SDTX mourns loss of longest-tenured attorney | USAO-SDTX

HOUSTON – The Southern District of Texas (SDTX) has lost a valued Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA) with 40 years of service spanning eight presidential administrations, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.

Hays Jenkins, 71, Missouri City, passed way over the weekend. He was the most senior attorney in the SDTX and one of only approximately three dozen with similar years of service among U.S. Attorney’s Offices throughout the nation.

Jenkins began his federal career in 1967 with NASA. He later worked as a Harris County Assistant District Attorney before joining the U.S. Attorney’s Office (USAO) in 1980. In Summer 2020, the office celebrated his 40 years of service to the Department of Justice during a celebration via Zoom.

During his tenure, Jenkins had many different assignments throughout the office and was involved in a variety of cases. He also served as the chief of the Civil Division and as senior litigation counsel. Most recently, he was assigned to the Human Rights and Organized Crime Section primarily prosecuting immigration-related offenses. Over the years, Jenkins consistently worked tirelessly and produced outstanding results. 

“Hays will be missed,” said Patrick. “I did not meet a kinder man in the office since I have been here, and he always had a positive thing to say to me.”

Jenkins was a dedicated professional. He could have retired many years prior to his passing, but loved what he did and continued his work to ensure the fulfillment of, and his contribution to, the overall USAO mission.

Jenkins, a long-time Houston-area resident, was a graduate of Grand Prairie High School and University of Houston. He later earned his juris doctor degree from Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University.

SDTX personnel, to include numerous AUSAs and support staff past and present, who have been blessed to know and work with Jenkins over his long career mourn his loss to the community. Patrick and his leadership also send heartfelt condolences to his family and friends.  

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