United States Attorney


United States Attorney

United States Attorneys (also known as federal prosecutors) represent the United States federal government in United States district court and United States court of appeals. There are 93 U.S. Attorneys stationed throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands. One U.S. Attorney is assigned to each of the judicial districts, with the exception of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands where a single U.S. Attorney serves both districts. Each U.S. Attorney is the chief federal law enforcement officer within his or her particular jurisdiction, acting under the guidance of the "United States Attorneys' Manual". [ [http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/eousa/foia_reading_room/usam/index.html "US Attorneys' Manual"] ] They supervise district offices of as many as 350 assistant U.S. attorneys, with as many as 350 more support personnel. [ [http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/dc/About_Us/index.html United States Attorney Office for the District of Columbia] . Retrieved November 10, 2007.] U.S. Attorneys and their offices are part of the Department of Justice. U.S. Attorneys receive oversight, supervision and administrative support services through the Justice Department's Executive Office for United States Attorneys. Selected U.S. Attorneys participate in the Attorney General's Advisory Committee of United States Attorneys.

History and statutory authority

The Office of the United States Attorney and was created by the which also specified the structure of the Supreme Court of the United States, and established inferior courts making up the United States Federal Judiciary, along with a district court system. The office of U.S. Attorney is older than the Department of Justice. The Judiciary Act of 1789 provided for the appointment in each judicial district of a "Person learned in the law to act as attorney for the United States...whose duty it shall be to prosecute in each district all delinquents for crimes and offenses cognizable under the authority of the United States, and all civil actions in which the United States shall be concerned..." Prior to the existence of the Department of Justice, the U.S. attorneys were independent of the Attorney General, and did not come under the AG's supervision and authority until 1870, with the creation of the Department of Justice.cite book | last = Sisk | first = Gregory C. | authorlink = | coauthors = 2nd Edition Editors: John Steadman, David Schwartz &, Sidney B. Jacoby. | title = Litigation With the Federal Government (2nd Edition) | publisher = ALI-ABA (American Law Institute - American Bar Association)| date = 2006 | location = | pages = pages 12 - 14 | url = | doi = | id = | isbn = 0831808659 [http://books.google.com/books?id=CAGAbqFfPyMC&printsec=frontcover&dq=united+states+attorneys+office+%22staff+size%22#PPR19,M1 Partial access online] ]

Appointment

The U.S. Attorney is appointed by the President of the United States [usc|28|541(a).] for a term of four years, [usc|28|541(b).] with appointments subject to confirmation by the Senate. A U.S. Attorney shall continue in office, beyond the appointed term, until a successor is appointed and qualified. [USC|28|541(b)] By law, each United States attorney is subject to removal by the President. [usc|28|541(c).] The Attorney General has had the authority since 1986 to appoint interim U.S. Attorneys to fill a vacancy.

United States Attorneys controversy

The governing statute, USC|28|546 provided, up until March 9, 2007:

(c) A person appointed as United States attorney under this section may serve until the earlier of—:(1) the qualification of a United States attorney for such district appointed by the President under section 541 of this title; or:(2) the expiration of 120 days after appointment by the Attorney General under this section.(d) If an appointment expires under subsection (c)(2), the district court for such district may appoint a United States attorney to serve until the vacancy is filled. The order of appointment by the court shall be filed with the clerk of the court.
On March 9, 2006, President George W. Bush signed into law the USA PATRIOT Act [ [http://uspolitics.about.com/od/legislation/l/pl_109-177_march2006.pdf E:PUBLAWPUBL177.109 ] ] which amended Section 546 by striking subsections (c) and (d) and inserting the following new subsection:
(c) A person appointed as United States attorney under this section may serve until the qualification of a United States Attorney for such district appointed by the President under section 541 of this title.
This, in effect, extinguished the 120 day limit on interim U.S. Attorneys, and their appointment had an indefinite term. If the president failed to put forward any nominee to the Senate, then the Senate confirmation process was avoided, as the Attorney General-appointed interim U.S. Attorney could continue in office without limit or further action. Related to the dismissal of U.S. attorneys controversy, in March 2007 the Senate and the House voted to overturn the amendments of the USA PATRIOT Act to the interim appointment statute. The bill was signed by President G.W. Bush, and became law in June 2007. [] []

History of interim U.S. Attorney appointments

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D, California), summarized the history of interim United States Attorney appointments, on March 19, 2007 in the Senate. ["Congressional Record", March 19, 2007, USCongRec|2007|S3240 -S3241)] cquote|When first looking into this issue, I found that the statutes had given the courts the authority to appoint an interim U.S. attorney and that this dated back as far as the Civil War. Specifically, the authority was first vested with the circuit courts in March of 1863.

Then, in 1898, a House of Representatives report explained that while Congress believed it was important to have the courts appoint an interim U.S. attorney:

‘There was a problem relying on circuit courts since the circuit justice is not always to be found in the circuit and time is wasted in ascertaining his whereabouts.’

Therefore, at that time, the interim appointment authority was switched to the district courts; that is, in 1898 it was switched to the district courts.

