President Obama Nominated Sanford Coats, Beth Phillips and Stephanie Villafuerte to be U.S. Attorneys

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WASHINGTON, DC – Today, President Obama nominated Sanford Coats, Beth Phillips and Stephanie Villafuerte to be U.S. Attorneys. Coats is a nominee for the Western District of Oklahoma, Phillips for the Western District of Missouri and Villafuerte for the District of Colorado.

“The men and women I am nominating today boast impressive legal careers that speak to their exceptional intellect and diligence,” said President Obama. “They share a commitment to the pursuit of justice that will make them esteemed U.S. Attorneys and distinguished public servants. I am grateful for their willingness to serve their country.”

Sanford Coats: Nominee for the Western District of Oklahoma

Sanford Coats has served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma since 2004, and was Chief of the Major Crimes Section from 2007 to 2008. From 1999 to 2003, he was an associate at the Oklahoma City law firm Fellers, Snider, Blankenship, Bailey & Tippens. He received his B.A. from Tulane University in 1994 and his J.D. from the University of Oklahoma in 1998. After graduating from law school, he clerked for Judge Marian Opala of the Oklahoma Supreme Court.

Beth Phillips: Nominee for the Western District of Missouri.

Beth Phillips has served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri since 2008, prosecuting child exploitation cases. Prior to joining the office, she was an attorney in the Leawood law firm Bartimus, Frickleton, Robertson & Gorny. From 1997 to 2001, she served as an assistant prosecutor in Jackson County. She received her B.A. and M.A. from the University of Chicago in 1991 and 1992, respectively, and her J.D. from the University of Missouri.

Stephanie Villafuerte: Nominee for the District of Colorado

Stephamie Villafuerte currently serves as Deputy Chief of Staff to Governor Bill Ritter. Prior to joining Governor Ritter’s campaign staff in July 2006, she was Denver’s Chief Deputy District Attorney. She served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney from 1998 to 2001, and as a Deputy D.A. from 1991 to 1998. She is also a board member of the Denver Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. She received her B.A. from the University of Denver in 1987 and her J.D. from the University of California at Los Angeles in 1991.

President Obama nominated John Kammerzell, Mark Martinez and Stephen James Smith to be U.S. Marshals. Kammerzell is a nominee for the District of Colorado, Martinez for the District of Nebraska and Smith for the Southern District of Georgia.

“Throughout their careers, these nominees have displayed courageous and selfless dedication to protecting their fellow Americans,” said President Obama. “They have risked their own lives time and again to protect ours, and they have been relentless in their pursuit of justice. I am honored to nominate them today to serve our country as U.S. Marshals.”

John Kammerzell: Nominee for the District of Colorado

John Kammerzell is the Director of the Colorado Department of Law’s Peace Officer Standards and Training Board, a position he has held since 1999. He is a former Undersheriff and Patrol Division Commander in the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office, Executive Director of the County Sheriffs of Colorado, Sheriff of Rio Grande County, and Colorado State Trooper. He served in the United States Air Force from 1968 until 1971, when he was honorably discharged. He received his G.E.D. in 1972.

Mark Martinez: Nominee for the District of Nebraska.

Mark Martinez served in the Omaha Police Department from 1984 until his retirement in March 2009, first as a police officer, and later as Sergeant, Lieutenant, Captain, and Deputy Chief. He is also an adjunct instructor for the University of Nebraska at Omaha. He received a B.S. and a Master of Science in Criminal Justice from the University of Nebraska at Omaha in 1982 and 1993, respectively.

Stephen James Smith: Nominee for the Southern District of Georgia

A 28-year veteran of the Savannah Police Department, Stephen James Smith currently works as a court security officer for a private security company. During his tenure with the Savannah Police Department, he rose to the rank of Captain, and from 1996 to 2002 he served as Commander of the Chatham-Savannah Counter Narcotics Team. From 2002 to 2005, he was Chief of Police for the town of Thunderbolt, Georgia, and from 2005 to 2007, was Chief of Police for the Memorial Health University Medical Center. He received two Bronze Stars and a Purple Heart for his service in the U.S. Army in Vietnam from 1967 to 1969. He received a B.S. and an M. Sc. from Armstrong Atlantic State University in 1975 and 1987, respectively, and graduated from the FBI National Academy in 1990. Smith also received a Fulbright Scholarship in 1995.