Joseph H. Harrington
Previously serving as Acting U.S. Attorney between the resignation of former U.S. Attorney Mike Ormsby and the appointment of U.S. Attorney William D. Hyslop, First Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph H. Harrington has been tapped to serve on his fourth term as interim Chief Federal Law Enforcement Official for the Eastern District of Washington. Departing U.S. Attorney Hyslop, who former President Donald Trump has appointed in May of 2019, is currently being requested by President-elect Joe Biden to tender his letter of resignation. Hyslop is one of the 55 Trump-appointment U.S. Attorney present in the call made by Acting U.S. Attorney General Monty Wilkinson last February 9, 2021, wherein instructions for the U.S. Attorneys to vacate their posts by the end of February were made. The temporary replacements made in the different U.S. Attorney’s Offices are as expected in the transition from one administration into another. By virtue of the Federal Vacancies Reform Act, First Assistant Joseph H. Harrington will take over in the Office of the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington as its Acting U.S. Attorney on March 1, 2021. Moreover, his appointment shall last for a maximum of 300 days, or until a new U.S. Attorney has been nominated and confirmed by the Biden Administration.
Table of Contents
- Educational Background
- Legal Career
- Former Appointment as Acting U.S. Attorney
- Areas of Practice
- Notable Prosecutions of Acting U.S. Attorney Harrington
- Leadership Experience of Harrington as Acting U.S. Attorney
- Statement from Outgoing U.S. Attorney Hyslop
- Office Jurisdiction
- Contact Details of Attorney Harrington
- Spokane Branch Office
- Yakima Branch Office
- Social Media Profiles of Joseph Harrington
On his fourth term as Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, First Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph H. Harrington has, once again, been appointed to serve as interim Chief Federal Law Enforcement Official. This time around, First Assistant U.S. Attorney Harrington will take over in the Office of the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington as U.S. Attorney William D. Hyslop departs from the Office at the request of President-elect Joe Biden. The resignation of U.S. Attorney Hyslop was expected, as he, along with the other 54 U.S. Attorneys appointed under the Trump Administration, was recently instructed by Acting U.S. Attorney General Robert M. “Monty” Wilkinson in an all-U.S. Attorney call last February 9, 2021, to vacate their posts by the end of the month of February for the new administration under President Joe Biden to put forth nominations for new Top Federal Prosecutors across the United States. Such changes made in the Offices are considered customary in the transition process from one administration into another. By way of the Federal Vacancies Reform Act, First Assistant U.S. Attorney Harrington will lead the Office of the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington beginning on March 1, 2021, temporarily filling the vacancy until a permanent U.S. Attorney has been nominated and confirmed by President Joe Biden and the Senate, respectively.
Acting U.S. Attorney Joseph Harrington is a two-degree holder. He holds a degree in Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics and a degree in Bachelor of Science in Engineering. He later attended the Gonzaga University School of Law with a full academic scholarship as a Thomas Moore Scholar. U.S. Attorney Harrington previously served as an Editor-in-Chief of the Gonzaga Law Review and has received his Juris Doctorate in 1986.
Prior to joining the Office of the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, Acting U.S. Attorney Joseph Harrington worked for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in Washington, D.C. He then joined the Office in 1990 and has fully dedicated years of service to the district since then. Having more than three decades of service in the Spokane Branch Office, U.S. Attorney Harrington has held several leadership positions, including being Deputy Criminal Chief and later the Chief of the Office’s Criminal Division. He has also been an Anti-Terrorism Coordinator and a Health Care Fraud Coordinator. Apart from that, he was appointed as second-in-command in the Office of the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington for two terms, which led to his being named interim Top Federal Prosecutor for the district twice.
Former Appointment as Acting U.S. Attorney
In March of 2017, former U.S. Attorney Mike Ormsby resigned from his position. Then-First Assistant U.S. Attorney to U.S. Attorney Ormsby, Joseph Harrington, has been appointed as interim Chief Federal Law Enforcement Official for the Eastern District of Washington. Following the end of his first term as Acting U.S. Attorney in January of 2018, U.S. Attorney Harrington was reinstated by the former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions for a second term, which lasted for only 120 days. U.S. Attorney Harrington was then reappointed for a third term as Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington on May 4, 2018, by the U.S. District Court Judge. The appointment made by the District Court was intended to last until Acting U.S. Attorney Harrington retires from the position or until the incumbent president appoints another Top Federal Prosecutor. In May of 2019, former President Donald Trump nominated U.S. Attorney William Hyslop to be the permanent U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington. Upon his appointment, Harrington was named as First Assistant U.S. Attorney to U.S. Attorney Hyslop. Currently, Joseph Harrington is serving on his fourth term as Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, replacing the outgoing U.S. Attorney William Hyslop.
