FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 2002
TDD (202) 514-1888
ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL DINH ANNOUNCES NEW LEADERSHIP
IN THE OFFICE OF LEGAL POLICY
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Assistant Attorney General Viet Dinh today announced several changes in the leadership of the Department's Office of Legal Policy.
"New voices always infuse an office with fresh ideas and energy," said Viet Dinh, Assistant Attorney General for Legal Policy. "This superb leadership team has the vision and experience to enable the Office of Legal Policy to pursue a number of priorities, from combating terrorism to reducing gun violence. At this critical time in our nation's history, these leaders will bring honor, talent, and intellect to the Department's pursuit of justice."
The changes announced today include:
Jennifer G. Newstead, formerly Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal Policy, has been promoted to Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the office. Newstead will assist Dinh with oversight of day to day operations and policy development. Newstead received her BA from Harvard University and her JD from Yale Law School. Following law school, Newstead was a law clerk for Judge Laurence H. Silberman of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer. Before joining the Justice Department in 2001, Newstead was an attorney at Davis Polk & Wardwell, where she handled complex corporate transactions and litigation.
"This new designation reflects Jennifer's outstanding work and increased responsibilities over the past year," said Dinh. "Her enhanced leadership duties and her excellent service on a range of issues -- including helping craft the new U.S.A. Patriot Act to protect the United States against terror -- have earned her this important distinction. She is first among equals."
Michael Carrington has joined the Office of Legal Policy as Deputy Assistant Attorney General. Carrington will assist in policy development of criminal justice issues. Most recently, Carrington served as Deputy Director for Planning and Policy Development in the Office of Criminal Justice Planning for former California Governor Pete Wilson. In that position, Carrington oversaw major criminal justice reforms across several areas. Carrington attended Merritt College.
"Michael Carrington's policy expertise will contribute greatly to the Department's work on several fronts," said Dinh. "His record of public service reveals a man of high principle and integrity, and I am pleased he agreed to serve his nation in such an important capacity."
Don R. Willett has also joined the Office as Deputy Assistant Attorney General. Willett most recently served as Special Assistant to President George W. Bush and Director of Law and Policy for the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. From 1996-2000, Willett served as Research/Special Projects Director for then-Governor Bush, and as Domestic Policy and Special Projects Advisor on the Bush-Cheney 2000 Presidential Campaign. Willett will help oversee an array of civil and criminal justice initiatives and other special projects, including assisting with the President's judicial nominations. Willett received his BBA from Baylor University and his JD with honors as well as his AM (Political Science) from Duke University. Willett was a law clerk to the late Judge Jerre S. Williams of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and then practiced law in the Austin office of Haynes and Boone and was Senior Fellow with the Texas Public Policy Foundation.
"Don Willett's exceptional six-year record of advising President Bush on a diverse mix of legal, economic, education, social welfare, and criminal and civil justice issues is invaluable," said Dinh. "His academic, legal and policy credentials are first-rate, and he will play a key role in advancing the Department's mission to defend freedom through law."
Grace L. Mastalli, most recently Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Legal Policy, now serves as Chief of Staff and Deputy Director for Law and Policy for the Joint Foreign Terrorist Tracking Task Force. Mastalli will assist in the setting up and managing the interagency Task Force, created in October 2001. The Task Force enhances U.S. efforts to prevent terrorist activity by ensuring that federal agencies coordinate their efforts to bar terrorists and their supporters from entering the United States.
"Grace Masatalli has been an asset to the Office of Legal Policy and other components of the Justice Department for more than twenty years, and I thank her for her hard work and commitment to public service," said Dinh. "Her important new duties demonstrate the high priority and resources that Attorney General Ashcroft is committing to the continuing multi-front war against terror."