Director of United States Attorneys: Who is H. Marshall Jarrett?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

On April 8, 2009, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that he was appointing H. Marshall Jarrett, since 1998 the Chief Counsel and Director of the Justice Department’s Office of Professional

Responsibility (OPR), the new Director of the Office of United States Attorneys, which has direct supervisory responsibility over the 94 United States Attorneys offices in the US and its territories. 
Born in 1945 in Bluefield, West Virginia, H. Marshall Jarrett earned his BA in 1966 from West Virginia University and his law degree in 1969 from the WVU College of Law. Jarrett has worked as a government attorney for most of his career, starting as a Deputy Attorney General for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania from 1973 to 1975. He commenced his federal career in 1975, when he was hired to be an Assistant U.S. Attorney (trial lawyer) in the Southern District of West Virginia.  In 1979 and 1980, he served as Deputy Director of the Enforcement Division of the Commodities Futures Trading Commission
In 1980, Jarrett joined the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section, prosecuting public officials for corruption, eventually rising to Deputy Chief.  During his tenure there, Jarrett prosecuted a variety of defendants, including CIA agents for stealing government funds, the chairman of Kentucky’s Democratic Party for an insurance mail fraud and tax scheme, and a Mississippi sheriff for drug trafficking. In 1988, he became Chief of the Criminal Division for Washington DC, managing high-profile prosecutions, including those of Mayor Marion Barry and Congressman Dan Rostenkowski.  In 1997, Jarrett became an Associate Deputy Attorney General, before being named as Chief Counsel of OPR in 1998. As a sidelight, in 2008, Jarrett was a finalist for the job of Dean of the West Virginia University College of Law.
AT OPR, Jarrett investigated several scandals and controversies involving DOJ attorneys, including allegations that Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez lied in sworn testimony to Congress; that Gonzalez or others fired nine US attorneys based on political considerations; that Gonzalez or other highly-placed DOJ officials unlawfully hired attorneys based on partisan political considerations; that DOJ attorneys acted improperly in creating and overseeing the National Security Agency’s warrantless eavesdropping program; and whether DOJ attorneys acted professionally in approving the legality of the use of torture, including waterboarding, in interrogating suspected terrorists. The first two investigations have yet to be completed. The look into hiring practices found that high officials had broken civil service laws, violated department policy and engaged in “misconduct” by hiring based on politics and whether an applicant was a Christian. The NSA investigation was torpedoed by President Bush’s refusal to grant Jarrett and his attorneys the security clearances they needed to perform the investigation. The final probe determined that DOJ attorneys acted unprofessionally in approving the use of torture by ignoring key precedents. 
- Matt Bewig
Gonzales: Bush Blocked Wiretap Probe (by Rob Hendin and Stephanie Lambidakis, CBS News)


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