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Attorney General of Alaska

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State executive officials
State legislatures
The Attorney General is the principal executive officer of the Department of Law, and is appointed by the governor of Alaska. He or she "serves as the legal advisor for the governor and other state officers, prosecutes all violations of state criminal law, and enforces the consumer protection and unfair trade practices laws."[1]

Current officeholder

The current and 22nd attorney general of Alaska is John J. Burns, appointed by Governor Sean Parnell on November 30, 2010.[2] Before his appointment, Burns was a partner in the law firm Borgeson & Burns in Fairbanks, AL. As the Alaska attorney general serves at the pleasure of the governor, he is not required to be reappointed.


The attorney general's authority is based in statute, not the state's constitution, which specifies that the attorney general is the "principal executive officer of the Department of Law.[3]

Alaska Statutes, Title 44, Chapter 23, Section 10

The principal executive officer of the Department of Law is the attorney general.


Like all principal executive officers in the Alaska government, the attorney general must "furnish corporate surety bonds in the instance and amount required by law," the cost of which is paid by the state. Otherwise, there are no special qualifications for the office of attorney general.[4]


The attorney general, like all Alaska executive department heads, is appointed by the governor and subject to confirmation by a majority of the members of the legislature.[5]

Term limits

There are no term limits for the office of attorney general, who serves at the pleasure of the governor.


Alaska law does not prescribe any particular procedure for dealing with vacancies. It is the governor's responsibility to appoint a new attorney general, subject to approval from the legislature.


The attorney general oversees the Alaska Department of Law, prosecutes violations of state criminal law, issues legal advice to state officers and agencies and enforces other Alaska statutes. The office's duties are outlined in Alaska statute. They include:[6]

  • Defending the constitution of Alaska and of the United States.
  • Taking action to ensure collection of revenue
  • "[Representing] the state in all civil actions in which it is a party"
  • "[Prosecuting] all cases involving violation of state law"
  • Issuing advisory legal opinion to state officials or legislators
  • "[Drafting] legal instruments for the state"
  • Reporting to the legislature regarding the work of his office and necessary changes to existing law
  • Publishing a pamphlet on landlord and tenant rights.
  • Participating in the Regulatory Commission of Alaska as needed


The Department of Law is composed of several divisions and sections:

  • Civil Division
    • Child Protection
    • Collections & Support
    • Commercial & Fair Business
    • Environmental Law
    • Human Services
    • Information & Project Support
    • Labor & State Affairs
    • Legal Support Services
    • Legislation & Regulations
    • Natural Resources
    • Oil, Gas & Mining
    • Opinions, Appeals & Ethics
    • Regulatory Affairs & Public Advocacy
    • Torts & Workers' Compensation
    • Transportation
  • Criminal Division
    • Prosecution
    • Special Prosecutions & Appeals
    • Victim & Witness Assistance
    • Advice to Public Safety Agencies
  • Regional District Attorney's Offices
    • Anchorage - 3rd Judicial District
    • Barrow - 2nd Judicial District
    • Bethel - 4th Judicial District
    • Dillingham - 3rd Judicial District
    • Fairbanks - 4th Judicial District
    • Juneau - 1st Judicial District
    • Kenai - 3rd Judicial District
    • Ketchikan - 1st Judicial District
    • Kodiak - 3rd Judicial District
    • Kotzebue - 2nd Judicial District
    • Nome - 2nd Judicial District
    • Palmer - 3rd Judicial District
    • Sitka - 1st Judicial District

Contact information

Alaska Department of Law
Post Office Box 110300
Juneau, AK 99811-0300

Phone: 907-465-2133
Fax: 907-465-2075

See also

External links

Alaska Attorney General website


  1. Alaska Department of Law, "About the Department of Law," accessed June 1, 2011.
  2. Office of Governor Sean Parnell, "John J. Burns Named Attorney General," November 30, 2010.
  3. Alaska Legal Resource Center, "Alaska Statutes 44.23.010," accessed June 1, 2011.
  4. Alaska Legal Resource Center, "Alaska Statutes 39.05.050," accessed June 1, 2011.
  5. Alaska Legal Resource Center, "Alaska Statutes 39.05.020," accessed June 1, 2011.
  6. Alaska Legal Resource Center, "Alaska Statutes Title 44, Chapter 23, Section 20," accessed June 1, 2011.