News and Press Releases

U.S. Attorney Leura G. Canary Announces Retirement

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 27, 2011

Montgomery, Alabama - Leura G. Canary, United States Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama, announces her retirement from the Department of Justice effective midnight on May 28, 2011. Ms. Canary has served with the Department since October, 1990.

Ms. Canary was hired as a Trial Attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. In November, 1994, Ms. Canary accepted a position as an Assistant United States Attorney in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Alabama in Montgomery, and later served as Civil Chief.

On September 4, 2001, she was appointed interim United States Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama, and was Presidentially appointed and confirmed by the U.S. Senate on November 6, 2001. Ms. Canary has served as U.S. Attorney continuously since September 4, 2001 until present.

As U.S. Attorney, Ms. Canary has served as a member of the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee’s (AGAC) Violent Crime Subcommittee (2001-2006) and Controlled Substances Subcommittee (2001-2007). Since 2006, she has served on the AGAC’s Office of Management and Budget Subcommittee, and served from 2006 until 2009 on a specially appointed working group of that subcommittee to allocate funding and AUSA positions to U.S. Attorneys’ Offices throughout the nation. Also, from 2005 until 2010, she chaired the AGAC’s Child Exploitation Working Group. From January 2007 until December 2009, Ms. Canary served as one of sixteen U.S. Attorney members of the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee (AGAC). The AGAC's purpose is to advise the Attorney General of the United States on criminal justice issues and Department of Justice policy.

During her tenure as U.S. Attorney in the Middle District of Alabama, Ms. Canary implemented Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a national program aimed at reducing gun crime throughout the United States. In the Middle District of Alabama (MDAL), PSN was implemented as Alabama ICE. Prior to Alabama ICE, MDAL prosecuted fewer than a dozen federal gun crimes per year. Under Ms. Canary’s leadership, the MDAL has prosecuted approximately 800 federal gun cases since 2003. These prosecutions have resulted in the removal of many serious armed career criminals from the streets of the 23 counties of the district.

Alabama ICE has a public outreach and education component with the goals of preventing young persons from resorting to violence and deterring others from committing federal gun crimes by warning them of the consequences of doing so. An example of the crime prevention programs implemented under Ms. Canary’s leadership include the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s partnership with CrimeStoppers to design a youth violence prevention program. As part of this program, thousands of local school children of all ages in the River Region have received training by CrimeStoppers on ways to avoid violence and association with violent gangs, the consequences of violence and conflict resolution. Another example is the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s partnerships with the Wiregrass Area Boys and Girls Clubs in Dothan and the Geneva County Boys and Girls Club to provide comprehensive summer programs for at-risk youth, with the goals of teaching gang avoidance, negative consequences of violence and conflict resolution and providing wholesome activities for young people.

In 2004, as a result of her implementation of Alabama ICE, the MDAL received a national award from the U.S. Attorney General for its PSN Program. A 2006 publication by Michigan State University, the PSN national research partner, featured MDAL’s Alabama ICE outreach/education program as a model and one of the most successful in the United States.

From 2005 until 2010, Ms. Canary was the Chair of the AGAC’s Child Exploitation Working Group. Ms. Canary’s recognition of the burgeoning problem of the sexual exploitation of children led her to spearhead and draft a proposal for a national child exploitation prevention program. The program, called Project Safe Childhood (PSC), was launched as a national priority program of the Department of Justice and formally implemented by the U.S. Attorney General on May 17, 2006. Its purpose is to use several approaches to lower the incidence of the sexual exploitation of children, including the increased federal prosecution of these cases and increased education efforts for law enforcement and the public of the dangers to children. After the change in administrations, PSC was adopted as a priority program by the current Department of Justice administration. Ms. Canary continues to serve on the Child Exploitation Working Group.

Ms. Canary has spoken in many forums on the subject of child exploitation including at a national round table discussion which included as participants the U.S. Attorney General and the Director of the FBI. She also has spoken at the annual meeting of the Internet Crimes against Children Task Forces, the National Project Safe Childhood Conference, the U.S. Attorney’s Conference, the North Carolina Joint Project Safe Childhood Conference and many other meetings of federal, state and local law enforcement and child advocacy groups. Ms. Canary was consulted regularly by the Department of Justice Office of Legislative Affairs and the Office of Deputy Attorney General in Washington for advice on proposed legislation and issues that arose during the implementation of PSC and continues to be regularly consulted by U.S. Attorney leadership concerning child exploitation issues. Ms. Canary also personally leads the Child Exploitation Task Force in the Middle District of Alabama and is closely involved in developing the investigative and prosecution resources to bring those who would harm children in this district to justice.

Ms. Canary is a member of the Alabama State Bar Association and the Hugh Maddox Inn of Court. She served as a member of the Farrah Law Society Board of Directors from 2005-2007.

In her personal time, Ms. Canary is a member of the Huntingdon College Board of Trustees, chairs the Education Subcommittee and serves on the Executive Committee of the Board. She also is an active member of First United Methodist Church in Montgomery, where she served on the Staff / Parrish Relations Committee from 2005 to 2008 and is currently a member of the Board of Trustees. She has taught Sunday School there for the past seven years and currently teaches the 5 grade class. She enjoys antiquing and reading as hobbies and has been a member of the Cloverdale Book Club since 1995.

 

PRESS CONTACT: Clark Morris
Email: usaalm.press@usdoj.gov
Telephone: (334) 551-1755
Fax: (334) 223-7617

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