William Hochul shares experiences as U.S. Attorney of WNY

U.S. Attorney of Western New York William Hochul Jr., husband of Rep. Kathy Hochul, visited Geneseo the morning of Tuesday Sept. 18. Hochul came to discuss the field of law with students interested in pursuing related professions.

According to the U.S. Attorney Office’s website, President Barack Obama nominated Hochul for the position in 2009, a decision which the “Senate confirmed unanimously in 2010.”

Hochul is responsible for overseeing the “prosecution of any federal criminal case” in the 17 counties of western New York, in addition to civil cases.

Before his nomination, Hochul served as a law clerk to a Maryland Court of Appeals Judge, an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia and a prosecutor for the U.S. Attorney Office.

Hochul said his interest in becoming a lawyer was piqued at an early age when he was bullied and realized that he wanted to help those that were “picked on by others.” As Hochul grew older, he said that he refined his reasons for wanting to become a lawyer.

“I was always intrigued by the human mind,” said Hochul. “To realize you have phenomenally smart … and wealthy [criminals] at the leadership level … that don’t agree with the most common explanations [of criminals] forces you to know the history and mythology of their work.”

Hochul said the cases he oversees are “quite sophisticated” and “quite complicated.” The U.S. Attorney’s Office of WNY oversees roughly 800 criminal and 1,000 civil cases per year. Hochul also noted that his office has never lost a trial.

According to Hochul, 25 to 30 percent of the cases that come through his office deal with narcotics, especially synthetic drugs such as bath salts. In February, Hochul’s office dealt with the largest amount of narcotics and synthetic drugs found in the United States in one case. These narcotics also produced the largest and second largest drug seizures for a case.

According to Hochul, human trafficking is another major problem in western New York. Hochul’s office receives one case every three weeks on the issue. In addition to human trafficking, the office also handles many cases involving child pornography.

Other cases his office oversees include organized crime, terrorism, money laundering, cybercrimes and public corruption.

Hochul recommended that students who are interested in law should enter the field if they enjoy a competitive lifestyle and have a passion and commitment to law.

“If you like stimulation jobs … this is the place for you,” he said.

Hochul also noted that knowledge of languages, especially Russian, Chinese and Arabic, will help secure a job with law and government.

“For a student interested in law, [the presentation] was eye opening to the opportunities [in law] available on a global scale,” said sophomore Erin Rozewicz.

“[Hochul’s presention] was awesome, informative and had a lot of … lessons thrown in,” said junior Sarah Kucharski.