Durbin Forwards Recommendations for US Attorneys and US Marshals to White House

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today forwarded a list of names to the White House to consider when filling four positions for U.S. Attorneys and U.S. Marshals in Central and Southern Illinois.


Based on recommendations made by bipartisan screening committees in the state, Durbin has forwarded the names of the following ten individuals to the President for consideration:


For U.S. Attorney in the Central District of Illinois: Gregory Harris and James Lewis


For U.S. Marshal in the Central District of Illinois: Kenneth Bohac, Brent Fischer and Robert Moore


For U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of Illinois: A. Courtney Cox and Stephen Wigginton


For U.S. Marshal in the Southern District of Illinois: Jack Fox, Don Slazinik and Richard Watson


“Making recommendations to the White House on U.S. Attorneys, federal marshals and judicial nominees is one of the most important jobs I have as a U.S. Senator, and I am pleased that we had so many highly qualified applicants for these posts,” said Durbin. “The screening committees worked diligently to evaluate each application and I met personally with those applicants the committees thought were particularly noteworthy. I am proud to forward these ten names to President Obama – all of whom are well-qualified individuals who have proven track records in their fields. Each of them will make an outstanding appointment if they are selected.”


Traditionally the President consults with the state’s senior senator when making judicial and U.S. Attorney/U.S. Marshal appointments. In April, Durbin established three bipartisan screening committees to assist in selecting Federal District Court Judges, U.S. Attorneys, and U.S. Marshals for Illinois. The screening committees are comprised of 22 distinguished Illinoisans drawn from various aspects of the legal profession and include former judges, prominent litigators, law professors, bar association leaders, former prosecutors and defenders.


Members of the screening committees met throughout the spring and early summer, reviewing applications and references, and conducting interviews. In total, they reviewed nearly 150 applications for three Federal District Court Judge positions in the Northern District; the U.S. Attorney positions in the Central District and Southern District; and the U.S. Marshal positions in all three Districts. The screening committees recommended the names of several individuals for each vacancy.


Durbin reviewed the screening committees’ recommendations, conducted interviews of finalists, and, in consultation with members of the Illinois Congressional delegation, today submitted his recommendations to the President, who will make the final decisions on nominees. The White House has asked for multiple recommendations for each position.


Once the President submits a nomination to the U.S. Senate, it will be reviewed by the Senate Judiciary Committee, of which Senator Durbin is a member and the nominee will ultimately receive a vote in the committee. If the nomination is approved by the Judiciary Committee, the nominee will receive a vote by the full Senate.


The average length of time between date of nomination and date of confirmation for U.S. Attorney and U.S. Marshal nominees is typically two to four months. U.S. Attorney and U.S. Marshals are typically confirmed more quickly than judicial nominees because they do not require a formal confirmation hearing.


Today’s announcement pertains only to nominations for the Central District and Southern District. Durbin’s recommendations to fill the judicial vacancies and U.S. Marshal position in the Northern District will be announced in late July or early August.


Biographical descriptions of those recommended by Senator Durbin today follow (all names are listed in alphabetical order by position):


Gregory Harris - Mr. Harris has served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Central District of Illinois since 2001, and he has served as the Chief of the Criminal Division in that office. Mr. Harris also served as an AUSA in that office from 1980-1988. From 1988-2001, he was a litigator at the Springfield law firm of Giffin, Winning, Cohen & Bodewes. From 1976-1979, he worked in the Office of the State Appellate Defender. Mr. Harris has been a board member of several organizations and has received numerous awards for his work as a federal prosecutor.


James Lewis - Mr. Lewis has served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Central District of Illinois since 1983, and he has served as the Chief of the Civil Division for over 20 years. Previously, he worked as a trial attorney in the Civil Division at the U.S. Department of Justice, as a law professor, and as a civil rights lawyer in Mississippi. Mr. Lewis has been a board member of several organizations and has received several awards for his work.


Kenneth Bohac - Mr. Bohac served as a Deputy U.S. Marshal in Urbana, Illinois from 1998-2007, and since 2007 he has served as a Deputy U.S. Marshal and Judicial Security Inspector in Lexington, Kentucky. From 1995-1998, he served as a Deputy U.S. Marshal in Chicago. Mr. Bohac served a six-month tour in Iraq as a member of the Special Operations Group of the U.S. Marshal Service.


Brent Fischer - Mr. Fischer is the Sheriff in Adams County, Illinois, where he was elected in 1998 and re-elected in 2002 and 2006. He previously served as Deputy Sheriff from 1994-1998 and Court Security Officer from 1991-1994 in the Adams County Sheriff’s Office. He has been a community leader and has served on numerous boards and task forces.


Robert Moore - Mr. Moore served as the U.S. Marshal in the Central District of Illinois from 1994-2002. He subsequently served as the Chief of Police in Jackson, Mississippi from 2002-2005 and as a board member for several organizations in Springfield, Illinois. From 1987-1991, Mr. Moore was the Deputy Director and Chief of Internal Affairs in the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. He served as the Deputy Chief of Police in Savannah, Georgia from 1984-1987, and as a Special Agent Sergeant for the Illinois State Police from 1972-1984. He is a U.S. Army veteran.


A.Courtney Cox - Mr. Cox has served as the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois since November 2007, when he was appointed by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois. From 1984-2007, he worked in private practice at the Benton, Illinois law firm of Hart & Hart. He is past president of the Franklin County Bar Association.

Stephen Wigginton - Mr. Wigginton has been a partner at the law firm of Weilmuenster & Wigginton in Belleville, Illinois since 2000 and has served as a part-time felony prosecutor for the Madison County State’s Attorney’s Office since 1999. From 1992-2000, he worked as a litigator at law firms in Belleville and St. Louis, and from 1990-1992 he served as a criminal prosecutor in the Circuit Attorney’s Office in St. Louis. Mr. Wigginton has been a leader in the Illinois State Bar Association and Illinois Trial Lawyers Association, and he has received numerous awards for his pro bono services.


Jack Fox - Mr. Fox has served as the Deputy Federal Security Director of the Transportation Security Administration in the Department of Homeland Security since 2005, based at Lambert St. Louis International Airport. From 1975-2003, he worked for the U.S. Secret Service and served as the Resident Agent in Charge in Springfield, Illinois from 1991-2003. He has received numerous awards for his service. Mr. Fox was a reserve in the U.S. Air Force from 1965-1971.


Don Slazinik - Mr. Slazinik has served as the U.S. Marshal for the Southern District of Illinois since 2002. From 1986-2002, he was the Chief of Police for the O’Fallon Police Department. Prior to that, Mr. Slazinik served as Police Chief in both Poplar Bluff, Missouri and Storm Lake, Iowa. He served in the U.S. Army and in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1960’s and 1970’s. He has won numerous awards for his work in law enforcement.


Richard Watson - Mr. Watson has been the Chief of Police of the Village of Cahokia Police Department since 2003. He served as a Master Sergeant and police officer in that department from 1979-2003. He has been a leader of several local organizations and law enforcement task forces.