PHOENIX – LAWFUEL – Legal Newswire – In a private ceremony held late yesterday afternoon and in the presence of her friends and family, Diane J. Humetewa (pronounced hoo-MEE-tee-wah) was sworn in as the United States Attorney for the District of Arizona. Humetewa was sworn in by U.S. District Court Judge Stephen M. McNamee in his courtroom in the U.S. Courthouse in Phoenix.
Humetewa, who for the past six years has been the office’s Tribal Liaison and Senior Litigation Counsel, now leads one of the largest U.S. Attorney’s Office in the country. The office, which currently employs approximately 250 personnel, occupies four offices (Phoenix, Tucson, Flagstaff and Yuma), and serves more than 6 million residents throughout the entire state of Arizona, including all 21 Indian reservations.
“I am extremely honored to serve in this capacity,” Humetewa said after yesterday’s swearing-in ceremony. “This office prosecutes one of the highest and most diverse case loads in the nation. The staff are exemplary and highly dedicated to the mission of the office.”
After President George W. Bush nominated Humetewa, the U.S. Senate unanimously confirmed her appointment late last Thursday. Humetewa succeeds Daniel G. Knauss, who served as the interim U.S. Attorney for nearly one year after U.S. Attorney Paul K. Charlton resigned to enter private practice.
Humetewa started at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in 1986 as one of the first victim-witness advocates in the federal criminal justice system and helped develop a victim advocacy model that was replicated nationally for similar jurisdictions. She left the office to attend law school at Arizona State University, graduating in 1993. Before rejoining the U.S. Attorney’s Office in 1996 as an Assistant U.S. Attorney, Humetewa was counsel in the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Tribal Justice, and deputy counsel for Senator John McCain, U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. While an Assistant U.S. Attorney, Humetewa prosecuted violent crime cases including child sex crimes, homicides, assaults, bank robberies, and theft of cultural patrimony cases. She also worked in the civil section defending lawsuits brought against the United States under the Federal Tort Claims Act and represented the United States’ interests in Bankruptcy Court. In 2001, Humetewa was promoted to Senior Litigation Counsel/Tribal Liaison and was responsible for relationships between the 21 Indian reservations and the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Victim/Witness Program.
Humetewa received the Executive Office of United States Attorneys’ Director’s Award in 1999 for Superior Performance by an Assistant U. S. Attorney. She has served on the Hopi Tribal Appellate Court since 2002 as a judge pro-tem, and as an ad hoc member of the U.S. Sentencing Commission, Native American Subcommittee. Humetewa is a member of the Advisory Council for the Indian Legal Programs at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, Arizona State
University. Humetewa was nominated by President Bush and confirmed by the Senate in 2006 to sit on the Board of Directors for the Morris K. Udall Foundation. She is considered a national expert in Indian Country issues and has instructed law enforcement and prosecutors in federal criminal procedure, jurisdiction, child abuse, federal victims’ rights, and laws protecting Native American patrimony, artifacts and grave sites. Additionally, Humetewa is married and is an enrolled member of the Hopi Tribe.
Humetewa is expected to conduct a media availability during the second week of January. If you are interested in interviewing the U.S. Attorney, please contact the Public Affairs Office.
RELEASE NUMBER: 2007-255(Humetewa)