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Jimmy Gurulé: 1951—: Prosecutor, Law Professor

Developed An Interest In Criminal Law

Following his second year of law school, Gurulé worked a summer internship at the Salt Lake County prosecutor's office and developed a passion for criminal law. While working in the prosecutor's office, Gurulé got to see firsthand how crime victims struggled to overcome their wounds. The victims came to be interviewed by prosecutors who were trying to figure out what charges could be filed. One day, Gurulé spoke with a woman who had been battered by her live-in boyfriend. As he listened to the painful retelling of her story, Gurulé noted her broken nose and arm and felt a tug in his own heart toward helping victims of crime. "I was very touched that here was a criminal justice system available to her irrespective of her economic status—a justice system that would address the wrongs that had been done to her," he told CHB. At that moment, Gurulé came to realize that criminal law would allow him to impact people's lives in a positive way daily.

After earning his law degree in 1980, Gurulé became a member of the Utah bar and headed to Washington, D.C., to work for the Department of Justice as part of an honors program. The prestigious program was the only way attorneys could join the justice department right out of law school. Gurulé was one of about 1,000 applicants for the 12 slots awarded in the program. Along the way he married, in November of 1980, and in 1982 returned to Salt Lake City where he joined the narcotics division of the Salt Lake County prosecutor's office.

In 1985 Gurulé moved to California to work as a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney's Office in Los Angeles, which, at the time, was the second-largest U.S. Attorney's Office in the United States. Again, Gurulé worked in the narcotics division, and his high-octane drive propelled him upward. Soon, Gurulé was promoted to deputy chief of the major narcotics division. In the late 1980s Gurulé gained prominence during a complex and sensitive three-year investigation of a Mexican drug ring suspected of torturing and killing Enrique "Kiki" Camarena, a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent. After months of daily battle in the courtroom, lead prosecutor Gurulé secured convictions of three men involved in the murder. For his service, Gurulé earned the DEA Administrator's Award, the highest award conferred by the DEA, as well as the Attorney General's Distinguished Service Award. Soon after, Gurulé, looking for a change of pace, accepted an offer to teach at Notre Dame. He joined the faculty in 1989.

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Brief BiographiesBiographies: Bob Graham (1942-) Biography - Awards to Francis Hendy Biography - Born to SewJimmy Gurulé: 1951—: Prosecutor, Law Professor Biography - Heavily Influenced By Maternal Role Models, Developed An Interest In Criminal Law, Worked High-profile Jobs In Washington