In one of the statement of Harrington said:
“It’s a humbling day. I am honored to have been asked to serve as the Interim United States Attorney and to have the opportunity to continue working alongside the truly dedicated professionals in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Washington.”
Areas of Practice
A federal government lawyer for approximately 31 years, U.S. Attorney Joseph Harrington has handled an array of criminal prosecutions and civil litigations. On top of that, he has managed several cases in appellate litigation. OOn the one hand having expertise in prosecuting criminal cases, Acting U.S. Attorney Harrington’s experience in criminal litigation covers the full spectrum of serious criminal offenses. On the other hand, U.S. Attorney Harrington has dealt with civil litigations involving contract disputes, defense of medical malpractice, employment discrimination, and wrongful death lawsuits.
Notable Prosecutions of Acting U.S. Attorney Harrington
Among his most notable prosecutions are the 2011 case against Kevin Harpham – a self-proclaimed white supremacist who has been sentenced to 32 years in federal prison after placing an improvised explosive device alongside Spokane’s annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Unity March on January 17, 2021 – and the prosecution of the case against the members of the anti-government Phineas Priest domestic terrorism group who have been linked to the bombing of a Planned Parenthood clinic and a Spokane newspaper facility, along with the armed take-over robbery and bombing of a bank in Spokane, Washington. In addition, Acting U.S. Attorney Harrington also served as a co-counsel in the civil rights prosecution of then-Spokane police officer Karl F. Thompson, who was linked to the beating and, later, the death of Otto Zehm. In this litigation, U.S. Attorney primarily supervised the trial team responsible for the investigation and prosecution of the case.
Leadership Experience of Harrington as Acting U.S. Attorney
In addition to his exemplary skills in criminal and civil litigation, Acting U.S. Attorney Harrington has exceptional experience as a leader in the Office of the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington. Within his years of practice in an exclusive federal court, U.S. Attorney Joseph Harrington has been given the responsibility of managing over 65 employees and has constantly been improving his administrative skills since then. Among his experiences in administrative work include the pro-active hiring, managing, and supporting of a diverse workforce. He has also significantly contributed to the Office’s appointment of its first two female Deputy Criminal Chiefs, a female Senior Litigation Counsel, and the extension of offers of employment to a diverse group of female Assistant U.S. Attorneys.
U.S. Attorney Joseph Harrington has been with the Office of the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington for over 30 years. He has previously spent a year as the Office’s interim Top Federal Prosecutor, wherein he was able to establish and consistently build robust law enforcement and community relationships, particularly one with the four Native American Tribes in the Eastern District of Washington. In this regard, he has taken part in the ongoing efforts of the Office of the U.S. Attorney to Address Missing and Murdered Indigenous People.
Statement from Outgoing U.S. Attorney Hyslop
Upon announcing his resignation, outgoing U.S. Attorney Hyslop stated that Joseph Harrington would be of great service to the Eastern District of Washington.
“The Eastern District of Washington will be well-served by soon-to-be Acting United States Attorney Joseph H. Harrington,” said outgoing U.S. Attorney William D. Hyslop.
The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Washington is currently being led by interim Chief Federal Law Enforcement Official Joseph H. Harrington. As the Office’s Acting U.S. Attorney, Joseph Harrington shall oversee and manage the prosecution of criminal cases within the district brought by the Federal government and the defense of civil cases in which the United States is a party. On top of that, the U.S. Attorney’s Office shall be responsible for the collection of debts owed to the Federal government.
Contact Details of Attorney Harrington
Full Name: Joseph H. Harrington
District/State: Eastern District of Washington
Public email ID: [email protected]
Spokane Branch Office
United States Attorney’s Office
P.O. Box 1494
920 W Riverside Ave
Spokane, WA 99210-1494
Yakima Branch Office
United States Attorney’s Office
402 E Yakima Ave
Yakima, WA 98901
Social Media Profiles of Joseph Harrington
Username: U.S. Attorney EDWA
Updated: August 30, 2021
Vanessa R. Waldref is the next State’s Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington. Her biography can be found here.
Updated: February 22, 2022