Richard Hartunian '86 to Address DOJ and Crime as Alumnus in Residence

Richard Hartunian '86 to Address DOJ and Crime as Alumnus in Residence

4/18/2014 | Facebook | Twitter | Email

U.S. Attorney Richard Hartunian '86 of the Northern District of New York will be Albany Law School’s 2014 Alumnus in Residence for the spring semester, delivering the lecture “Smarter on Crime: The Department of Justice's Reassessment of Crime and Punishment in a Changing World” on Wednesday, April 23.

His lecture will take place from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. in Room 200, with a reception to follow in the East Foyer. Hartunian will also meet with faculty and students while on campus.

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President Obama nominated Hartunian to become the 48th U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of New York on Dec. 23, 2009. He took office on Jan. 3, 2010, with interim status until his confirmation by the U.S. Senate on Feb 11, 2010. He was sworn in by U.S. District Judge Glenn T. Suddaby on Feb. 19, 2010.

Hartunian is a 1983 cum laude graduate of the College of Arts and Sciences at Georgetown University and a 1986 graduate of the Albany Law School of Union University. He was engaged in the general private practice of law at the firm of Devine, Piedmont and Rutnik in Albany from 1987 to 1990. He served as an Assistant District Attorney in Albany County from 1990 to 1997, where his work on narcotics and violent crime cases led to his designation as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney in 1994.

Hartunian became an Assistant United States Attorney in 1997. He served as the Northern District’s Narcotics Chief and Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Coordinator from 2006 until his appointment as U. S. Attorney in 2010. During his tenure as an Assistant United States Attorney, he successfully prosecuted numerous large drug, gang and violent crime cases.

He has received many awards for his work, including the Federal Bureau of Prisons General Counsel's Exemplary Assistance Award, the Narcotics Enforcement Officers' Association U.S. Department of Justice Award, various Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Regional Awards, and several case-related commendations. In May 2010, Hartunian was honored by the Armenian Bar Association as the first presidentially appointed U.S. Attorney of Armenian descent.


On April 29, 2013, Hartunian was appointed to serve a two-year term on the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee (AGAC). On May 30, 2013, he was appointed to serve as the Co-Chair of the Border and Immigration Subcommittee of the AGAC, in which he leads the Northern Border Working Group of United States Attorneys, focusing on U.S. - Canadian law enforcement issues. He is also an active member of three other AGAC subcommittees: the Health Care Fraud Subcommittee, the Environmental Crimes Subcommittee and the Native American Issues Subcommittee, the longest standing subcommittee of the United States Attorneys within the Department of Justice, focusing on improving law enforcement efforts in tribal communities.

Initiatives spearheaded by the U.S. Attorney’s Office during Hartunian’s tenure have included the LEADership Project, a youth violence reduction program designed to reach every 5th grade student in the Albany City School District to help them steer clear of vandalism, drugs, gangs, and violence by developing positive goals for the future; the Albany Youth Court, a student peer review court established to address minor youth crimes; and a Summit on Prescription Drug Abuse, which brought together leaders and experts in public health, law enforcement, medicine, pharmaceuticals, education and business to address the growing crisis of prescription drug abuse.

The U.S. Attorneys serve as the nation’s principal litigators, under the direction of the Attorney General and the U.S. Department of Justice. There is one U.S. Attorney for each judicial district in the United States and its territories. The primary statutory responsibilities of the United States Attorneys are the prosecution of federal criminal cases; the prosecution and defense of civil cases in which the United States is a party; and the collection of debts owed the federal government that are administratively uncollectible.

The Northern District of New York is comprised of 32 counties in Upstate New York, covering an area of more than 30,000 square miles that is home to about 3.4 million people. The district includes 300 miles of the U.S. border with Canada. The U.S. Attorney has offices in Syracuse, Albany, Binghamton and Plattsburgh.