Attorney General of Alaska
|State executive officials|
The current and 22nd attorney general of Alaska is John J. Burns, appointed by Governor Sean Parnell on November 30, 2010. 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.
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.
Alaska Statutes, Title 44, Chapter 23, Section 50
|The principal executive officer of each department and subordinate officials shall furnish corporate surety bonds in the instance and amount required by law or determined by the governor upon recommendation of the commissioner of administration. The state shall pay the cost of the bond. The attorney general shall approve the form of the bond.|
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.
Alaska Statutes, Title 39, Chapter 5, Section 20
|The governor shall appoint the head of each principal executive department in the state government. Each appointment is subject to confirmation by a majority of the members of the legislature in joint session.|
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:
- 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
- Criminal Division
- 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
In 2010, the attorney general received compensation in the amount of $135,000. The attorney general's salary is bound to a range determined by statute; it must be no less than Range 28 of the Alaska executive branch employee salary schedule nor more than Range 30.
Alaska Department of Law
Post Office Box 110300
Juneau, AK 99811-0300
- Alaska Department of Law, "About the Department of Law," accessed June 1, 2011.
- Office of Governor Sean Parnell, "John J. Burns Named Attorney General," November 30, 2010.
- Alaska Legal Resource Center, "Alaska Statutes 44.23.010," accessed June 1, 2011.
- Alaska Legal Resource Center, "Alaska Statutes 39.05.050," accessed June 1, 2011.
- Alaska Legal Resource Center, "Alaska Statutes 39.05.020," accessed June 1, 2011.
- Alaska Legal Resource Center, "Alaska Statutes Title 44, Chapter 23, Section 20," accessed June 1, 2011.
- The Council of State Governments, "Book of the States 2010, Table 4.11," accessed May 20, 2011.
- Alaska Legal Resource Center, "Alaska Statutes Title 39, Chapter 20, Section 80, accessed June 1, 2011.