Laura Duffy

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Laura E. Duffy
Laura Duffy.png
U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California
Assumed office
May 2010
Appointed by Barack Obama
Preceded by Karen Hewitt
Personal details
Born 1962 (age 52–53)
Des Moines, Iowa
Political party Democratic[1]
Spouse(s) Keri Davis
Residence San Diego, California
Alma mater Iowa State University (B.S.)
Creighton University School of Law (J.D.)

Laura Elizabeth Duffy (born 1962) is an American lawyer who serves as the United States Attorney for the Southern District of California.

Early life and education[edit]

Born in Des Moines, Iowa, Duffy attended Northwest Missouri State University and the University of Iowa before graduating from Iowa State University with a Bachelor of Science degree. She earned her Juris Doctor from Creighton University School of Law in Omaha, Nebraska.[2] As a law student at Creighton, she worked as a law clerk in the Douglas County, Nebraska Public Defender's Office.[2]

Professional career[edit]

Duffy joined the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice as a trial attorney in 1993, working first for the Money Laundering Section and then for the Narcotics and Dangerous Drug Section. In 1997, she moved to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California, with the rank of Assistant United States Attorney. There, she served in the Narcotics Enforcement Section until being promoted in 2007 to the position of Deputy Chief of the General Crimes Section.[3] She is best known for her prosecution of members of the Arellano-Felix drug cartel.[4]

On February 24, 2010, Duffy was nominated by President Barack Obama to serve as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District, which covers San Diego and Imperial counties. The Senate Judiciary Committee approved her nomination unanimously on May 27, 2010;[5] she gained unanimous approval from the full Senate the following day.[4]

In October 2011, she joined with the three other U.S. Attorneys from California to announce a controversial crackdown on medical marijuana dispensaries, which are permitted under California state law but not under federal law.[6]


Duffy is a lesbian;[7] she is married to Keri Davis, with whom she is raising a toddler.[8] She is one of four openly LGBT U.S. Attorneys, alongside Jenny Durkan of the Western District of Washington, Anne Tompkins of the Western District of North Carolina, and Robert L. Pitman of the Western District of Texas.[9]


  1. ^ Kelly Thornton (December 22, 2009). "The Likely Pick for SD's New U.S. Attorney: Laura Duffy". Voice of San Diego. 
  2. ^ a b "Senate Judiciary Committee questionnaire: Laura E. Duffy" (PDF). 
  3. ^ "President Obama Nominates Four U.S. Attorneys". The White House. February 24, 2010. 
  4. ^ a b Kelly Thornton (May 30, 2010). "Senate Confirms Duffy as San Diego's U.S. Attorney". Voice of San Diego. 
  5. ^ Greg Moran (May 27, 2010). "Senate Judiciary Committee approves Duffy nomination". San Diego Union-Tribune, Minute Orders Blog. 
  6. ^ John Hoeffel (October 7, 2011). "Federal crackdown on medical pot sales reflects a shift in policy". Los Angeles Times. 
  7. ^ Carlos Santoscoy (May 30, 2010). "Senate Approves Openly Gay Attorney Nominee Laura Duffy". On Top Magazine. 
  8. ^ Kelly Thornton (July 5, 2010). "Meet the New U.S. Attorney". Voice of San Diego. 
  9. ^ Kyung M. Song (June 21, 2010). "Coming out helps lessen others' fears, says U.S. Attorney Durkan". Seattle Times. Retrieved June 22, 2010.