Contributions should be made by check payable to 
NAFUSA Foundation and mailed to 27 Oakland Park Blvd, Pleasant Ridge, MI 48069. If you wish to use a credit card, call Rich Rossman at 248.548.8289 and he can process your contribution manually over the phone. 

Scottsdale Conference
Mark your calendar for October 15-18 at The Phoenician in Scottsdale. Please consider having your firm sponsor the Scottsdale conference, joining the four listed below. Sponsorships begin at $5K, which include 2 complimentary conference registrations. $10K sponsors receive 4 registrations. $15K sponsors have events named in their honor. Contact Executive Director Rich Rossman if interested.
2015 Sponsors

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National Association of Former United States Attorneys (NAFUSA).
Richard A. Rossman
Executive Director
27 Oakland Park
Pleasant Ridge, Michigan 48069
Phone: 248-548-8289