SAN FRANCISCO – 3 November – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – United States Attorney Kevin V. Ryan announced that three Assistant United States Attorneys have received distinguished awards for their outstanding performance. Jonathan Schmidt received the Executive Office of the United States Attorney’s 2005 Director’s Award, Edward Torpoco received a Latino Business Leadership Award as being one of the most influential Hispanic leaders in the Bay Area, and Michael Li-Ming Wang was selected as one of the “Best Lawyers Under 40” in the United States by the National American Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA).
“I congratulate Jonathan, Edward and Michael on being recognized for their accomplishments and thank them for their leadership. The Northern District is fortunate to have these qualified attorneys working for it,”said U.S. Attorney Kevin V. Ryan.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Schmidt:
The Department of Justice held its 22nd annual Executive Office for U.S. Attorney’s Director’s Awards ceremony on October 28, during which 123 award recipients were recognized for their excellence in law enforcement.
Jonathan Schmidt has been awarded the Executive Office of the United States Attorney’s 2005 Director’s Award, one of the highest honors bestowed by the U.S. Department of Justice. Mr. Schmidt, a graduate of Yale Law School, and a ten-year veteran of the United States Attorney’s Office is receiving the award in recognition of his superior performance while on a nineteen-month assignment in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
In Bosnia Herzegovina, Mr. Schmidt worked as one of six international prosecutors in a new state court established to prosecute corruption and war crime cases. Mr. Schmidt tried two complex cases while in Bosnia, each lasting 7 months. He tried the first war crime prosecution in the new state court, and a public corruption case against a Deputy Director of Bosnia Interpol.
The war crimes case was the first war crimes case prosecution against the Bosnian mujahideen. It is believed that many of the Bosnian mujahideen were veterans of the 1980’s jihad in Afghanistan, who came to Bosnia to support the Bosnian Muslims and to establish a mujahideen foothold in Europe. The defendant, in Mr. Schmidt’s case, facilitated the mujahideen’s arrival in Bosnia and Herzegovina, provided them weapons and logistical support during the war, and participated in an abduction of civilians, which culminated in a ritual beheading.
The second case was against the Deputy Director of Interpol and member of a Sarajevo crime group who was charged for using his position to blackmail targets of international arrests warrants. The case was the first high level, political corruption case tried to completion in the new Bosnian Herzegovina State Court.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward Torpoco:
On October 19th, 2005, Edward Torpoco received a Latino Business Leadership Award from the San Francisco Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the San Francisco Business Times, and Wells Fargo Bank, at a ceremony honoring the most influential Hispanic leaders in the Bay Area.
Mr. Torpoco is the incoming President of the La Raza Lawyers Association of San Francisco, which, among other things, provides scholarships to Latino law students. He is also the Chairman of the Diversity Issues Committee of the Barristers Club of the San Francisco Bar Association.
Mr. Torpoco attended Harvard Law School and was an editor of the Harvard Law Review. Following law school, he clerked with the Honorable Irma Gonzalez in the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of California. He then worked as a Deputy District Attorney in Los Angeles and as a Trial Attorney in the Public Integrity Section of the U.S. Department of Justice. He has been with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for three years and is now part of the Organized Crime Strike Force, where he has served as co-counsel on the Nuestra Familia prison gang case.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Li-Ming Wang:
NAPABA, the national Asian American bar association, named Michael Li-Ming Wang one of the nation’s “Best Lawyers Under 40” during its annual convention in Chicago on October 22. According to NAPABA, the award recognizes the top Asian American attorneys in the United States under the age of 40, based on accomplishments both in the legal arena and the Asian Pacific American community.
Mr. Wang currently serves as the Chief of the Major Crimes Section in San Francisco, where he supervises the largest unit in the Criminal Division for the U.S. Attorney’s Office. He was the recipient of the Department of Justice’s 2004 Director’s Award for his outstanding trial work.
Mr. Wang has successfully tried numerous jury trials to verdict, including several trials involving complex fraud schemes; a trial involving an anthrax threat against a federal building; and two alien-smuggling trials in which he secured the first convictions under the federal international-hostage-taking statute ever obtained in the Northern District of California.
Mr. Wang is actively involved in the Bay Area Chapter of the Asian American Bar Association and participates in that organization’s law-student mentor program.
A graduate of Harvard Law School, Mr. Wang clerked for Judge José A. Cabranes of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the U.S. Supreme Court.
All press inquiries to the U.S. Attorney’s Office should be directed to Luke Macaulay at (415) 436-6757 or by email at [email protected]