WASHINGTON – Attorney General Eric Holder announced today the creation of a new Professional Misconduct Review Unit to handle disciplinary actions for career attorneys at the Department of Justice that arise from Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) investigations and appointed Kevin Ohlson to be its Chief.
The Professional Misconduct Review Unit (PMRU) will be responsible for all disciplinary and state bar referral actions relating to OPR findings of professional misconduct against career attorneys.
“The current procedures for resolving these disciplinary matters consume too much time, and risk inconsistent resolutions, but this new Unit will help change that by providing consistent, fair, and timely resolution of these cases,” said Attorney General Holder. “In the vast majority of cases, Department attorneys meet their professional obligations but when allegations of misconduct occur, all parties deserve a fair and timely resolution. This Unit will be instrumental in achieving that goal and will also further the Department’s mission of meeting its ethical obligations in every case.”
“Through his lengthy career at the Department of Justice, Kevin Ohlson has been an extraordinary prosecutor and public servant, and I know that he will bring the high standards of professionalism and integrity that he has always demonstrated to this new position,” the Attorney General said.
OPR is responsible for investigating allegations of professional misconduct involving Department attorneys.
The Unit will review only those cases involving findings of intentional or reckless professional misconduct by OPR and determine whether those findings are supported by the evidence and the applicable law. OPR findings of poor judgment or mistake will continue to be referred to the component head or through the Executive Office for United States Attorneys (EOUSA) to the relevant U.S. Attorney for appropriate action.
The Unit was created as a result of a comprehensive review of existing disciplinary procedures and processes with the aim of creating a more efficient and uniform system. OPR, EOUSA, the Criminal Division, the Justice Management Division and the Office of Attorney Recruitment and Management conducted the review and recommended the creation of the Unit. At the outset, the Unit will focus on cases involving career attorneys from the recommending components though the Department expects to expand the jurisdiction of the Unit to cover other litigating components over time.
Ohlson has served as Chief of Staff and Counselor to the Attorney General since February 2009. He has previously served as the Director of the Executive Office for Immigration Review, chief of staff to the Deputy Attorney General, and Assistant U.S. Attorney. A former officer in the U.S. Army where he served as both a judge advocate and as a paratrooper, Ohlson was awarded the Bronze Star in 1990 for his service during the Persian Gulf War.
A copy of the memorandum is available at: