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Top Federal Death Penalty Lawyer Demoted, Reassigned

by Christopher Zoukis

Kevin Carwile, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) attorney in charge of the agency’s death penalty prosecution unit, has been demoted over allegations that he fostered a “sexualized environment” in his workplace.

The New York Times reported on the accusations against Carwile on March 31, 2018 in an article that highlighted multiple accusations of sexism, favoritism and harassment. According to the Times, Carwile has been investigated at least a dozen times since he was tapped to run the death penalty unit in 2010.

Before overseeing the capital punishment division, he was head of the DOJ’s gangs unit. He was bounced from that post in the wake of the “Fast and Furious” scandal involving the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, in which federal agents allowed criminal gangs to transport guns to Mexico in the hope of building a better case against them. According to the Times, Carwile incorrectly told investigators that the BATFE learned about the firearms being moved illegally after it had already happened.

During his time as head of the death penalty unit, Carwile reportedly held men-only meetings, sent emails only to male employees and gave the best cases to men. One former prosecutor said Carwile took him to a restaurant staffed by scantily clad waitresses, and let prosecutors show naked photos of a woman during work events involving men and women.

Further, according to a female prosecutor, Carwile had once stated, “Women only go to law school to find rich husbands.”

The Times reported that at least six DOJ employees left during Carwile’s tenure due to the “toxic environment.” Administrative assistant Alyssa tenBroek, who was groped by one of Carwile’s deputies, was one of them.

Luke Woolman, an intern at the time, witnessed Gwynn Kinsey’s unwelcome touching of tenBroek at an after-work happy hour in May 2017. He wrote in a declaration that “Mr. Kinsey, who is a married man, began to take what seemed very clearly to be unwelcome liberties of a physical, sexual nature.” Several employees reported that Carwile asked them to keep the incident secret; tenBroek said the Justice Department had “failed” her.

Like Carwile, Kinsey was demoted and reassigned.

The DOJ confirmed that it referred some of the allegations against Carwile to the Inspector General’s office, but declined to comment otherwise.

“The Department of Justice takes these allegations extremely seriously but cannot discuss specific employee disciplinary actions, or comment on internally handled personnel actions or matters that may impact personnel privacy,” said spokesmen Ian Prior.

Carwile now works in a different division of the DOJ. He had received an Excellence in Management Award in 2011. 

Sources:,,, CNN,


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