David Iglesias

David Iglesias Headshot

David Iglesias, J.D.

Jean and E. Floyd Kvamme Associate Professor of Politics and Law
Director, Wheaton Center for Faith, Politics and Economics

On Faculty since 2014

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  • Terrorism
  • National Security
  • War Crimes
  • Military Prosecution
  • Federal Prosecution
  • Legal Ethics
  • Military Commissions
  • Police Misconduct
  • Immigration
  • Police Use of Force
  • Rule of Law
  • Law of War

David Iglesias served as a state, federal and military prosecutor with a focus on national security and terrorism cases. He was the presidentially appointed, Senate confirmed, United States Attorney for the District of New Mexico between 2001-07. CAPT Iglesias presided over the largest political corruption investigations and prosecutions in New Mexico history. Captain Iglesias was recalled to active duty U.S. Navy status from 2008-14 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. He served as a team leader, senior prosecutor and spokesman with the U.S. Military Commissions, in Washington, D.C. and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, handling war crimes and terrorism cases. He supervised the conviction of the U.S. v. Noor Uthman terrorism case. CAPT Iglesias testified before the U.S. Senate and House in 2007 concerning the U.S. Attorney firings and wrote a book about the topic, “In Justice,” (published 2008).

CAPT Iglesias initially served on active duty as a U.S. Navy JAG officer between 1985-88 at the Pentagon and Naval Legal Service Office, Washington, D.C. He was a defense counsel in a 1986 Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, court-martial that partially inspired the movie, “A Few Good Men.” Then, CAPT Iglesias also defended legendary Navy SEAL Team Commanding Officer Dick Marcinko, author of the “Rogue Warrior” books, in military legal proceedings. Marcinko was the founder of the Navy’s premier SEAL Team. In 1998, Professor Iglesias was the Republican nominee for New Mexico Attorney General. He also served as a prosecutor with the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office, General Counsel for the NM Taxation and Revenue Department, senior associate for the Walz law firm, executive advisor for Southwest Border issues for Booz Allen Hamilton and led a national security consulting team, The Soufan Group, in Singapore. Iglesias served on active duty in late 1999 at Fifth Fleet, Bahrain, in support of Operation Southern Watch.

He retired from the U.S. Navy in 2014 as a Captain. As U.S. Attorney, Iglesias was a member of the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee and chaired the Attorney General’s Border and Immigration Subcommittee. Since 1998, CAPT Iglesias has taught foreign military, intelligence, Ministry of Defense and law enforcement personnel in South America, Eastern Europe, Africa and Asia about border security, law enforcement, counter-terrorism and rule of law issues with the Defense Institute of International Legal Studies, the Joint Special Operations University, and the Justice Department.

University of New Mexico School of Law
J.D., Law, 1984

Wheaton College
B.A., History, 1980

  • Veterans of Foreign Wars: Life Member
  • White House Fellowship ('94-'95)
  • Charles Colson Task Force on Federal Corrections: member
  • Rule of Law Task Force member, Brennan Center for Justice
  • National Association of Former United States Attorneys: life member
  • Reserve Officers Association : life member

Clinton Case in Context: When Politics and Prosecutions Overlap
New York Times

...We did find significant partisan differences in the timing of cases around elections....For instance, David Iglesias, the former United States attorney for New Mexico, tells of receiving pressure from Republican members of Congress to file charges against Democrats before the 2006 elections.
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Suburban family's saga ends back where it started -- in Mexico
Daily Herald

David Iglesias, former U.S. attorney and director of Wheaton College's Center for Faith, Politics and Economics, said "if the U.S. grants asylum to anyone fleeing a criminal organization, it would allow people from any part of the world to flee here. It sets the bar too low. Granting asylum should be for something special, not commonplace."
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Is torture effective for gathering intelligence? - Part 2
PBS Newshour

The problem with EITs, which is a euphemism for torture, is, it doesn’t work. You always want to get a voluntary statement with reliable information. And in every case that the Senate committee looked at, the actual evidence used came from nonabusive interrogation tactics. So, as a former war crimes prosecutor, I can tell you, it’s radioactive, and, more importantly, from a realpolitik point of view, it just doesn’t work...
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Return to Gitmo
Santa Fe Reporter

The same year that his book that slammed the Bush administration’s politicization of the Justice Department hit stands, David Iglesias quietly offered his service to an institution that marked another one of President George W Bush’s controversies: the detention camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba...
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Can One Good Man Redeem a Nation for the Sins of Guantánamo?

As the Obama administration prepares to try the 9/11 plotters in military tribunals, David Iglesias stands at the ready to prosecute them — and maybe just save the legacy of the White House that fired him...
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Meet the Press

MR IGLESIAS: Well, getting back to the Vigil trial, that was an historic case for my district. We’d never prosecuted a case, a public corruption case of that size. We got four indictments, four convictions. Mr. Vigil, the former state treasurer, is going to do three years in the federal penitentiary. Is that a devastating loss? I don’t think so. Mr. Comey has a better idea of what I was doing because he was my direct supervisor. Mr. Bartlett was never my supervisor...
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Types of Courses Taught:

  • National Security
  • Criminal Procedure
  • Leadership

Former US Reps. Announce Federal Corrections Task Force, Urban Institute
David Iglesias, 2014