Is Durham DA Satana Deberry being considered for a U.S. attorney post? What we know

Durham County District Attorney Sataba Deberry
Virginia Bridges
·2 min read

Is Durham County District Attorney Satana Deberry being considered for a chief federal prosecutor position?

A Reuters article reported Thursday Deberry and two other progressive, Black women prosecutors had been approached by congressional Democrats or members of President Joe Biden’s transition team.

Rachael Rollins, district attorney for Suffolk County in Massachusetts, and Sherry Boston, district attorney for DeKalb County in Georgia, had also been approached, Reuters reported.

There are a total of 93 U.S. attorneys, appointed by the president with the advice and consent of the Senate.

U.S. attorneys are the chief federal law enforcement officers in their districts and can exercise wide discretion in the use of resources to further local priorities. They work under the direction of the U.S. Attorney General.

In an interview, Deberry dismissed the report as rumor and innuendo.

Deberry said she had a conversation with the North Carolina congressional delegation “about reform in criminal justice in federal and state prosecutors’ offices.” The Biden’s administration has not approached her, she said.

Still, she said, she would be interested.

“It would be an honor for any attorney,” she said.

In a statement, Rep. G.K Butterfield said he is encouraging Biden to appoint “capable, experienced and diverse U.S. Attorneys.”

“I spoke with Ms. DeBerry several months ago about the administration of justice at the state and federal levels,” he said. “I haven’t recommended any specific individual to serve as U.S. Attorney in the Middle District.”

North Carolina Republican Sen. Thom Tillis is working with fellow Republican Sen. Richard Burr to review potential candidates, a Tillis spokesperson wrote in an email.

“He expects to also work with the White House to find nominees who both the President and North Carolina’s Senators can support,” the spokesperson Alex Nolley wrote in an email.

Addressing racial bias

Deberry was elected as district attorney in 2018 on a platform that called for a culture change in the prosecution of crimes by addressing racial bias, seeking unsecured bonds for certain offenses, decreasing the prosecution of teens in the adult system and increasing restorative-justice programs.

Deberry, 53, has worked for the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, and the N.C. Housing Coalition, which she led from 2012 to 2018. From 1999 to 2000, she worked at a firm that focused on civil and criminal litigation and representing nonprofits.

Deberry graduated from Duke University’s law school after attending Princeton University as an undergraduate.

The three U.S. attorneys in North Carolina appointed by former President Donald have all resigned: Matthew Martin, in the Middle District, which includes Durham; Robert J Higdon, in the Eastern District that includes Raleigh, and Andrew Murray, in the Western District that includes Charlotte, also resigned.