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The Office

There are 93 United States Attorneys stationed throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands. United States Attorneys are appointed by, and serve at the discretion of, the President of the United States, with the advice and consent of the United States Senate. One United States Attorney is assigned to each of the 94 federal judicial districts, with the exception of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, where a single United States Attorney serves in both districts. Each United States Attorney is the chief federal law enforcement officer of the United States within his or her particular jurisdiction.

Federal Judicial Districts & Circuits, Courtesy of the U.S. Courts

The map above shows all of the federal judicial districts and also shows how the districts are grouped into circuits for appellate purposes. The entire State of Wyoming falls within the District of Wyoming, whereas the State of Washington is divided into two federal judicial districts: the Western District of Washington and the Eastern District of Washington.

United States Attorneys’ Offices conduct most of the court-connected litigation and trial work in which the United States is a party. The United States Attorneys have three statutory responsibilities under Title 28, Section 507 of the United States Code: the prosecution of criminal cases brought by the federal government; the prosecution and defense of civil cases in which the United States is a party (or has an interest); and the collection of debts owed to the federal government which are administratively uncollectible.

United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Wyoming

The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Wyoming is one of the smaller offices in terms of staff size. Although the geographic expanse of the District is large, including the entire State of Wyoming and those parts of Yellowstone National Park in Idaho and Montana, the small population and rural nature of the District do not generate the high levels of criminal activity found in areas with larger populations. Nevertheless, the Office prosecutes hundreds of defendants each year for drug trafficking, immigration offenses, violent crime, white collar crime, government regulatory offenses and other crimes. The Major Crimes Act also confers responsibility on the United States Attorney’s Office to prosecute significant crimes on the Wind River Indian Reservation, located in the west central area of the State. The Reservation is home to two tribes, the Eastern Shoshone and the Northern Arapaho, and there are approximately 13,000 enrolled tribal members, most of whom live within the boundaries of the Reservation.

White Pelicans in Flight, National Park Service Photo

In addition, about 42.3% of the land in the State of Wyoming is managed or controlled by the federal government, including national parks, national monuments, national historic areas, national forests and other federal enclaves. These areas are frequently the subject of civil litigation, which must be addressed by attorneys in the United States Attorney’s Office.

The attorney staff in the criminal division is comprised of a Criminal Chief and 14 Assistant United States Attorneys (AUSAs), with the Criminal Chief and five AUSAs assigned to Cheyenne, four AUSAs assigned to Casper, four AUSAs assigned to Lander, and one AUSA assigned to Mammoth Hot Springs. The criminal division also includes paralegals, legal assistants and other legal and program staff who actively support prosecution activities.

The civil division is comprised of a Civil Chief and three AUSAs in the Cheyenne Office, as well as a legal support staff, which provides litigation assistance and engages in collections activities.

The administrative unit, with a staff of seven, is responsible for the victim-witness program, budget management, human resources programs, information technology, procurement, facilities management, and other support services.

The United States Attorney and the First Assistant United States Attorney provide management oversight for the entire Office. In total, the United States Attorney’s Office employs 49 individuals, four of whom work part-time.

Schwabachers Landing & Teton Mountains, Photo Courtesy of the National Park Service

The criminal justice system and the court system can be confusing due to the division of responsibility among local, state and federal government. The United States Attorney’s Office is often confused with the District Attorney’s Office or the State of Wyoming Attorney General’s Office, both of which are also in Cheyenne. The key characteristic of our work is its federal focus. The United States Attorney’s Office handles: (1) federal prosecutions (stemming from investigations showing that a federal offense has been committed); (2) civil litigation in federal court involving the federal government; and, (3) civil litigation impacting federal government interests in state courts (although this occurs less frequently). The United States Attorney’s Office is a federal entity and is a component within the United States Department of Justice, headquartered in Washington, D.C., under the overall direction of the U.S. Attorney General. The U.S. Courts provide additional information on their website that helps clarify federal and state responsibilities in the legal system.

The United States Department of Justice

The mission of the United States Department of Justice is to enforce the law and defend the interests of the U.S. according to the law, provide federal leadership in preventing and controlling crime, seek just punishment for those guilty of unlawful behavior, and ensure fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans. In carrying out this mission, the United States Attorney General, as the Nation’s chief law enforcement officer, directs and oversees the activities of the more than 110,000 attorneys, investigators, correctional personnel and other employees of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Main Justice Building, Washington, D.C., Courtesy of the General Services Administration

Although the office of the Attorney General dates from 1789, the Department of Justice was not established until 1870. Today, its responsibilities are diverse and wide ranging. These responsibilities are carried out through the Department’s component organizations. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) investigate Federal crimes; the United States Marshals Service (USMS) protects the Federal judiciary, apprehends fugitives, detains prisoners and supports the federal courts; the United States Attorneys and the Main Justice Litigating Divisions (i.e., Criminal Division, National Security Division, Civil Division, Environment and Natural Resources Division, Civil Rights Division, Antitrust Division, Tax Division) prosecute offenders and represent the United States of America in federal court (and in state courts for certain types of civil litigation); and the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) incarcerates sentenced offenders.

The Office of Justice Programs (OJP) and the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) assist state and local governments. OJP's National Institute of Justice (NIJ) develops and disseminates information about crime and justice issues; its Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) collects, analyzes, publishes and disseminates information on crime, criminal offenders, victims of crime and the operation of the justice systems at all levels of government. Other components also help administer our system of justice and further the Department’s mission (the United States Trustees, the Community Relations Service, the Justice Management Division, the Executive Office for Immigration Review, the Office of the Inspector General, among others).

Although the Department is headquartered in Washington, D.C., most of its work takes place outside of Washington and most of its employees are located in one of more than 2,000 field locations. These locations range from small one or two person border stations to major correctional facilities. Within each of the 94 federal judicial districts, the Department is represented by a United States Attorney who prosecutes criminal offenses and represents the United States in civil actions, and by a United States Marshal who protects the federal judiciary, detains and transports persons awaiting trial or sentencing, and executes warrants and court orders. For more information on the U.S. Department of Justice, please navigate to the Department’s main website here.

 

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