State Still Waiting for New U.S. Attorneys
The commission that nominates three U.S. Attorneys and two U.S. District Judges in Florida named finalists for those jobs at the end of July, but the Obama administration has still not sent names to the Senate for confirmation.
So far, the Senate has confirmed 21 new U.S. attorneys out of 93 nationwide and seven more have been nominated. Typically, a new President names new U.S. attorneys for all of the districts when he assumes office. Judgeship openings are based on pending retirements or resignations. Four district judgeships have been confirmed nationally and nine more federal district judges have been nominated since Obama took office.
The Northern District of Florida stretches from Escambia county to the middle of the Panhandle and down toward Alachua County. The Middle District of Florida runs from Hamilton County over to the eastern coast and diagonally down toward Collier County in Southwest Florida. And the Southern District encompasses the major metropolitan counties of Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach as well as some other smaller South Florida counties.
The following people are finalists for some of the top federal legal jobs within the state.
Northern District of Florida – U.S. Attorney
Thomas Findley is a private practice attorney in Tallahassee, whose areas of practice include Complex Commercial and Tort Litigation, white collar criminal defense, civil RICO, antitrust, false claims, and state and local taxation. Thomas Kirwin is the current acting U.S. Attorney for the district, and is a holdover appointee of President George W. Bush. He served briefly as acting U.S. Attorney in 2001 until Gregory Miller was named as the permanent U.S. attorney in 2002. He returned to the acting U.S. Attorney slot in 2008 when Miller resigned. His latest big case was the indictment of a University of Florida professor and his wife, who were accused of bilking NASA, the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Navy out of millions of dollars in phony contract work.
Pamela Marsh works with the law firm of Akerman Senterfitt in Tallahassee focuses on appellate law, white collar crime and government investigations. Prio to joining Akerman, she served as assistant U.S. Attorney in the Tampa division for the Middle District of Florida.
Middle District of Florida – U.S. Attorney
Roger Handberg is an assistant U.S. attorney in the Middle District who runs the Orlando office. In addition to working on cases involving threats on MySpace and child pornography, he also prosecuted former boy band promoter Lou Pearlman on defrauding investors.
Robert O'Neill is a former U.S. attorney and now is chief of the criminal division in the federal prosecutor’s office. He served as U.S. attorney when 80 individuals involved in various marriage fraud conspiracies throughout Florida were arrested .
Harry Shorstein is the former state attorney in Jacksonville now in private practice. He was one of a few Democrats in a Republican stronghold. His successor, Angela Corey, ran on an anti-Shorstein platform and is not on friendly terms with him. She has opposed his nomination.
Middle District of Florida – District Judge
Roy Dalton is an Orlando lawyer who specializes in civil litigation, personal injury and wrongful death cases.
Brian Davis is a circuit judge in Nassau County.
Elizabeth Jenkins is a magistrate judge with the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida in Tampa. She has served there since 1985.
Southern District of Florida-- U.S. Attorney
David Buckner is a shareholder at Miami's Kozyak, Trop, Throckmorton law firm and also served as an assistant U.S. attorney from 1998 to 2006. His key practice areas are in class action litigation, antitrust, and securities fraud.
Wilfredo Ferrer is an assistant Miami-Dade County prosecutor who also served as assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District from 2000 to 2006. His specialties include torts and medical malpractice and federal litigation and elections.
Daryl Trawick is a circuit judge in the criminal division in Miami. He came under scrutiny a few years ago when the Miami Herald discovered he had instructed the clerk's office to alter the public court docket in 2002 at the request of state prosecutors who wanted to protect a drug informant.
Southern District of Florida – District Judge
Jerald Bagley is a circuit court judge in Miami-Dade County in the general jurisdiction division.
Robert Scola, Jr. is a circuit judge in Miami-Dade County in the family division. He worked as an assistant state attorney from 1980 to 1986.
Kathleen Williams is a long time federal public defender in the Southern District of Florida. She spent four years as assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District and five years as the Chief Assistant Federal Public Defender before assuming the top job. She has been the federal public defender for the district since 1995.