Region's U.S. attorney will resign Michael R. Stiles has spent 8 years in the high-profile post. Delco's D.A. is viewed as a possible successor.

Posted: March 20, 2001

U.S. Attorney Michael R. Stiles, the top federal prosecutor since 1993 for the nine counties of Southeastern Pennsylvania, said he would announce his resignation and future plans today.

A veteran Philadelphia prosecutor and city Common Pleas Court judge before his appointment as U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Stiles, 55, confirmed yesterday that he would formally announce his plans today.

His departure from the high-profile presidential appointment was only a matter of time as soon as President Bush's election became official. Stiles is a Democrat and close friend of former Mayor Edward G. Rendell's.

Delaware County District Attorney Patrick L. Meehan, 45, is considered the leading candidate to replace him. A former aide to U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter (R., Pa.), Meehan handled the John E. du Pont murder case in 1996 as the new Delaware County prosecutor.

During eight years as U.S. attorney here, Stiles oversaw the restructuring of the prosecutor's office, focusing less on drug prosecutions and more on guns and violent criminal organizations.

He was also influential within the Justice Department. He led the national association of U.S. attorneys, and, in 1995, Attorney General Janet Reno named him to oversee the department's internal inquiry of whether five top FBI officials covered up their approval of a "shoot-on-sight" order given to FBI snipers at a deadly 1992 siege with white separatists in rural Idaho.

A native Philadelphian, Stiles is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and the Villanova University Law School.

From 1971 to 1983, he was a prosecutor in the District Attorney's Office in a career that took him to head of the appeals unit of that office and then four years as the first assistant district attorney.

He was appointed to the city Common Pleas Court in June 1983 and elected to a full 10-year term that November.

Joseph A. Slobodzian's e-mail address is jslobodzian@phillynews.com.

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