Mississippi Attorney General
|Mississippi Attorney General|
|Office website:||Official Link|
|2013-2014 FY Budget:||$8,424,443|
|Length of term:||4 years|
|Authority:||Mississippi Constitution, Article VI, Section 173|
|Next election:||November 2015|
|Last election:||November 8, 2011|
|Other Mississippi Executive Offices|
|Governor • Lieutenant Governor • Secretary of State • Attorney General • Treasurer • Auditor • Superintendent of Education • Agriculture Commissioner • Insurance Commissioner • Executive Director of Environmental Quality • Executive Director of Employment Security • Public Service Commission|
- 1 Current officeholder
- 2 Authority
- 3 Qualifications
- 4 Elections
- 5 Vacancies
- 6 Duties
- 7 Divisions
- 8 State budget
- 9 Compensation
- 10 Historical officeholders
- 11 Campaign finance discipline
- 12 Recent news
- 13 Contact information
- 14 See also
- 15 External links
- 16 References
The current officeholder is Jim Hood. First elected in 2003, Hood won re-election in 2007 and again in 2011. Prior to his current position, Hood served as the Third Judicial District Attorney in North Mississippi.
Article VI, Section 173:
|There shall be an attorney-general elected at the same time and in the same manner as the governor is elected, whose term of office shall be four years and whose compensation shall be fixed by law. The qualifications for the attorney-general shall be the same as herein prescribed for judges of the circuit and chancery courts.|
Article VI, Section 154:
|No person shall be eligible to the office of judge of the circuit or of the chancery court who shall not have been a practicing lawyer for five years and who shall not have attained the age of twenty-six, and who shall not have been five years a citizen of this state.|
- a practicing lawyer for 5 years
- at least 26 years old
- a resident of Mississippi for at least 5 years
The fee for party candidates is $200 made payable to the appropriate state party executive committee. There is no fee for independent candidates but 1,000 signatures must be submitted.
The attorney general is elected every four years, in the odd-numbered years before a presidential election. The attorney general is elected in 2015, 2019, 2023 and 2027.
There is a regularly scheduled election for attorney general in 2015. Jim Hood (D) is eligible for re-election. The primary election is scheduled for August 4, 2015, with the general election on November 3, 2015.
The attorney general is not subject to term limits.
To view the electoral history dating back to 2003 for the office of Mississippi Attorney General, Click [show] to expand the section.
Note: Ballotpedia's state executive officials project researches the constitutional or statutory text that details the process of filling vacancies for a state executive office. That information for the Mississippi Attorney General has not yet been added. After extensive research we were unable to identify any relevant information on state official websites. If you have any additional information about this office for inclusion on this section and/or page, please email us.
The attorney general serves as the chief legal officer and advisor for Mississippi. He is responsible for advising on both civil and criminal legal matters. The officeholder is aided by a staff of attorneys, investigators and office personnel.
Other duties of the office include:
- represent public officials and government agencies
- issue legal opinions that interpret state law
- act as counsel to state agencies to defend them or bring suit on their behalf
- represent the people of the state of Mississippi
Mississippi Sunshine Act
On May 22, 2012, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant (R) signed a bill restricing the power of the attorney general. Dubbed the Mississippi Sunshine Act, House Bill 211 addressed the need, according to supporters, to "rein in the troublesome practice of awarding contingency fee contracts to plaintiffs' lawyers who are also major campaign contributors to the state attorney general." The conflict of interest issue stemmed from the office's ability to personally select private lawyers whose contracts and fees are arranged at the attorney general's discretion. The Sunshine Law, which went into effect July 1, 2012, requires the attorney general to appoint outside counsel to represent a state agency or elected official in the event that the attorney general either refuses, or is in conflict with, the agency or official. The new law took away the attorney general's power to bring suits unilaterally on behalf of a state agency or elected official. Instead, an agency or elected official is given seven working days to object and seek out alternate counsel, subject to approval by a commission comprised of the governor, lieutenant governor and secretary of state. Once an objection is made, the attorney general cannot go on to represent the associated agency or official. In addition, the law limits the share of a verdict that go to private lawyers hired on contingency, capping payments at $50 million in most cases.
The major divisions of the attorney general's office are: administrative, civil litigation, consumer protection, criminal litigation, crime prevention and victim services, domestic violence, executive, opinions and local government, prosecutors training, public integrity, state agencies and youth services.
"The primary purpose of the Civil Litigation Division is to provide trial and appeal court counsel for State agencies, officials, and employees in litigation in state and federal courts. The Civil Litigation Division also defends local district attorneys and judges when those officials are sued. The civil actions include a wide range of constitutional issues, Title VII employment matters, voting rights, prisoner cases, contracts, § 1983 actions for damages, suits for injunctions, audit demands, ethics issues, and many other matters which can arise from the various functions of State government."
"The Consumer Protection Division strives to ensure Mississippi victims do not fall prey to unscrupulous business practices and scams. The division serves the public in the following three distinct areas:
|Areas of consumer protection:|
"The Criminal Division consists of some of the most experienced attorneys in state government. Because they rely so heavily on judicial precedent, these attorneys have a keen interest in the history as well as the future development of the law. All pleadings filed by Criminal Division attorneys are carefully researched and precisely argued to ensure that lawful convictions and sentences are upheld by the courts."
|Areas of criminal litigation:|
Crime prevention and victim services
This division of the attorney general's office focuses on avenues which promote crime prevention measure for the safety of all Mississippians and provide services for victims of crime.
|Programs within crime prevention and victim services:|
This division was newly created in 2006 with a grant funded by the US Department of Justice. The attorneys and staff work on a number of functions in the area of domestic violence prevention.
|Functions of the domestic violence division:|
Opinions and interlocal agreements
This division executes one of the primary duties of the attorney general: issuing legal opinions to state and local officials, boards, agencies and their attorneys. The attorneys and staff also review legislation, provide training and legal assistance to local officials and approve interlocal agreements. For a listing of all opinions and interlocal agreements, click here.
