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About the Office

United States Attorneys' Mission Statement

The United States Attorneys serve as the nation's principal litigators under the direction of the Attorney General.  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.  Each United States Attorney is the chief federal law enforcement officer of the United States within his or her particular jurisdiction.

United States Attorneys conduct most of the trial work in which the United States is a party. The United States Attorneys have three statutory responsibilities under Title 28, Section 547 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; and
  • the collection of debts owed the Federal Government which are administratively uncollectible.

Although the distribution of caseload varies between districts, each U.S. Attorney’s Office deals with every category of cases and handles a mixture of simple and complex litigation. Each United States Attorney exercises wide discretion in the use of his/her resources to further the priorities of the local jurisdictions and needs of their communities.

History of United States Attorneys for the District of Massachusetts

U.S. Attorney Years Served
Christopher Gore 1789-1796
Harrison G. Otis 1796
John Davis 1796-1801
George Blake 1801-1829
Andrew Dunlop 1829-1835
John Mills 1835-1841
Franklin Dexter 1841-1845
Robert Rantoul Jr. 1845-1850
George Lunt 1850-1853
Benjamin F. Hallett 1853-1857
Charles L. Woodbury 1857-1861
Richard H. Dana Jr. 1861-1868
George S. Hillard 1868-1870
David H. Mason 1870-1873
George P. Sanger 1873-1886
George M. Stearns 1886-1887
Owen A. Galvin 1887-1890
Frank D. Allen 1890-1893
Sherman Hoar 1893-1897
Boyd B. Jones 1897-1901
Henry P. Moultin 1901-1905
Melvin O. Adams 1905-1906
Asa P. French 1906-1914
George W. Anderson 1914-1917
Thomas J. Boynton 1917-1920
Danial J. Gallagher 1920-1921
Robert O. Harris 1921-1925
Harold P. Williams 1925-1926
Frederick H. Tarr 1926-1933
Francis J. W. Ford 1933-1938
John A. Canavan 1938-1939
Edmund J. Brandon 1939-1946
George F. Garrity 1946-1947
William T. McCarthy 1947-1949
George F. Garrity 1949-1953
Anthony Julian 1953-1959
Elliot L. Richardson 1959-1961
W. Arthur Garrity 1961-1966
Paul F. Markham 1966-1969
Herbert F. Travers Jr. 1969-1971
James N. Gabriel 1971-1972
Joseph L. Tauro 1972
James N. Gabriel 1973-1977
Edward F. Harrington 1977-1981
William F. Weld 1981-1986
Robert S. Mueller III 1986-1987
Frank L. McNamara Jr. 1987-1989
Jeremiah T. O’Sullivan 1989
Peter A. Mullin 1989
Wayne A. Budd 1989-1992
A. John Pappalardo 1992-1993
Donald K. Stern 1993-2001
Michael J. Sullivan 2001-2009
Carmen M. Ortiz 2009-present
Updated July 19, 2016