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Senate confirms Indy lawyer as new U.S. Attorney

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An Indianapolis lawyer has gotten approval to become the next U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana, ending a three-year gap since last time a U.S. Senate confirmed leader held that post.

After a full day of business Wednesday, the Senate at about 1:30 a.m. Thursday unanimously confirmed the nomination of Joseph H. Hogsett, who is a senior partner at law firm Bingham McHale. The president had chosen him for the top prosecutor spot back in July. The Senate Judiciary Committee approved his nomination Sept. 16 and Hogsett was one of six U.S. Attorneys confirmed by the full Senate just before it left for a midterm election break.

Hogsett Joe Hogsett

The last confirmed leader was Susan Brooks, who left in October 2007 to take a general counsel spot at Ivy Tech Community College. Longtime second-in-command and previous interim leader Tim Morrison took over that role until a new nominee could be found.

Indiana’s Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh had recommended Hogsett, who’s previously served as chief of staff and senior advisor to Bayh during his governorship in the 1990s. Hogsett also had been the Secretary of State and the state Democratic Party chairman for several years.

Practicing law since 1981, the Indiana University Maurer School of Law – Bloomington graduate has been with Bingham McHale since leaving public service work in the late '90s. He now handles individual employment contracts, non-compete agreements, sexual harassment and retaliation claims, and immigration compliance, and he defends businesses in employment discrimination and civil rights litigation at the state and federal levels. He also assists the firm’s government department in advising Hoosier cities, towns, and counties on various issues.

Attending a retirement ceremony this morning for Indiana Supreme Court Justice Theodore R. Boehm, the newly confirmed Hogsett received congratulations from those in the legal community and was acknowledged during remarks from the bench. Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard introduced those in the audience and included Morrison as the acting U.S. Attorney, but pointed out the “good news is that help is on the way” with Hogsett’s recent confirmation.

After hearing the news today, Hogsett confined most of his remarks to a release sent out this morning from Bingham McHale. But he told Indiana Lawyer that he hopes the president will sign his commission soon so that he can be sworn in by U.S. District Court Chief Judge Richard Young in the next week or so.

In the release, Hogsett vowed that the Southern District will approach legal issues with a “renewed sense of commitment and priority, with vigilance and timeliness.”

“Criminal wrongdoing will be sought out wherever it is to be found - whether in our neighborhoods or in corporate boardrooms, whether perpetrated by the famous or unknown - and these individuals will be identified, investigated, and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” he said.

This is the second new U.S. Attorney the state has had confirmed recently, with senators late last year confirming second-in-command David Capp to lead the office in the Northern District that he’d been filling on an interim basis since 2007 when Joseph Van Bokkelen was named to the federal bench.
 

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