Job finally attracts applicants

When only one person applied to be U.S. attorney, the deadline was extended.

Published June 19, 2007

TAMPA - The search for a new U.S. attorney may have started slowly, but it's ending strong.

Marcos Marchena, chairman of the judicial nominating commission, said he received nine applications for the position, one of the top federal law enforcement jobs in Central Florida. Applications had to be postmarked by Friday.

Among the candidates are two assistant U.S. attorneys in the Tampa division: Dennis Ian Moore and Adelaide Gonzales-Few.

Two more federal prosecutors, Cynthia Hawkins of Orlando and John J. Sciortino of Jacksonville, are also seeking the $145, 000-a-year job.

Other candidates are Jeffrey D. Deen, James J. Feder, Michael J. Foley, David Liebowitz and Michael Peacock.

In addition to the nine applications, at least three more candidates said they applied Friday: A. Brian Albritton, a Tampa defense lawyer; Kenneth Lawson, a former federal prosecutor; and LaTour "L.T." Lafferty, also a former federal prosecutor.

Marchena said he was very pleased by the turnout, adding that it was 50 percent higher than the number of people applying for the U.S. attorney's job in the Southern District of Florida two years ago.

The candidates are seeking to replace Paul Perez, who served as U.S. attorney for five years in the Middle District, which includes Tampa, Orlando, Jacksonville and Ocala. Perez announced his retirement in March.

The last-minute flurry came after a slow start. Only one person applied for the job by the initial deadline of May 15, prompting Marchena to extend the search for another month.

Some legal experts said the recent scrutiny of the Justice Department and the limited time left in the Bush administration may have dampened some initial enthusiasm for the job.

Applications will now be reviewed by members of the nominating committee, who will determine how many candidates will be interviewed in early July.

After the interviews, the committee is expected to recommend three finalists to Republican Sen. Mel Martinez. Martinez will consult with Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson and submit their top pick to the White House for approval.

Carrie Weimar can be reached at 813 226-3416 or cweimar@sptimes.com.