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Attorney General Nessel Announces New Deputy Attorneys General, Criminal Justice Divisions

LANSING Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel today announced that Peter Manning and Joe Potchen have been promoted to the positions of Deputy Attorney General assuming the duties of former Chief Deputy Fadwa Hammoud. She additionally announced a reorganization of the Criminal Justice Bureau to create three new divisions within the Bureau. 

“Joe Potchen and Peter Manning are seasoned veterans, well-respected attorneys, and advocates for the citizens of Michigan. I am grateful for their willingness to step up and for their service to the department and the public,” said Nessel. “They have decades of experience serving as both staff Assistant Attorneys General, handling cases in the trenches, as well as serving as managers in the department. This is a well-deserved promotion, and I am thankful they have accepted these roles to oversee the operations of our department, support our staff, and deliver for the people of this State.” 

Deputy Attorney General 

Peter Manning joined the Department of Attorney General in 1994 and has worked in the department’s Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture Division (ENRA) for most of his career. He was promoted to manage a section in ENRA in 2002 and was appointed Division Chief in 2005, serving 17 years as the head of the division. In 2015 he was named a Practice Group Manager and was assigned to oversee four other divisions, in addition to managing ENRA. In 2021, Mr. Manning was named Bureau Chief of the Environment and Government Operations Bureau, overseeing nine divisions and 186 employees. 

Mr. Manning has also served as the Attorney General’s representative on the Great Lakes Commission and as the department’s Emergency Management Coordinator for almost two decades. 

Mr. Manning is a graduate of Michigan State University and the University of Michigan Law School. He is married and has four children. 

Joe Potchen joined the Department in 1994 after practicing law in Chicago. Mr. Potchen worked in the office’s Public Employment & Elections Division focusing on employment law cases for 14 years. In 2008, he was promoted to First Assistant in the Health, Education and Family Services Division and was promoted again in 2013 to the Division Chief position in the Corporate Oversight Division (COD). In 2015, he was assigned to be a Practice Group Manager and took on oversight of four other divisions, in addition to managing COD. In 2021, he was named Bureau Chief of the Consumer & Regulatory Enforcement Bureau where he oversaw eight divisions and 214 employees. 

In addition to his work at the Michigan Attorney General’s office, Mr. Potchen has taught business law and business ethics courses at the Eli Broad Graduate School of Management at Michigan State University.  

Mr. Potchen is a graduate of James Madison College at Michigan State University and Loyola School of Law in Chicago. He is married with three children. 

Criminal Justice Divisions 

The Criminal Justice Bureau has reorganized and added three new divisions. Assistance with Convictions and Expungements (ACE) will be led by Assistant Attorney General (AAG) Robyn Frankel, Criminal Appellate and Parole Appeals Division led by AAG John Pallas, and Victims Services/Victim’s Rights led by Department Manager Rebekah Snyder-Cox. 

“These new divisions reflect our commitments to victim experiences, conviction integrity, and defending community safety and victims not only from arrest to conviction, but through the appellate process and beyond,” said Nessel. “These three leaders exemplify our values, and their promotions are well-earned, as the department’s practice in each of these fields has expanded over the last five years.  Each manages teams of dedicated public servants to examine potentially wrongful convictions, assist Michigan residents in acquiring post-sentencing expungements, to intervene in parole appeals to protect public safety, to defend valid state criminal convictions in both state and federal court, and in countless other ways serving as advocates in the judicial system for the victims of the crimes we prosecute.” 

Robyn Frankel joined the Department in 2019 to run the state-wide Conviction Integrity Unit (CIU). She started with one lawyer. The unit has now been expanded to include three additional attorneys, two full time investigators, and a legal secretary. The CIU has successfully exonerated five individuals and recommended relief in a sixth case, including cases out of Oakland, Kalamazoo, Berrien, and Calhoun counties. Frankel previously worked for the Oregon Supreme Court as a judicial clerk and as a public defender in the Portland area until 1990. She returned to Michigan and spent three years at the State Appellate Defenders Office, followed by a successful criminal defense practice.  

A graduate of Western Michigan University, Frankel earned her JD at Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon, and is a member of the State Bar of Michigan, as well as the Oregon State Bar. 

John Pallas joined the Department in 2010 after 21 years in the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office, where he last served as the Division Chief for the Appellate Division. With the Department, Pallas has worked as the Habeas Section Head and most recently as a First Assistant for the Appeals Section of the Criminal Trials and Appeals Division and has been integral to the success of the Department’s Expungement work and fairs. Additionally, he is a faculty member with the National Assocation of Attorneys General’s training unit. A recipient of many awards for his work, most recently Pallas was named the 2023 International Prosecutor of the Year by the International Association of Prosecutors. 

Pallas graduated from the University of Michigan-Dearborn with a Bachelor of Arts degree and completed law school at Wayne State University. He is licensed to practice law in Michigan and Florida. 

Rebekah Snyder-Cox supervises the Victims’ Rights Division within the Michigan Department of the Attorney General. Her career in Victim Advocacy began in 2015 at a community-based agency in Rhode Island, reporting to hospitals around-the-clock. While there, she accompanied victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, and human trafficking seeking medical treatment and filing reports to law enforcement. She then continued her advocacy in Title IX at Bates College, helping victims through finding available resources on campus before she joined the department in 2017. She holds a Masters Degree in Forensic Psychology from Roger Williams University.

She has overseen the expansion of the victim advocates six-fold and has worked on a variety of initiatives such as the Michigan State University investigation, Clergy Abuse investigation, Boy Scouts of America investigation, and is assigned to the cold case sexual assault unit. 

The Victims’ Rights Division will house the Address Confidentiality Program and will expand to provide victim advocate services to victims in matters being handled by the civil divisions.


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