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Richland, WA – United States Attorney Vanessa R. Waldref and Benton County Prosecuting Attorney Andy Miller jointly announced today that Laurel J. Holland, who serves as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Benton County, has been appointed as a Special Assistant United States Attorney (SAUSA) for the Eastern District of Washington. As a SAUSA, Holland will prosecute cases in both state and federal court, focusing primarily on crimes against children.
In making this announcement, U.S. Attorney Waldref reiterated her office’s commitment to prosecuting federal cases in the Tri-Cities area. “The number of cases prosecuted from our Richland office has risen over the past several years and we expect this to continue. The Tri-Cities area is the second largest metropolitan center in the Inland Northwest, and we will continue to prosecute the area’s most dangerous criminals to the fullest extent. Today’s announcement should serve as yet another signal to those who victimize children that such crimes will not be tolerated in our communities.”
U.S. Attorney Waldref continued, “Federal, State, Tribal, and local partnerships are essential to building safer and stronger communities in Eastern Washington. Many of these partnerships exist on the law enforcement level, including through joint task forces and cross deputization agreements.” U.S. Attorney Waldref further emphasized, “By combining federal and state resources, we are able to accomplish more to keep our communities safe than we otherwise could.” The SAUSA program applies this same principle to criminal prosecution – permitting experienced prosecutors to handle criminal cases in both state court and federal court.
Benton County Prosecuting Attorney Andy Miller similarly addressed the importance of utilizing state and federal partnerships to address crime against children in the Tri-Cities area: “As a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney and a SAUSA, Laurel Holland will have the ability to rely on both federal and state laws to prosecute those who commit crimes against our children, allowing us to better protect children and achieve justice on behalf of children who are harmed.”
Both U.S. Attorney Waldref and Prosecuting Attorney Miller also commended SAUSA Holland’s commitment and dedication to public service. Holland served as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for Benton County from October 2009 through October 2015. She later rejoined the Benton County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office in January 2019, where she continues to handle a wide variety of criminal cases, focusing primarily on crimes against children, including online exploitation as well as physical and sexual abuse. Holland’s appointment as a SAUSA also reflects a homecoming for Holland, who served as an Assistant United States Attorney in Yakima, Washington from 2015-2018. U.S. Attorney Waldref put it like this: “We know from experience that SAUSA Holland is an exceptional attorney and prosecutor. She handles her cases with earnestness and vigor to ensure a just and fair result in each and every case. We are fortunate to have her back in the USAO fold.”
Newly appointed SAUSA Holland expressed her continued desire to protect the most vulnerable in our communities. “I’m excited to rejoin the U.S. Attorney’s Office, while continuing my work as a state prosecutor in Benton County. I am especially honored to work with the talented state and federal investigators who devote their careers to protecting young children from physical and sexual abuse. Through combined state and federal efforts, we can make Benton County a safer place to live, work, and raise our families.”