Biden picks Anchorage attorney to serve as U.S. attorney for Alaska

A headshot of a woman with short blonde hair, wearing a blue polo.
S. Lane Tucker (Courtesy Stoel Rives)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden has nominated a diverse group of six lawyers to run U.S. attorney’s offices across the country, his latest picks for the top law enforcement positions.

The nominees, announced by the White House on Wednesday, would run the federal prosecutors’ offices in Alaska, Connecticut, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico and Utah. They would include the first woman to serve as U.S. attorney in Utah and the first Black woman to serve as U.S. attorney in Connecticut.

The Justice Department’s 93 U.S. attorneys, who are responsible for federal criminal prosecutions in their respective districts, are likely to be central to efforts to combat violent crime. Biden has now nominated 43 people to serve as U.S. attorneys, positions that have been filled for months by acting U.S. attorneys.

The candidates were “chosen for their devotion to enforcing the law, their professionalism, their experience and credentials in this field, their dedication to pursuing equal justice for all, and their commitment to the independence of the Department of Justice,” the White House said.

The nominees S. Lane Tucker, an attorney in the Anchorage office of the law firm Stoel Rives LLP, to be the U.S. attorney in Alaska. The former federal prosecutor worked at the Justice Department in the 1990s and early 2000s.

Also Biden nominated Vanessa Avery, a former federal prosecutor who is now a top lawyer in the Connecticut attorney general’s office, to be the U.S. attorney there. Since 2021, she has served as the chief of the Division of Enforcement and Public Protection at the state attorney general’s office. She was an associate state attorney general and worked as an assistant U.S. attorney in Connecticut. If confirmed, Avery would be the first African American woman to serve as U.S. attorney in Connecticut.

The last Senate-confirmed U.S. attorney in the state, John Durham, currently serves as special counsel overseeing the investigation into the origins of the Russia probe that shadowed Donald Trump’s presidency for years. Durham left his position as U.S. attorney last year — the Justice Department asked prosecutors appointed by Trump to resign from their posts as the Biden administration moved to transition to its own nominees — but has remained as a special counsel after being appointed by then-Attorney General William Barr.

Biden also nominated Trina Higgins, a longtime federal prosecutor, to serve as U.S. attorney in Utah. If confirmed, she would be the first woman to serve as U.S. attorney for Utah.

The Democratic president tapped Jesse Laslovich, a health care executive and former state legislator, to be the U.S. attorney in Montana. Since 2017, Laslovich has worked as a regional vice president for SCL Health Montana-Wyoming region. Before that, he was the chief legal counsel for the Montana Commissioner of Securities and Insurance and worked as a state prosecutor and special assistant U.S. attorney. He served in Montana’s state Senate from 2005 to 2010 and in the state House of Representatives from 2001 to 2004.

Alexander M.M. Uballez, a federal prosecutor in the U.S. attorney’s office in New Mexico, is nominated to run that office. Uballez has worked in the office since 2016 and was previously an assistant district attorney in Albuquerque and Santa Fe.

The Biden administration also nominated Jane E. Young, the deputy attorney general for the New Hampshire Department of Justice, to be the U.S. attorney in that state. Young has held a variety of roles in the New Hampshire Department of Justice since she joined the office in 1992.

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