Tuesday, December 27, 2016

John Fishwick, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Virginia resigns

John Fishwick, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Virginia

John Fishwick, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Virginia

After serving for a year, John P. Fishwick Jr. announced today that he recently informed President Barrack Obama that he will be resigning as United States Attorney for the Western District of Virginia effective at midnight on January 6, 2017.

Fishwick took Timothy Heaphy’s place when he resigned in November of 2014. Department of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Attorney General Eric Holder resigned earlier that year.

Timothy Heaphy resigns as U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Virginia

It is not unusual for a President of another party who selects a new U.S. Attorney General to see resignations of appointees when the party in power changes.

President-Elect Donald Trump has selected U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama to become the new Attorney General. He has not been shy in expressing his displeasure of the performance of the Department of Justice on immigration the refusal to defend a federal ban on gay marriage.

Sen. Sessions has said he is going to clean house at the DOJ.

Fishwick will return to private practice in Roanoke where he makes his home.

“The opportunity to serve as United States Attorney has been the greatest honor of my career and it has been a privilege to serve the people of Western Virginia,” Fishwick said.

Slides of ceremonial swearing in of U.S. Attorney John Fishwick

“Since 2015, U.S. Attorney John P. Fishwick Jr. has served the people of the Western District of Virginia, and the people of this nation, with integrity and distinction,” said Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch.

“During John’s tenure as U.S. Attorney, his office made significant progress on many of the difficult challenges facing law enforcement today. Under his leadership, the Western District successfully prosecuted the gang responsible for the murder of a police captain, collaborated with local and state law enforcement officials to fight the scourge of gun violence, and tirelessly combated the heroin epidemic. And John personally promoted strong relationships between law enforcement and the community. Among other initiatives, John educated youth about gun violence and drug addiction, and introduced a mentoring program that links law enforcement mentors — such as John — with the young people of Roanoke. I want to thank John for his service, and I wish him the very best in the next phase of his career.”

While U.S. Attorney, Mr. Fishwick focused not only on prosecution of federal crimes but also on educating the community in an effort to prevent crime.

Prosecution of Violent Offenders

During Mr. Fishwick’s tenure as U.S. Attorney, the US Attorney’s Office successfully prosecuted the gang responsible for the kidnapping and murder of Waynesboro Reserve Police Capt. Kevin Quick.

In addition, as part of the effort to combat violent offenders, Mr. Fishwick personally prosecuted several cases involving guns and violence and has regularly met with federal, local, state and regional law  enforcement officials to discuss solutions to combat rising gun violence.

The Student Gun Pledge

Mr. Fishwick worked tirelessly in his efforts to combine crime prevention and education during his time as the U.S. Attorney. During a six-day period in October, more than 15,000 youth throughout the Western District of Virginia signed the Students Against Gun Violence Pledge. Mr. Fishwick made presentations to these students, who in turn, made a commitment to never bring a gun to school and never use a gun to settle a score. Additionally, Mr. Fishwick made this presentation to various community action organizations, furthering his efforts to reach young people.

Heroin Epidemic

Mr. Fishwick worked with federal, state and local law enforcement to ensure that the U.S. Attorney’s Office prosecuted significant cases in which victims were killed or seriously injured as a result of a heroin overdose.

Additionally, the U.S. Attorney’s Office hosted a public heroin summit at the Grandin Theatre in Roanoke. More than 300 members of the community viewed the powerful film, “Chasing the Dragon.” Afterward, Mr. Fishwick led a panel discussion of law enforcement officials, medical experts and a brave parent. This summit has led to more heroin education and prevention work at area schools and this effort is ongoing.

Promoting Strong Relationships with Law Enforcement and the Community Mr. Fishwick regularly met with law enforcement and the community to promote strong relationships between the two groups.

As a member of the Baltimore/Washington High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA), Mr. Fishwick was instrumental in bringing the Badges for Baseball Program to Roanoke. The Badges for Baseball program, a signature program of the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation, works to bring law enforcement mentors to young people participating in the Boys and Girls Club. This past summer, Mr. Fishwick and his sons served as mentors in the program. In addition to the Roanoke program, a Badges for Baseball program has been started in the Harrisonburg Boys and Girls Clubs.

As of January 7, 2017, First Assistant United States Attorney Rick Mountcastle will assume leadership of the office as Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Virginia.

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Community, Crime, Local Events

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