Alums tapped to be U.S. attorneys

by Emily Goodell | 7/13/09 10:00pm

Steven Dettelbach '88
by Courtesy of / The Dartmouth

Loeffler is currently serving as interim U.S. attorney in Alaska, a position she took in March after the previous interim U.S. attorney returned to his post in Pittsburgh, Pa., she said in an interview with The Dartmouth. Prior to her appointment, Loeffler had worked at the U.S. attorney's office for 21 years, most recently serving in the position of assistant U.S. attorney, she said.

The U.S. attorney serves as the chief federal prosecutor for the district in which they serve, according to Loeffler.

"Karen [Loeffler] has the breadth of criminal and civil law experience in our state which will make her an excellent US. Attorney," Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, who recommended Loeffler for the position, said in a statement acknowledging Obama's announcement. "She is a long-time Alaskan who is active in her community and has a no-nonsense approach to the law we need in Alaska's top federal law enforcement officer."

At Dartmouth, Loeffler majored in government. She was a member of the ski team and served as captain of the tennis team, she said.

After leaving Dartmouth, Loeffler attended Harvard Law School, graduating in 1983. She later worked as a litigation associate at the Minneapolis law firm Faegre & Benson and was also an assistant attorney general in the Oil and Gas Division of the Alaska Attorney General's Office. From 1986 to 1989, Loeffler served as assistant district attorney for the State of Alaska and special assistant United States Attorney.

Dettelbach has been a partner at Baker & Hostetler in Cleveland, Ohio, since 2006 and is currently serving as a commissioner on the Ohio Ethics Commission. He served as assistant U.S. attorney in the Northern District of Ohio for three years and was an assistant U.S. attorney and deputy chief in the Southern District of Maryland. If he is confirmed, Dettelbach will resign immediately from his position and seek to be sworn in as a U.S. attorney, he said.

"The whole experience is humbling," Dettelbach said. "You just want to pinch yourself and make sure it's real."

As a federal prosecutor, Dettelbach was known for prosecuting Nate Gray, who bribed several public officials in Ohio including the former mayor of East Cleveland, according to As an attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice, Dettelbach was the lead prosecutor in a slavery case, in which 70 Thai women were allegedly held against their will and forced to work in a Los Angeles sweatshop, The Dartmouth previously reported.

During his freshman year at Dartmouth, Dettelbach was a junior varsity basketball player his freshman year, or a "wannabe Division 1 athlete," he said. He was also a sports commentator for WDCR and the co-founder of the AIDS-awareness group RAID, or Responsible AIDS Information at Dartmouth.

"Certainly [Dartmouth] was the place where I first learned that becoming active in your community was an important thing," he said. "The RAID experience was a big part of that, learning that it was important to try and make the place that you are living in better."

Dettelbach was recommended for the appointment by Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, The Dartmouth previously reported.

Because Obama has not yet formally made the nominations, the Senate Judiciary Committee has not scheduled time to discuss the candidates, according to David Carle, spokesman for Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. The nominations will be sent to the committee, which will review the paperwork associated with the nominations and vote on each one, after which Loeffler and Dettelbach will face a confirmation vote by the full Senate, Carle said. Hearings are not held for U.S. attorney appointments, he said.

Obama praised Loeffler and Dettelbach, along with other nominees, for their "dedication and accomplishments in both public service and private practice," in a White House press release. White House representatives declined to provide further comment.

"I am honored to nominate them as United States Attorneys and know that they will faithfully and tirelessly pursue justice on behalf of the American people." Obama said in the release.