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The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia is hiring aggressively for the first time in nearly five years, thanks to a $60 million budget infusion in fiscal year 2007. Last month alone, the office announced 12 new hires. (The Civil Division picked up three assistant U.S. attorneys, the domestic crimes misdemeanor unit three, the misdemeanor unit of the general crimes section three, the appellate division two, and the national security division one.) Last week, the office added Heather Carlton and Terry Eaton, both 32, to the appellate division and Harry “H.B.” Roback, 31, to the Civil Division. Interim U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Taylor, who has headed the office since 2006, has a proposal pending in the Justice Department to draft lawyers from private firms to cycle into the U.S. Attorney’s Office as special prosecutors in D.C. Superior Court. Of the office’s roughly 360 assistant U.S. attorney slots, about 40 were vacant throughout 2006 and much of 2007. To date, the number of openings stands at about 30, says an office spokesman. The same was true across the nation in recent years; as funding for U.S. attorney’s offices grew below inflation, prosecutions slumped, vacancies went unfilled, and some criminal investigations dragged for lack of resources. “Despite implementation of significant management and financial efficiencies, these shortfalls could only be made up by leaving positions vacant,” says Peter Carr, a Justice Department spokesman. In addition to the extra $60 million in 2007, the U.S. attorney’s offices will receive an additional $100 million in fiscal year 2008. For the D.C. office, that translates to a 9 percent budget increase. “We have strongly encouraged the D.C. office and other offices throughout the country to fill vacant positions as quickly and as prudently as possible,” Carr says.
Joe Palazzolo can be contacted at [email protected].

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