United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker Resigns
LOS ANGELES – Eileen M. Decker today resigned from the position of United States Attorney for the Central District of California at the request of the President.
“It has been an honor to serve the people of the Central District of California as the United States Attorney,” Ms. Decker said. “I am awed by the dedication of the Assistant United States Attorneys, support staff, and law enforcement officers who are committed to our public safety and national security. I thank all of them for their continued service.”
Ms. Decker became the United States Attorney in June 2015. During her 20 months in the position, she restructured the Office in an effort to confront modern challenges.
Approximately one month after taking office, Ms. Decker created the National Security Division (NSD), which joined Criminal, Civil and Tax as the units of the office that litigate cases on behalf of the United States. NSD combined two sections formerly in the Criminal Division – the Terrorism and Export Crimes Section and the Cyber and Intellectual Property Crimes Sections. NSD combined these two units so they could work cooperatively to gather intelligence and disrupt national security threats more effectively.
Within hours of the December 2, 2015 San Bernardino terrorist attack, prosecutors in the NSD were embedded with law enforcement, assisting in the response to the attacks and the investigation in the aftermath. Although the shooters were killed by law enforcement, the investigation resulted in the indictment and convictions of three of the shooters’ family members, as well as Enrique Marquez Jr., who purchased the assault weapons used in the attack. Prosecutors are also seeking to forfeit the male shooter’s life insurance proceeds.
The San Bernardino investigation highlighted the challenge to law enforcement posed by encryption technology. The office litigated the high-profile case against Apple over the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone. Although that case was withdrawn when the Federal Bureau of Investigation was able to unlock the phone without Apple’s assistance, the issue brought national attention to the problem of “going dark.”
Ms. Decker’s tenure also saw the convictions of two Anaheim men who received 30-year sentences for attempting to join the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Another Orange County man was also convicted and received a 15-year sentence for his support of ISIL.
While United States Attorney, Ms. Decker also oversaw the conviction and sentencing of Paul Ciancia, who murdered Transportation Safety Administration Transportation Security Administration officer Gerardo Hernandez and was sentenced to life plus 60 years in federal prison.
As United States Attorney, Ms. Decker placed particular emphasis on the prosecution of violent crime and human trafficking cases.
The office tripled the number of illegal weapons prosecutions between 2014 and 2016, including four convictions in two days recently. Ms. Decker also oversaw convictions and significant sentences for a wide variety of offenders who contribute to violent crime, including Mexican Mafia members, Florencia 13 gang members, robbers who brandished firearms, and criminals who illegally sold firearms.
Prosecutors obtained a 40-year sentence against Gardena gang member and long-time pimp Laron Darrell Carter for the sex trafficking of children. Carter’s conduct spanned a decade as he prostituted girls as young as 13 and subjected some of them to beatings.
In a groundbreaking case, the office obtained a 57-month sentence against Charles Goswitz of Torrance who sought to hire a 16-year-old girl for sex. This was the first federal conviction in Los Angeles of a “John,” or customer, in a teen sex-trafficking prosecution.
While the United States Attorney, Ms. Decker supervised a number of high-profile cases in the area of Public Corruption and Civil Rights.
Last summer, the United States Attorney’s Office brought civil rights charges against seven members and affiliates of the “Big Hazard” street gang in relation to their firebombing of African American families in Boyle Heights. The case remains pending trial.
The United States Attorney’s Office has successfully resolved criminal and civil investigations into the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department’s treatment of inmates in its jails. These investigations resulted in the successful prosecutions of 20 former members of the Sheriff’s Department and a settlement agreement permitting federal monitoring of the jails.
Last year, former California State Senator Ron Calderon was convicted of receiving bribes, and his brother, Thomas Calderon, was convicted of laundering bribe money. The former state lawmaker received a 42-month sentence, and his brother received a sentence of one year and one day of incarceration.
Ms. Decker has hired approximately one-quarter of the 270 Assistant United States Attorneys in the office. These new AUSAs are a diverse group of women and men from a broad spectrum of experiences.