NPT: U.S. Atty Johnny Sutton resignation announcement, news conference
UPDATED: Sutton will have a news conference in El Paso on Tuesday. Stay tuned.
News release from the U.S. attorney’s office. Please discuss:
UNITED STATES ATTORNEY JOHNNY SUTTON ANNOUNCES HIS RESIGNATION
United States Attorney Johnny Sutton has announced that he will resign as U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas effective at midnight April 19, 2009.
Mr. Sutton was nominated by President George W. Bush and was confirmed by the Senate to serve as United States Attorney for the Western District of Texas on November 30, 2001. As United States Attorney for one of the busiest districts in the nation, Sutton oversaw 300 employees, including 140 attorneys, and an annual budget of over $27 million.
Protecting the nation’s border from the threat of terrorism and aggressively prosecuting drug traffickers and illegal aliens were his top priorities. In his seven and a half years as United States Attorney, prosecutors in his office convicted over 40,000 defendants of felonies. Operation Streamline which was created and run out of Sutton’s Del Rio Office is responsible for over 37,000 illegal aliens being prosecuted for illegal entry into the United States since its inception in December 2005. Under Mr. Sutton’s leadership, the Western District of Texas led the nation each year in the number of drug prosecutions (a total of more than 15,000 cases brought) and was second in the nation in the number of illegal alien cases prosecuted.
Weeding out public corruption in the Western District of Texas was another top priority of Mr. Sutton.
Over 100 defendants were convicted of public corruption offenses during Mr. Sutton’s tenure, including: the former Texas Attorney General for fraud; two San Antonio City Council Members for accepting bribes and numerous other public and law enforcement officials.
Federal prosecutors, under Mr. Sutton’s direction, aggressively prosecuted over 400 gang members on various drug, firearm, and money laundering charges. The prosecuted gang members were from various criminal organizations including the Texas Syndicate, Barrio Aztecas, Aryan Circle and the Mexican Mafia.
The Western District of Texas was consistently in the top 10% of districts nationwide in the number of defendants prosecuted for firearms violations with 2,256 cases being brought against defendants who were prohibited from carrying firearms.
Project Safe Childhood, a Department of Justice initiative to prosecute individuals who seek to sexually exploit children, was also a priority for Mr. Sutton. In the three years since PSC’s inception, the Western District of Texas prosecuted over 250 defendants and was consistently in the top 10 nationwide for the number of defendants prosecuted. In 2008, the District was number one in the number of defendants charged for failing to register as a sex offender.
During his tenure, the office’s civil division handled a large caseload of civil litigation in some of the most difficult and important cases the government faces, including resolution of the border fence issues, defending serious medical malpractice claims, and recovering millions in criminal debt and civil fraud.
Sutton personally interviewed and hired 82 new federal prosecutors. Most of these new prosecutors were assigned to the border divisions where they joined the ranks to continue the district’s efforts to prosecute drug smugglers and illegal immigration matters.
Mr. Sutton’s leadership skills were not only prevalent in Texas, but his influence also extended to Washington, D.C., where he served for six years on the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee. Mr. Sutton chaired that committee for almost two years.
In announcing his departure, Mr. Sutton stated, “Serving as United States Attorney has been one of the greatest honors of my career and I will be forever grateful to President Bush for giving me the opportunity to fight for justice on behalf of the American people.