U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak has announced his resignation effective January 4, 2021.
Pak is departing the office after serving for more than three years as the chief federal law enforcement officer for the Northern District of Georgia, which consists of 46 counties in Northwestern Georgia and which has offices in Atlanta, Rome, Gainesville, and Newnan. He was nominated as U.S. Attorney by President Donald Trump in July 2017, confirmed by the United States Senate on September 28, 2017, and sworn in as the District’s 25th Presidentially appointed U.S. Attorney on October 10, 2017.
“It has been the greatest honor of my professional career to have been able to serve my fellow citizens as the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia. I have done my best to be thoughtful and consistent, and to provide justice for my fellow citizens in a fair, effective and efficient manner. I am grateful to President Trump and the United States Senate for the opportunity to serve, and to former Attorneys General Sessions and Barr for their leadership of the Department,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak.
Pak was born in Seoul, South Korea, and immigrated to the United States when he was nine years old. He resides with his family in Gwinnett County, Georgia. Pak worked in private practice until he began his government service as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Northern District of Georgia in 2002. He felt called to public service in the wake of the September 11th terrorist attacks on the United States, and he served for six years, prosecuting a wide variety of cases, including drug trafficking, money laundering, intellectual property, and white-collar crimes.
Additionally, Pak served as a State Representative in the Georgia House of Representatives from 2011 to 2017.
“As I look back at my almost a decade serving the Department of Justice (and this office in particular), the most memorable and fulfilling moments involve working very closely with our law enforcement partners in keeping our communities safe. I take with me fond memories and the utmost respect I have for every one of the men and women who wear the badge. They are truly everyday heroes. My hope is that my tenure in the office will be remembered for our efforts to serve and to support those brave agents and officers. I have witnessed first-hand the fortitude and grace of victims of crime and have taken to heart the awesome responsibility of speaking for those who cannot speak for themselves,” said Pak.
During his time as U.S. Attorney, Pak served on several national committees. He served as Chair of the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee’s Subcommittee on Civil Rights; Vice Chair of the Committee on Management, People, and Performance; and as a member of the Domestic Violence and White-Collar Fraud Working Groups. Pak also served on the Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice Technology Working Group, and on the Committee that developed the standards for a National Decertification Index – a database to track excessive use of force incidents by police officers.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia consists of three Divisions: Criminal, Civil, and Administrative. The accomplishments of each Division during Pak’s tenure are many and varied.
Foremost among the office’s accomplishments during Pak’s tenure has been the commitment to working together and improving relationships with federal, state and local law enforcement partners in an effort to reduce violent crime in targeted areas throughout the District. As part of the Department of Justice priority programs Project Safe Neighborhoods and Project Guardian, the office has worked hand in hand with District Attorneys, federal, state and local law enforcement, and community partners to address gun violence. Working with an outstanding research partner, our efforts have been data-driven and evaluated for effectiveness. Our endeavors have been successful as reflected by recent statistics showing significant reductions in gun violence throughout the District. Our Innovative Prevention and Reentry Initiative involves the Credible Messenger Program, where the Department partners with rehabilitated ex-offenders who serves as trained mentors to those violent offenders reentering society from incarceration. Early data shows the program is highly effective in reducing recidivism.
In addition, the office pursued and successfully prosecuted numerous priority cases in the areas of public corruption, drug trafficking, drug delivery resulting in death, drug distribution and illegal prescribing by medical professionals, cybercrime, fraud, insider trading, sex trafficking and exploitation of minors, environmental crimes and illegal immigration. During Pak’s service as U.S. Attorney, the office increased the number of criminal cases prosecuted by over 30% versus FY17, with an emphasis on taking cases that should be handled on the federal level to best serve the victims of crime, regardless of the amount of financial loss or quantity of drugs.
The office’s Civil Division has wide areas of responsibility, from defending federal agencies and employees in civil matters to immigration, discrimination matters, prisoner litigation, and civil rights. The Affirmative Civil Enforcement has been highly successful, bringing cases and negotiating the return of millions of taxpayer dollars that individuals and businesses had obtained by fraudulent means. The Defensive Section handled a significant number of cases, including a large number of lawsuits related to immigration matters. The Civil Division continues to focus upon important polling place access discrimination cases throughout the District with the goal of ensuring that every eligible citizen will be able to cast a vote regardless of any disability. The office continued its long practice of protecting the civil rights of all citizens regardless of their nationality, gender, or disability.
With the dual factors of the current pandemic and the longest government shutdown in United States history, the office’s Administrative Division has been exceedingly productive during the past three years. The Division handled a vast array of COVID-related issues, including sanitation of workspaces, acquisition of safety equipment, telework policies and procedures, and employee assistance.
In addition to these Divisions, the office has implemented a robust outreach effort, with emphasis on the law enforcement and intelligence communities, prison reentry initiatives, and the media. Pak also made efforts to reach out to the citizens of the Northern District of Georgia directly, with many television, radio, and public appearances, to keep the public informed of what the Office of the U.S. Attorney does.
“For the past three years, I have had the great fortune to work with the highly skilled attorneys and staff in the Northern District of Georgia,” Pak said. “This office is blessed with experienced leaders, and fearless colleagues who truly understand the importance of working together for the benefit of their fellow citizens and for justice. Likewise, the staff that supports the attorneys in the office – administrative personnel, legal assistants, paralegals and investigators, those responsible for outreach to law enforcement, victims, community partners, the media, and to those assigned to security and intelligence – are some of the most dedicated people I have seen. Their roles in fulfilling the mission of the office of pursuing justice cannot be underestimated. I have strived to serve these employees of the U.S. Attorney’s Office as their leader during these past three years, the last of which was one of the most trying the office has ever endured. I have greatly enjoyed working with each and every one of them. Throughout the past three years, I have endeavored to serve them and to tell the story of the great accomplishments of the office. While the public words are mine, the accomplishments belong to them.”
This is a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice.