By Marinee Zavala
The Southern District of California swore in an interim U.S. Attorney on January 6 to fill the position which Laura E. Duffy, who left office for a seat in the San Diego Superior Court, held since June of 2010.
Alana Robinson, second-in-command at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, was appointed by U.S. Department of Justice officials to the position, this after Duffy resigned to accept her appointment by Governor Jerry Brown to the seat left open after Judge William Nevitt’s retirement.
“Alana’s proven leadership skills, intellect, and litigation experience will serve this office well…” said departing U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy.
The incoming interim U.S. Attorney as served in different leadership positions during her more than 26 years at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including 11 as supervisor of drug trafficking organization investigations. She has also worked on numerous cases, including federal crimes as serious as money laundering, weapons trafficking, involuntary manslaughter, bank robbery, human smuggling and other immigration crimes that are common to this border region.
For four years, she was lead attorney for the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) program, where she earned recognition for her investigation and prosecution in San Diego of the outlaw motorcycle gang Hell’s Angels on extortion and drug trafficking charges. She also prosecuted cases against defense items, Mexican cartels, and other criminal enterprises.
Laura Duffy leaves her position just days before Donald Trump’s inauguration. The President is charged with appointing, with Senate confirmation, the U.S. Attorneys for all 93 Districts in the U.S.
“I have every confidence that Alana will continue our strong relationships with local and federal law enforcement officials and community leaders and devote her full attention and considerable talent to federal prosecutions that will safeguard our community,” added Duffy.
Under the Vacancies Reform Act (VRA), the first assistant U.S. Attorney – Robinson’s former position – is temporarily promoted when the U.S. Attorney (which was Duffy) leaves office. Alana’s appointment to this position will be for a period of up to 300 days, until the new President appoints and the Senate confirms a new U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California.