Josh Levy, a partner at Ropes & Gray, a Boston law firm and former United States Assistant Attorney, is also contemplated.
The committee received dozens of applications by December 28, but was able to break the list down through interviews. Three of the four are not white candidates. Next to Rollins who is black, Serafyn is half Cuban and Shukla is of Indian descent, someone who has worked with them.
The committee was quick to respond to a request from the new Biden administration to submit lead candidates for U.S. attorney and judicial positions by January 19, the day before his inauguration, said Nancy Gertner, the former federal judge who chaired the search committee.
“We acted quickly because the White House lawyer wanted names immediately,” said Gertner. “Democrats under Obama have been criticized for moving so slowly. We worked through the vacation. We made our choices. “
She did not want to comment on individual candidates, but said the panel’s decisions were made prior to the disclosure of an alleged traffic incident at the South Bay Shopping Center that Rollins was involved in. Attorney General Maura Healey is reviewing the Christmas Eve encounter in which a Dorchester woman accused Rollins of threatening her in the mall parking lot, activating her blue lights and siren, and then blowing a red light to get out of the mall .
Days later, when a Boston 25 news crew later showed up at their Rollins’ offices to ask about the incident, they launched an explosive tirade and threatened to file a police report against the producer.
“Who do you think … get out of here. Do you know what i’m gonna do I’m going to call the police and make an allegation – verbally abusing a white woman, “Rollins said on videotape. “I swear to God – I’m dead serious. I will find your name I’ll have you arrested, I swear to god. My children!”
Prior to the controversy, Rollins had been described as a front runner by people familiar with the selection process. Later in the week, some of these people insisted that she had no advantage over the other candidates.
Rollins would not comment on her interest in the US attorney’s work. Markey and Warren spokespersons did not respond to requests for comment. The other finalists either could not be reached or declined to comment.
Incoming White House attorney Dana Remus asked the Senators to submit at least three finalists for the US attorney, “as soon as possible and no later than Jan. 19”. Remus also asked for at least three finalists for US Marshall and US District Court Judge.
Remus wrote in a December 22nd letter that the Biden administration is looking for “talented individuals who bring a wide range of life and professional experiences to these critically important roles, including those based on race, ethnicity, national origin , Gender and sexuality are based on orientation, gender identity, religion, veteran status and disability. “”
While the process is fast moving, there are still a few steps that must be taken before a U.S. attorney can take office. The Department of Justice interviews the applicant, who also has to undergo an FBI background check.
The president finally appoints the successful candidate, who must be confirmed by the US Senate.
Whoever is chosen will succeed Andrew Lelling, who has served as a U.S. attorney since 2017 and has earned a reputation for serving up powerful interests, including the state police, who worked overtime for years, and parents, the other Paid to Help Their Children Enter colleges in the Varsity Blues scandal.
Lelling, who was named for the job by President Donald Trump, has told others he was considering running for public office after his appointment expires.
Rollins has made a name for herself since her 2018 district attorney election, beating four other candidates, including a longtime police-assisted prosecutor and the outgoing district attorney.
She was the first black woman to hold the job, and came into office with a reform agenda that included reduced petty criminal prosecution and readiness, unlawful convictions, and laboratory-test convictions of disgraced former state chemists Annie Dookhan and Sonja repeal Farak.
But it has also angered many Boston police officers who feel they have undermined their efforts by failing to prosecute or detain dangerous criminals. Her predilection for blunt public utterance sometimes contradicted other prosecutors and public defenders whom she once criticized as mostly white privileged lawyers who did not work hard for their clients.
The other finalists have different backgrounds.
Shukla has worked on several serious criminal cases in western Massachusetts, including the Gregg Bigda case, a detective accused of handcuffing teenagers and trying to equip them for drug crimes.
She also prosecuted Christopher Roeder, a former Hadley police officer who was found guilty of excessive use of force in 2017 by breaking a prisoner’s nose.
Levy is co-chair of the global litigation and enforcement practice group at Ropes & Gray. He has served as a prosecutor in the Middlesex Count District Attorney’s Office and in the US Attorney’s Economic Crimes Division.
As a federal attorney, he worked on a kickback case against a national medical utility company, Fresenius, and helped win a record $ 486 million severance pay.
More recently, he represented defendants in federal court, including an attorney, Gordon Caplan, who was sentenced to one month in prison for paying $ 75,000 to improve his daughter’s score on a college admission test.
Serafyn has handled civil rights cases for the U.S. attorney and won civil cases against restaurants that failed to take adequate safeguards under federal law on Americans with Disabilities. It also won a settlement from the city of Somerville on behalf of a firefighter who was not reinstated in a high enough position after returning from nearly a decade of naval missions overseas.
She was named head of the civil rights department when she was founded in 2016 by US attorney Carmen Ortiz “to protect the rights of the most vulnerable and underserved members of the community.”
If Rollins is appointed U.S. attorney, Governor Charlie Baker would appoint a successor to serve for the remainder of her tenure, which expires in 2022.
Andrea Estes can be reached at [email protected]