Attorney General Holder Recognizes Alaska Prosecutors and Law Enforcement
ANCHORAGE, AK—United States Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced that Steven E. Skrocki, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Yvonne Lamoureux, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Traci D. Ross, Victim-Witness Specialist, Sean Robinson, Lead Paralegal, Monica Valenzuela, Paralegal, and Jodi Bradison, IT Specialist (District of Alaska); Richard Sutherland and Sandra L. Klein (Federal Bureau of Investigation); Avery Thompson (Fairbanks Police Department); and Sgt. Scott Johnson of the Alaska State Troopers who was tragically killed on May 1, 2014, as well as Roger L. Hudson, Lead Attorney (Retired) (Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior), were among the 243 members of the Department of Justice recognized by Attorney General Eric Holder and the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys (EOUSA) at the 30th Annual Director’s Awards Ceremony today in Washington, D.C.
The District of Alaska was one of 44 districts represented at the ceremony which was held in the Great Hall at the Robert F. Kennedy Department of Justice Building.
In his prepared remarks to awardees, Attorney General Holder said, “Locally, nationally, and internationally, you represent the very best that this Department has to offer. Your work embodies our ongoing commitment—not merely to win cases, but to do justice; to protect our fellow citizens from crime, violence, and terrorism; to empower the most vulnerable among us; and to uphold the rule of law.”
During his remarks at the ceremony, Attorney General Holder made special mention of the ultimate sacrifice made by Alaska State Trooper Scott Johnson, stating “we salute the contributions—and mark the profound sacrifices—of our brave men and women in law enforcement. These extraordinary individuals risk their lives to protect their fellow citizens and bring criminals to justice—serving with distinction, with integrity, and with uncommon valor. All too often—in the service of their country, and by virtue of the oaths they have sworn—some are called to make the ultimate sacrifice. And one of these fallen heroes, Alaska State Trooper Scott Johnson, is among the award recipients we recognize this morning. We are both honored and humbled to be joined today by Trooper Johnson’s widow, Brandy, who traveled from Alaska to be here with us. Our nation owes Brandy, her husband, and every member of their family a debt of gratitude that we can never hope to repay. But what we can do, what we must do, and what we pledge to do—all of us, here and now—is to carry on the work for which Trooper Johnson gave his life; to lift up his story, so it can guide and inspire generations to come; and to do everything in our power to ensure that anyone who commits an act of violence against a law enforcement officer is found, caught, and brought to justice.” In response, the hundreds assembled in the great room spontaneously rose and gave a standing ovation in honor of Trooper Johnson.
Roger L. Hudson, Lead Attorney (Retired) (United States Department of the Interior), was recognized for his indispensable contribution towards obtaining an affirmed judgment in United States v. Dennis Torrey, et al., a case which involved a thirty-year history of illegal occupation of a Native Alaskan allotment by the defendant. From the filing of the first case in 1985, through ancillary cases in state court and bankruptcy court, to the issuance of the Ninth Circuit’s mandate in August 2013, Mr. Hudson provided the factual continuity and legal acumen that ensured a successful conclusion of this action. He provided invaluable counsel to the several Assistant U.S. Attorneys who worked on the case as well, and secured resolution for the Native Alaskan family whose traditional lifestyle had been interrupted for a generation.
Steven E. Skrocki, Yvonne Lamoureux, Traci D. Ross, Monica Valenzuela, Sean Robinson, and Jodi Bradison (District of Alaska); Richard Sutherland and Sandra L. Klein (Federal Bureau of Investigation); Avery Thompson (Fairbanks Police Department); and, Sgt. Scott Johnson (Deceased) (Alaska State Troopers), were recognized for their superior performance in the related cases of United States v. Cox, Barney, and Vernon and United States v. Lonnie and Karen Vernon. Sergeant Johnson’s widow, Brandy Johnson, traveled to Washington, D.C. to receive the award on her late husband’s behalf. During a six-week trial against three militia members, the team presented evidence of the defendants’ plans to murder state and federal officials, including Alaska State Troopers, United States Marshals, and Transportation and Security Administration employees. The defendants were convicted of conspiracy to murder federal officials, solicitation to commit murder, and numerous weapons violations involving silencers, hand grenades, and other destructive devices. After the guilty verdicts in this first case, the Vernons pleaded guilty to conspiracy to murder a federal judge, members of his family, and an IRS revenue officer.
United States Attorney Karen Loeffler stated, “I am proud of all of our award recipients from the District of Alaska. Roger Hudson has been an invaluable partner working with all of our Assistant U.S. Attorneys in the Civil Division for the past 30 years on a myriad of issues involving the many facets of the Department of the Interior. The successful investigation and prosecution of the Cox and Vernon cases were a prime example of the excellent collaboration and coordination between and among law enforcement agencies in Alaska. Working together, this team diffused a dangerous situation and obtained a just result for dangerous criminal behavior.”