President Barack Obama has nominated acting U.S. Attorney Deirdre Daly of Connecticut to serve in the position in a permanent capacity, the White House announced in a press release.
Daly’s nomination was sent to the U.S. Senate, where she must be confirmed.
Daly became acting U.S. attorney in May 2013, when former Wiggin and Dana partner David Fein stepped down with a year left in his four-year term to return to private legal practice. Daly leads an office of 64 assistant U.S. attorneys based in Bridgeport, New Haven and Hartford, and oversee prosecution of all federal cases in Connecticut and any civil cases involving the U.S. government. The office collects about $60 million in fines, settlements and forfeitures each year, Daly said, which is triple its $20 million budget.
Daly was outspoken about the impact last fall’s partial government shutdown had in delaying criminal investigations and civil cases. She said a key wiretap investigation had to be put off and criminal prosecutors worked without pay. Prosecutors handling civil court cases asked judges to put them on hold. There were also furloughs for members of the office’s support staff. “It’s undermining of the very critical law enforcement purpose that our office is dedicated to,” Daly said. “It’s deeply demoralizing.”
Also in the past year, Daly has supervised the prosecution of drug defendants arrested as part of Operation Bloodline. the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Drug Enforcement Agency and other law enforcement agencies rounded up 105 defendants following a massive investigation into narcotics sales and gang violence in New Haven.
Recently, Daly told the Law Tribune that there have already been 90 plea bargains, and more than half of the defendants have been sentenced. A few cases have gone to trial, all resulting in convictions.
“I think this is the biggest case that was ever brought in Connecticut in terms of the number of defendants. The vast majority of the defendants pled guilty,” Daly said in an interview. “A significant number of them had very serious and significant records. In terms of impact we have seen, the homicide rate in New Haven has declined precipitously. We’re not saying this case is entirely responsible for that, but this case is a significant contributor.”
Daly received her law degree in 1984 from Georgetown University Law Center and then served as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York from 1985 to 1997. She was a partner in the New York law firm of Gage & Pavlis from 1997 to 2001. After that, she partnered with her husband, Alfred Pavlis, in the Connecticut law firm of Daly & Pavlis from 2001 to 2010. In 2010, she became the first assistant U.S. attorney in Connecticut.