Develops and coordinates continuing legal education classes and conferences for full time and part-time prosecutors across the state.
This division is responsible for the prosecution of distinct types of criminal cases in the state courts. Its primary mission is to investigate and prosecute public corruption and white collar crime, but the division also includes several units charged with enforcing particular areas of law.
|Units within the division of public integrity:|
Provides legal representation to the executive offices of the Mississippi state government, including "general counsel and advice, representing agency staff in administrative hearings, serving as hearing officers in administrative proceedings, handling personnel issues, including employee discipline and equal employment compliance, advising on matters pertaining to rule making, as well as representing the agencies in courts of law."
Medicaid fraud control unit
- The Mississippi state government has a separate Division of Medicaid, and thought it does not fall under the purview of the attorney general, their office is responsible for investigating suspected cases of fraud that occur within the Division of Medicaid.
The Office of the Attorey General's budget for fiscal year 2013 was $8,424,443.
- See also: Compensation of state executive officers
In 2013, the attorney general's salary remained at $108,960.
- Summary of past officeholders. Since 1818, Mississippi has had 39 officeholders.
Click "show" for former officeholders.
|#||Name||Took office||Left office||Party|
|3||Thomas B. Reed||1821||1825|
|6||Robert H. Buckner||1829||1830|
|7||R. M. Gaines||1830||1834|
|8||M. D. Patton||1834||1837|
|9||T. F. Collins||1837||1841|
|10||John F. Freeman||1841||1853|
|11||D. C. Glenn||1853||1857|
|12||T. J. Wharton||1857||1865|
|13||Charles E. Hooker||1865||1868|
|15||Joshua S. Morris||1870||1874|
|16||George E. Harris||1874||1878|
|17||Thomas C. Catchings||1878||1885|
|18||Thomas S. Ford||1885||1886|
|19||T. Marshall Miller||1886||1893|
|21||Wiley N. Nash||1896||1900||Democrat|
|24||Robert Virgil Fletcher||1907||1908||Democrat|
|25||J. Bowman Sterling||1908||1910||Democrat|
|26||Shepherd Spencer Hudson||1910||1912||Democrat|
|27||Rosser Alexander Collins||1920||1923||Democrat|
|29||C. D. Potter||1923||1924||Democrat|
|30||Rush Hightower Knox||1924||1928||Democrat|
|31||George T. Mitchell||1928||1932||Democrat|
|32||Greek L. Rice||1932||1952||Democrat|
|33||James Plemon (J.P.) Coleman||1952||1956||Democrat|
|34||Joseph Turner Patterson||1956||1969||Democrat|
|35||Albioun Fernando Summer||1969||1980||Democrat|
|36||William A. (Bill) Allain||1980||1984||Democrat|
|37||Edwin Lloyd (Ed) Pittman||1984||1988||Democrat|
Campaign finance discipline
The Attorney General of Mississippi is responsible for all prosecution of the state's campaign finance laws. This is regardless if it involves civil or criminal laws. The first step in filing any complaint is to file with the attorney general.
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MS Attorney General's Office
Post Office Box 220
Jackson, MS 39205
MS Attorney General's Office
Walter Sillers Building
550 High Street, Suite 1200
Jackson, MS 39201
- Mississippi Attorneys General Office
- Mississippi ICAC Task Force
- Fear Stops Here
- Office of the Mississippi Attorney General
- Official State of Mississippi Website
- Secretary of State, "Qualifications and Fees for Mississippi Candidates"
- Mississippi Attorney General - Official website, "Duties of the attorney general," May 9, 2011
- Attorney General Jim Hood, "Homepage," accessed June 3, 2013
- Forbes, "Mississippi Reins In Use Of Contigency-Fee Lawyers," May 21, 2012
- Governor Phil Bryant, "Gov. Phil Bryant Signs Sunshine Act, May 22, 2012
- Mississippi Attorney General, "MS AGO: Divisions -- Protecting Mississippi by preventing and prosecuting crime," May 9, 2011
- Mississippi Attorney General, "Consumer protection division," May 10, 2011
- Mississippi Attorney General, "Criminal litigation division," May 10, 2011
- Mississippi Attorney General, "Crime prevention and victim services division," May 10, 2011
- Mississippi Attorney General, "Domestic violence division," May 10, 2011
- Mississippi Attorney General, "Prosecutor training," May 10, 2011
- Mississippi Attorney General, "Cyber crime unit," May 10, 2011
- Mississippi Attorney General, "Child desertion unit," May 10, 2011
- Mississippi Attorney General, "State agencies division," May 10, 2011
- Mississippi Attorney General, "Medicaid fraud," May 10, 2011
- State of Mississippi Joint Legislative Budget Committee, "Legislative Appropriations Bulletin FY 2013," 6," accessed June28, 2013
- Council of State Governments, "SELECTED STATE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICIALS: ANNUAL SALARIES," accessed December 2, 2014
- Council of State Governments, Table 4.11 Selected State Administrative Officials: Annual Salaries," accessed January 30, 2014
- Confirmed with Mississippi AG on 5-20-2010 via phone
State of Mississippi
|State executive officers||
Governor | Lieutenant Governor | Attorney General | Secretary of State | Treasurer | State Auditor | Superintendent of Education | Commissioner of Insurance | Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce | Executive Director of Environmental Quality | Executive Director of Employment Security | Chairman of Public Service Commission |