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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Ind. Courts - Filling vacancies in U.S. prosecutor positions [Updated]

This Feb. 13th ILB post linked to Ind. Senator Todd Young's page providing information for qualified individuals who would like to be considered for an appointment as a federal judge, U.S. Attorney, or U.S. Marshall. Included in the information:

Indiana has two U.S. Attorney vacancies: one in the Northern District and one in the Southern District. Qualified individuals can apply for these positions by downloading the application form here and returning it following the instructions on the form prior to the March 13, 2017 deadline.
Ryan Martin of the Indianapolis Star reports today:
Monday marked the last day for applications to Sen. Todd Young's office for eight federal criminal justice vacancies in Indiana, including both U.S. Attorney posts. As Indiana's only senator in President Donald Trump's party, Young is expected to make recommendations to the White House.

By the middle of the week, Young will begin looking through applications before deciding whom to interview, said Jay Kenworthy, a spokesman for Young.

"We've had several qualified applicants come in already." Kenworthy said.

After that, Young will make his recommendations to Trump. The process could take several weeks, Kenworthy said. Young's office declined to say how many applications have been submitted.

Monday's deadline came just days after the Trump administration asked for the resignation of 46 U.S. Attorneys who were appointed during prior presidential administrations. One U.S. Attorney in Indiana was asked to resign; the other was not.

ILB: Of course, one (Capp) was appointed by President Obama, one (Minkler) was appointed by the federal court to fill in after Hogsett resigned:
Josh Minkler remains U.S. Attorney in Indiana's southern district, which covers 60 counties including Marion County. A career employee, he stepped in to run the office after former U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett resigned in 2014 before running for mayor of Indianapolis.

Minkler, a Muncie man who attended law school at Indiana University, has worked in the office for 22 years. In June 2015, Minkler was officially appointed by the federal court, which can happen in the absence of a presidential appointment. * * *

David Capp, whose district spanned 32 counties in northern Indiana, announced his resignation Saturday at Trump's request. After leading the office on an interim basis since 2007, he was nominated by President Barack Obama in 2009 and confirmed in 2010.

Capp, who worked 31 years in the office, said in a statement that he had planned to retire in June.

BuzzFeed has a story by Zoe Tillman headed "Half Of All US Attorneys Were Asked To Resign Last Week. What About The Rest?" Some quotes:
The Trump administration on Friday demanded resignations from 46 US attorneys who were holdovers from the Obama administration.
There are 93 US attorneys nationwide, though. So what happened to the other 47?

None were affected by the resignation request.

Before this past Friday’s move, 16 US attorneys had left their posts since the November election — according to information obtained by BuzzFeed News through a review of available records and discussions with US attorneys’ offices — leaving acting US attorneys heading those offices.

The other 31 US attorney’s offices have been run by acting or specially appointed US attorneys since before the election — and they’ve all kept their jobs for now
The US attorney positions in their districts are still officially vacant — these officials are serving as placeholders until Trump can name his nominees and get them confirmed by the US Senate.

There is a lot of useful background information in the long story, including:
When a presidentially nominated and Senate-confirmed US attorney resigns, the first assistant US attorney automatically becomes the acting US attorney under federal law. They can hold that job for up to 210 days. There were 19 acting US attorneys before Friday’s resignations.

Once there’s a vacancy, the attorney general also has the option of appointing an interim US attorney. That appointment, however, expires after 120 days. At that point, the US district court for that area can appoint a US attorney to serve indefinitely until the president fills the vacancy with a Senate-confirmed official.

Before Friday, there were 28 US attorneys appointed by an attorney general or a court. At least 21 were appointed by Lynch in 2015 or 2016, and most of them are now serving by court order because the 120-day period passed. The US attorney for Puerto Rico, Rosa Rodriguez-Velez, was appointed interim US attorney in 2006 — under the George W. Bush administration — and has been serving by court order since 2007. The appointment dates for the other six interim US attorneys couldn’t be confirmed as of Monday afternoon.

[Updated] From WANE, this story confirms that "the first assistant US attorney automatically becomes the acting US attorney."
Clifford D. Johnson replaces David Capp, who resigned Friday after U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions asked for the resignations of the federal prosecutors who had been appointed by the Obama Administration. Johnson, the northern district’s First Assistant since August 2007, was promoted through rules included in the Vacancies Reform Act. * * *

Johnson joined the U.S. Attorney’s office as a Civil Assistant United States Attorney in January 1986. He served as the office’s Civil Division Chief before moving on to First Assistant. He also worked as a trial attorney in the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division.

Johnson earned his B.A. degree from Valparaiso University in May 1976 and his law degree from Valparaiso University School of Law in May 1980.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on March 14, 2017 09:10 AM
Posted to Indiana Courts