Obama Nominates U.S. Attorney for Colorado

As expected by many lawyers, including me, President Obama has nominated Stephanie Villafuerte, a former AUSA, former Denver Chief Deputy D.A. and current Deputy Chief of Staff to Colorado Governor Bill Ritter, to be the U.S. Attorney for Colorado.

I expect her to be confirmed easily and a popular choice. (Her focus as a state prosecutor was on domestic violence and child abuse.) Some background details are here. The other two lawyers up for consideration were:

John Walsh, a white-collar criminal and civil attorney from Hill & Robbins in Denver who previously worked for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California; and William “Bill” Thiebaut Jr., a district attorney for Pueblo, Colo. who previously served as the Colorado Senate majority leader.

Once again it shows how the U.S. Attorneys' job is a political plum. Villafuerte took a leave of absence from the DA's office to work on Ritter's gubernatorial campaign. She permanently left the DA's office to become his Deputy Chief of Staff. Ritter has been one of Obama's strongest supporters. And so it goes. At least she's up to the task. [More...]

I had a case with Stephanie when she was still in the DA's office that went on for a few years. While she was much tougher than I thought the case called for, she was ethical and (unfortunately for my client)true to her word. She never budged from her position. I also think Ritter was a very principled D.A. and supported him for re-election to that office and later as Governor. So, bottom line, my job will probably get tougher with Stephanie as U.S. Attorney, but she's qualified, principled and deserving of the job.

< The South Ossetia Conflict: Georgia Started It | Wednesday Night Open Thread >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    When the top atty changes... (none / 0) (#1)
    by magster on Wed Sep 30, 2009 at 06:07:02 PM EST
    with a new administration, does he/she clean house or do the assistant attorneys and plea offer practices/habits stay the same?  

    Assistant US Attys (none / 0) (#2)
    by Peter G on Wed Sep 30, 2009 at 09:19:55 PM EST
    are career federal employees who hopefully were not hired for political reasons, and cannot properly be fired for such reasons.  The new US Atty can and often does name new supervisors within the office, however. This can cause (and is sometimes designed to cause) those who don't like the new regime to leave.  Except to the extent dictated from Washington, she can and does often change office policies including those on deferred prosecution, charging and bargaining policy, sentencing recommendations, "standard" proffer terms, etc.  If the old assistants can't abide by the new policies, they resign and find another job.

    The U.S. Attorney will often bring (none / 0) (#3)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Sep 30, 2009 at 10:17:14 PM EST
    a new First Assistant with them, but as Peter says, career prosecutors can't get fired. The AUSA jobs are not supposed to be political, it's just the top spot.

    Also, the US Attorney is supposed to follow the priorites set by the Attorney General, so I think it will be Holder's priorities (and Obama's) we see get the most emphasis.


    You scratch my back... (none / 0) (#4)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Thu Oct 01, 2009 at 09:29:51 AM EST
    ...and I'll scratch yours.  The cirle is complete and around and around again we go.