Thus, for almost 100 years, the district courts were in charge of appointing interim U. S. attorneys, and they did so with virtually no problems. This structure was left undisturbed until 1986 when the statute was changed during the Reagan administration. In a bill that was introduced by Senator Strom Thurmond, the statute was changed to give the appointment authority to the Attorney General, but even then it was restricted and the Attorney General had a 120-day time limit. After that time, if a nominee was not confirmed, the district courts would appoint an interim U.S. attorney. The adoption of this language was part of a larger package that was billed as technical amendments to criminal law, and thus there was no recorded debate in either the House or the Senate and both Chambers passed the bill by voice vote.

Then, 20 years later, in March 2006 — again without much debate and again as a part of a larger package — a statutory change was inserted into the PATRIOT Act reauthorization. This time, the Executive's power was expanded even further, giving the Attorney General the authority to appoint an interim replacement indefinitely and without Senate confirmation.

Role of U.S. Attorneys

The U.S Attorney is both the primary representative and the administrative head of the "Office of the U.S. Attorney" for the district. The U.S. Attorney's Office (USAO) is the chief prosecutor for the United States in criminal law cases, and represents the United States in civil law cases as either the defendant or plaintiff, as appropriate. [see generally usc|28|547] [ [http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/eousa/foia_reading_room/usam/title1/2mdoj.htm#1-2.500 "US Attorneys' Manual", Title 1, section 1-2.500] ]

The U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia has the additional responsibility of prosecuting local criminal cases in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, the equivalent of a municipal court for the national capital.

Executive Office for United States Attorneys

The Executive Office for United States Attorneys (EOUSA) [ [http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/eousa/foia_reading_room/usam/title3/title3.htm "US Attorneys' Manual", Title 3] ] provides the administrative support for the 93 United States Attorneys (encompassing 94 United States Attorneys' offices, as the Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands has a single U.S. Attorney for both districts), including:

* general executive assistance and direction,
* policy development,
* administrative management direction and oversight,
* operational support,
* coordination with other components of the United States Department of Justice and other federal agencies.

These responsibilities include certain legal, budgetary, administrative, and personnel services, as well as legal education.

The EOUSA was created on April 6, 1953, by Attorney General Order No. 8-53 to provide for close liaison between the Department of Justice in Washington, DC, and the 93 U.S. attorneys located throughout the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. It was organized by Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals judge James R. Browning, who also served as its first chief.

List of current U.S. Attorneys' offices

#U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama
#U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama
#U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama
#U.S. Attorney for the District of Alaska
#U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona
#U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas
#U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas
#U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California
#U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California
#U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California
#U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California
#U.S. Attorney for the District of Colorado
#U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut
#U.S. Attorney for the District of Delaware
#U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia
#U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Florida
#U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Florida
#U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida
#U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia
#U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia
#U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia
#U.S. Attorney for the Districts of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands
#U.S. Attorney for the District of Hawaii
#U.S. Attorney for the District of Idaho
#U.S. Attorney for the Central District of Illinois
#U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois
#U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois
#U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Indiana
#U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana
#U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Iowa
#U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa
#U.S. Attorney for the District of Kansas
#U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky
#U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Kentucky
#U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana
#U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Louisiana
#U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana
#U.S. Attorney for the District of Maine
#U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland
#U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts
#U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan
#U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan
#U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota
#U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Mississippi
#U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi
#U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri
#U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri
#U.S. Attorney for the District of Montana
#U.S. Attorney for the District of Nebraska
#U.S. Attorney for the District of Nevada
#U.S. Attorney for the District of New Hampshire
#U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey
#U.S. Attorney for the District of New Mexico
#U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York
#U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of New York
#U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York
#U.S. Attorney for the Western District of New York
#U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina
#U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of North Carolina
#U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina
#U.S. Attorney for the District of North Dakota
#U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio
#U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio
#U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Oklahoma
#U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Oklahoma
#U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma
#U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon
#U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
#U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania
#U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania
#U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico
#U.S. Attorney for the District of Rhode Island
#U.S. Attorney for the District of South Carolina
#U.S. Attorney for the District of South Dakota
#U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee
#U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee
#U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee
#U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Texas
#U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas
#U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Texas
#U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas
#U.S. Attorney for the District of Utah
#U.S. Attorney for the District of Vermont
#U.S. Attorney for the District of the Virgin Islands
#U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia
#U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Virginia
#U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington
#U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington
#U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of West Virginia
#U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia
#U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin
#U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin
#U.S. Attorney for the District of Wyoming

Defunct U.S. Attorney's offices

* U.S. Attorney for the District of Michigan
* U.S. Attorney for the Western District of South Carolina
* U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of South Carolina

ee also

* Dismissal of U.S. attorneys controversy
* United States Attorney General
* United States Department of Justice

References

External links

* [http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/ United States Attorneys Mission Statement]
* [http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/eousa/foia_reading_room/usam/ United States Attorneys' Manual]
* [http://www.usdoj.gov/olc/termstart.htm Memorandum on Starting Date for Calculating the Term of an Interim U.S. Attorney]
* [http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/dc/Divisions/index.html D.C. Superior Court Division]
* [http://www.prosecutor.info Index of prosecuting offices in all state and federal jurisdictions, and some foreign jurisdictions.]


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