D. Lowell Jensen (1981-1983)
Early History: Delwen Lowell Jensen was born in Brigham City, Utah, in 1928. He received an A.B. and LL.B. from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1949 and 1952, respectively. He spent the next two years as a corporal in the U.S. Army, followed by a year in private practice in Oakland, California. In 1955, Mr. Jensen began employment as a Deputy District Attorney at the Alameda County (California) District Attorney’s Office. In 1969, he became the District Attorney, a position he held until 1981. During this time, he oversaw some of the most high-profile cases of the era, including the unsuccessful murder prosecution of Black Panther leader Huey Newton and the guilty pleas of Patty Hearst’s Symbionese Liberation Army kidnappers.
Tenure: In 1981, Mr. Jensen was appointed by President Ronald Reagan as the Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division. During his tenure, the Criminal Division undertook more than a dozen espionage prosecutions and forged new partnerships with state and local law enforcement. The New York Times later reported that because of Mr. Jensen’s leadership, “the Government may finally be winning the war against the American Mafia.”
Later Career: In 1983, Mr. Jensen became the Department of Justice’s Associate Attorney General, a position in which he served until he was nominated by President Reagan to be the Deputy Attorney General in 1985. In 1986, Mr. Jensen resigned from the Department and was confirmed as a judge on the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. He took senior status in 1997, but continued to preside over criminal cases until he retired at age 86 in 2014.
This material is based on the review of a variety of historical sources and its accuracy cannot be guaranteed. If you have any corrections or additional information about this individual or about the history of the Criminal Division, please contact the Division.