Minneapolis (05-17-07): -- Former U.S. Attorney Thomas Heffelfinger will address the subject of "The Independence of the U.S. Attorneys" as he speaks to a sold-out crowd at the annual meeting of the Hennepin County Bar Association (HCBA) on May 24 at noon. The event will be held at Windows on Minnesota, 50th Floor of the IDS Center in downtown Minneapolis.
Attorneys quickly reserved all available seats to hear Heffelfinger discuss the nature of his former role during a time when the question of political influence on U.S. attorneys has caused a national furor. Local concern has been heightened with recent media disclosures that Heffelfinger’s name had at one time been on the list of U.S. attorneys considered for removal from office by the attorney general. Heffelfinger has stated that he was unaware of any concerns the attorney general might have had with his performance, and that his decision to resign last year was strictly a personal decision on his part.
The HCBA has ardently supported an independent judicial system, in all of its aspects, dispensing fair and impartial justice to every single individual. (At last year’s annual meeting Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Russell Anderson spoke on the independence of the judiciary.) HCBA President Michael Unger emphasized:
The practicing bar is in widespread agreement that prosecutors, who may be selected with political considerations, must nonetheless enforce the law even- handedly and without regard to a political agenda. This is essential to the rule of law, which is a fundamental principle of American democracy. Mr. Heffelfinger’s message is important in a time when this principle is being questioned in the current controversy over recent Justice Department leadership.
The annual meeting of the HCBA also includes the symbolic handing of the gavel from current President Unger to incoming President Sonia Miller-Van Oort for the new bar year, beginning July 1. In addition, the association will present its annual awards recognizing professionalism, diversity, and service by a non-attorney to the advancement of justice.
The Hennepin County Bar Association is a professional membership association of over 8,000 attorneys living or working in Hennepin County.