Janet Reno Dies at 78

Janet RenoJanet Reno, the first woman to serve as attorney general of the United States, died this morning at her home in Miami-Dade County, Florida, from complications of Parkinson’s disease.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch released the following statement:

With the passing of Janet Reno, the Department of Justice has lost one of the most effective, decisive and well-respected leaders in its proud history.  From her years in state law enforcement to her long and eventful tenure as Attorney General, Janet Reno always strove, as she put it, to do her ‘level best.’  She led the department in a time of turmoil and change, confronting issues ranging from international and domestic terrorism to fair competition in the emerging technology sector.  In meeting these challenges, she was guided by one simple test: to do what the law and the facts required.  She accepted the results of that test regardless of which way the political winds were blowing.  She never shied from criticism or shirked responsibility, earning her the affection of her subordinates, the respect of her critics, and the esteem of the American people.  And of course, as the first woman to serve as attorney general, she was an inspiration and a trailblazer for so many women working in law enforcement and government — including me.  The United States is a stronger, safer and more just place because of Janet Reno’s leadership, and she will be dearly missed.

Earlier this year, NAFUSA became a Founding Donor of the Janet Reno Endowment at Georgetown University, having made a $10,000 contribution.

Margolis Family to Join Us in San Diego

Photo by Katherine Frey/The Washington Post

Photo by Katherine Frey/The Washington Post

David’s wife, Debby, and his daughter, Cheri, will attend the San Diego conference as  honored guests of NAFUSA. David, who passed away on July 12, 2016, was scheduled to be a our luncheon speaker on his 51 years at Justice. Deborah Daniels shared a recent Margolis obituary from The Week. 

As is our custom, an American flag was flown over Main Justice on August 19, 2016, as the request of NAFUSA. It will be presented to Debby and Cheri at the October conference. It represents the high regard in which David was held by his colleagues.

Bob Del Tufo, 82, Dies

Robert Del Tufo.

Robert Del Tufo.

NAFUSA member Robert J. Del Tufo, 82, died on March 2, 2016, of lung cancer. Del Tufo served as the United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey, 1977-1980 and as the New Jersey Attorney General, 1990-1993. His older brother, Raymond Del Tufo, also served as U.S. Attorney for New Jersey. Del Tufo joined Sadden, Arps, Slate, Meager & Flom in 1993, where he remained until his death.

Del Tufo attended Princeton University and Yale Law School. He was a legal secretary to Chief Justice Joseph Weintraub on the New Jersey Supreme Court from 1958 to 1960.

He is survived by his wife, Kate Del Tufo, daughters Ann Jackopin and Barbara, sons Robert J. Jr. and David, and stepdaughters Caitlin Hughes and Johanna Hunsbedt. He was predeceased by his first wife, Ann.

Funeral arrangements are pending. As is our custom, NAFUSA will request the Department of Justice to fly an American flag over Main Justice in Bob’s honor and it will be presented to his family as a token of the high regard with which Bob was held by his colleagues.

Redding Pitt Dies

AP Photo/Haraz Ghanbari

Redding Pitt (AP Photo/Haraz Ghanbari)

NAFUSA member Redding Pitt died on Sunday, February 7, 2016. Pitt, 71, served as the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama, 1994-2001. He also served as the chief deputy attorney general for the State of Alabama and chaired the Alabama Democrat Party from 2001 to 2005.

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Cheney Joseph, 73, Dies

Prof Cheney Joseph, Jr

Prof Cheney Joseph, Jr

NAFUSA member Cheney Joseph Jr., 73, died on December 18, 2015. Professor Joseph was the interim co-dean of the Louisiana State University Law School. He served as the United States Attorney for the Middle District of Louisiana, 1976-1977.

He also served as Administrative Assistant, District Attorney’s office, East Baton Rouge Parish (until 1972); Assistant Professor, LSU Law Center, 1972 – 1975, Associate Professor, LSU Law Center, 1976 – 1980, Professor of Law and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, 1981 – 1989; First Assistant District Attorney and District Attorney, East Baton Rouge Parish, 1989 – 1990; Judge Pro- Tempore, 16th Judicial District Court 1992; Judge Pro-Tempore, 40th Judicial District Court, 1993; Executive Counsel to the Governor of Louisiana, 1996 – 2000; Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, LSU Law Center, 2000 – present.

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Bill Braniff Dies, 73

We learned of the passing of NAFUSA member and former United States Attorney William Braniff on November 7, 2015.  Bill served as a federal prosecutor for 22 years, including 4 years as U.S. Attorney in San Diego (SD of California, 1988-1993).  Bill began his career as a federal prosecutor in 1970, when he joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark, New Jersey.  His advocacy skills eventually led him to the position of criminal chief.  In 1980, Bill moved to San Diego and joined the U.S. Attorney’s office.  He quickly became known for his ability to analyze complex fraud issues and he prosecuted many important procurement fraud cases.  Bill was sworn in as U.S. Attorney in 1988 by the Attorney General.  During Bill’s tenure as U.S. Attorney, the office grew to include 90 attorneys and became one of the leading prosecutorial offices in the nation.  Bill oversaw the successful prosecution of major cases in such areas as drug trafficking, white collar fraud, organized crime, health care fraud, and environmental crime.  Throughout his career, Bill’s mission was to be the best advocate possible for the people of the United States.  He carried out his mission faithfully and skillfully, earning the respect of his colleagues, adversaries, and the bench.  Bill set an example that should be followed by young prosecutors everywhere.

As is our custom, NAFUSA arranged for an American flag to be flown over Main Justice on  December 9, 2015, and it will be presented to Bill’s family in recognition of the regard in which he was held by his former colleagues.

Phil Modlin Dies, 88


Philip Hodgin Modlin

Philip Hodgkin Modlin, former EOUSA director (1970-1975) passed away peacefully at age 88 on February 4, 2015. He had lung cancer. He is survived by two children, Melanie Modlin of Takoma Park, MD and Ann Modlin Boehm (Scott) of Alexandria, VA. 

As reported in Modlin’s obituary,

Born in Jamestown, North Carolina on October 9, 1926, Modlin heard the call of adventure at an early age. As a teenager, he hitchhiked to New York, Los Angeles and other fabled American places. A talented violinist and an ardent movie fan, his initial plan was to be a studio musician in Hollywood. That dream took him to the University of Michigan, where he pledged Sigma Chi and commenced to study music. Grasping that his true talents lay elsewhere, he transferred to High Point (N.C.) College, earning his A.B. degree in 1947. His sharp intelligence and powers of analysis helped him attend the George Washington University law school. and earn his J.D. degree from the University of North Carolina in 1950.

Modlin was proud of the fact that he held 67 jobs during his lifetime, including soap wrapper, golf course starter and magistrate for the city of Alexandria. With that unique frame of reference, he was often hailed by those who knew him as an insightful career coach.

Philip Modlin found his greatest job satisfaction at the U.S. Department of Justice, where he served with distinction for 25 years. During his career, he played an integral part in the creation of the Attorney General’s Honor Program and Advocacy Institute. In 1970, he became Director of the Executive Office for United States Attorneys, where he hired and worked with many future legal luminaries. Another of his later duties, which he relished, was to advise U.S. Attorneys General on judicial appointments. He traveled often to Capitol Hill to meet with senators, striking up an especially warm working relationship with Sen. James Eastland (D-Miss.), the powerful head of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Toward the end of his Justice career, he served as the primary Deputy Associate Attorney General.

A memorial service will be held at Trinity United Methodist Church,  Alexandria, VA on Tuesday, February 10, 2015 at 11 a.m.