[Updated: 5/28/2010] The full Senate on Friday, May 28 unanimously confirmed Laura Duffy as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California, making her the second openly lesbian or gay U.S. attorney. Jenny Durkan, the first, was confirmed in September as U.S. attorney for the Western District of Washington.
Duffy, nominated by President Obama on February 24, has worked in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California since 1997, serving as Deputy Chief, General Crimes Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney – Narcotics Enforcement Section. Prior to that, she spent four years in the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice and two years in law clerkships, for a private firm and for the Public Defender’s Office of Douglas County, Nebraska.
In her most high-profile cases, she led or co-led prosecution teams that indicted all of the leaders of a major drug trafficking cartel, the Arellano-Félix Organization, and led to the arrest, extradition, and/or prosecution of all but one.
The Southern District office, with 120 Assistant U.S. Attorneys, three full-time and 38 part-time Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys, and 168 support personnel, is the sixth largest in the country, and handles one of the heaviest caseloads. The District is also “affected substantially by its proximity to Mexico,” according to its Web site.
Duffy’s Senate Judiciary Committee questionnaire states that her current department within the District handles cases most often related to immigration offenses, as well as narcotics offenses, fraud, bank robbery, assaults on federal officers, and crimes involving child exploitation and child pornography.
Duffy owns a 45 percent stake in the Aveda beauty salon her spouse owns and operates in San Diego, reported MainJustice.com, based on her Office of Government Ethics financial disclosure form.
Duffy graduated magna cum laude from Creighton University School of Law. She has won numerous awards and commendations from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and other federal law enforcement groups.