A blog by Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer Brian Tannebaum. Commenting on criminal law issues of local and national interest.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Tannebaum Comments To Miami Daily Business Review on Interim S.D. Fla. U.S Attorney

Your author was asked to comment on the interim United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida for the Miami Daily Businesss Review. This story was also cited on the popular Southern District of Florida Blog.


From the Courts: Justice Watch
Little-known U.S. attorney makes the rounds

By: Julie Kay

Who is Alex Acosta?

That’s the question South Florida attorneys are asking about the new acting U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida.

“No one knows anything about him,” said Brian Tannebaum, president of the Miami chapter of the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys. “I haven’t met him yet.”

Kathleen Williams, the top federal public defender in South Florida, said, “I have never met the U.S. attorney. He has not practiced in the area, so none of us knows him.”

Even heavyweight Republican lawyers in town aren’t familiar with Acosta.

“I met him once, but I don’t really know him,” said Thomas Spencer, a top GOP lawyer in Miami and chairman of the Miami-Dade County Judicial Nominating Commission.

But what South Florida attorneys do know is causing them some concern — namely that Acosta has never tried a case and has little experience in criminal law.

“The word on the street is that he has no criminal law experience,” Tannebaum said. “I would like a U.S. attorney who has experience in criminal justice … who has some working knowledge of criminal justice.”

Acosta, who came to Miami after heading the Justice Department’s civil rights division, notes there are 235 prosecutors in his office.

He said his job requires management more than courtroom skills, the ability to interact well with law enforcement and community groups, and high-level contacts to help the region.


  1. why are you so focused on the fact that acosta has no criminal experience? i know from your previous posts that you think that criminal lawyers are so much more important than civil lawyers but dont be so pompous as to thik that only someone who has crimnal experience can run the usao. Acosta's points in the article are all well taken. he is not supposed to be a court-room lawyer trying cases. he is a mananger who is supposed to set priorities and run the office. all of our local elected prosecutors in dade, broward and palm beach have been career prosecutors or defense attorneys and i am sure you would agree that those offices have their flaws.
    you defense attorneys love to spout about how they want open minded people as jurors. be open minded and give acosta a chance. he might surprise you.

  2. Thanks for your continued comments and for following the blog. As you can imagine, the interview was more indepth than the printed version. I was asked what I knew about Acosta, and I said I heard he had no criminal experience, had a good reputation in washington and was rumored to be a nice guy. I was then asked if I preferred someone with criminal experience, and as you can see from the article, I answered the question.

    The theme of the article was his lack of experience, so those were the comments the reporter went with.

    I look forward to meeting him, and as president of FACDL-Miami, it has been my intention for a while to welcome him at an official gathering. I intend to give him every chance to be successful.

  3. As a professional recruiter at the highest levels for nearly 30 years, I’m astonished that someone who has no criminal law experience could even be remotely considered to run such an important operation. Strictly political, period! No other considerations.

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