News - Capital University Law School

U.S. Attorney DeVillers Got His Start at CapLaw

9/21/2020  -  United States Attorney David DeVillers, L’92, known for his trailblazing work prosecuting organized crime and gang activity, got his start in criminal law at Capital University Law School.

DeVillers was appointed U.S. attorney a year ago by President Donald J. Trump. After receiving bipartisan support from Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rob Portman (R-OH), he was confirmed by the full Senate in October and sworn into office November 1, 2019.

In his role as chief federal prosecutor for the Southern District of Ohio, DeVillers oversees approximately 70 assistant U.S. attorneys and 90 support staff in three offices located in Columbus, Dayton and Cincinnati.

The Southern District, comprised of 48 Ohio counties, prosecutes federal criminal cases, working with the ATF, DEA, FBI, ICE and the IRS, as well as local and state law enforcement agencies. In addition, the district represents U.S. interests in civil litigation cases, and averages 20 to 50 trials each year.

“We tend to the larger, more complex cases,” DeVillers says, citing the drug epidemic as the number one criminal issue. “Far and away, it’s fentanyl in the Southern District. That’s all the cartel. That’s what we’re attacking.”

Before being named to the top prosecutor role, DeVillers served as an assistant U.S. attorney for 18 years, where he led task forces investigating and prosecuting organized crime. The Department of Justice frequently called upon him to help investigate foreign corruption and war crimes, including in Iraq where he served as a prosecutor advisor to the Iraqi High Tribunal for the Kurdish genocide trial of Saddam Hussein.

From 1992 to 2002, DeVillers was an assistant Franklin County prosecutor, where he rose to director of the Organized Crime/Gang Unit and started prosecuting gangs under the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. “We went after the organization, rather than just the individual,” he says. “Our gang unit was the first in Ohio to do that.”

DeVillers has received numerous awards for his work, including the Mark Losey Distinguished Service Award from the Ohio Attorney General in 2018, the J. Michael Bradford Memorial Award for the Nation’s Most Outstanding Assistant United States Attorney from The National Association of Former United States Attorneys in 2008, and the Outstanding Assistant Prosecutor of the Year for 1999 from the Ohio Prosecuting Attorney’s Association.

The CapLaw graduate has high praise for his alma mater: “The best defense attorneys and prosecutors are Capital grads,” DeVillers says. “Clearly, Capital is doing something right.”