Attorney General of Hawaii

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The Attorney General of Hawaii is the chief legal and law enforcement officer of the State of Hawaii. He or she is appointed by the governor and is responsible for advising the various agencies and departments of the [executive branch], legislative branch and judicial branch of the state government. He or she is also responsible for the prosecution of serious criminal offenses and for advocating the basic rights of Hawaii residents.

Current officeholder

The current attorney general is David M. Louie, who was first appointed to the position by recently elected Governor Neil Abercrombie on January 14, 2011. Louie's term will expire when Abercrombie's does, on December 1, 2014.

Before becoming attorney general, Louie was a managing partner in the law firm of Roeca Louie & Hiraoka in Honolulu. From 1977 to 1988, he was an attorney at Case & Lynch, where he specialized in civil litigation, personal injury, insurance defense, commercial litigation, contract disputes and construction defect litigation. Louie holds a J.D. from the University of California-Berkeley School of Law and an A.B. in Sociology from Occidental College.[1]


In many states, the office of attorney general is created by the state constitution. Unusually, the Hawaii attorney general is established by statute.[2]

Hawaii Revised Statutes, 26-7

The department of the attorney general shall be headed by a single executive to be known as the attorney general.


Like all state "principal department" heads, the attorney general must be a U.S. citizen and a resident of Hawaii for at least a year before his appointment.

Hawaii Constitution, Article V, Section 6

Every officer appointed under the provisions of this section shall be a citizen of the United States and shall have been a resident of this State for at least one year immediately preceding that person's appointment, except that this residency requirement shall not apply to the president of the University of Hawaii.


As the head of a principal executive department, the attorney general is appointed by the governor with the consent of the Hawaii Senate. The appointee holds office for a term concurrent with that of the governor, who may also remove him from office at any time. The attorney general is unique among Hawaii's department heads in that his removal by the governor also requires the consent of the Senate.

Hawaii Constitution, Article V, Section 6

Each principal department shall be under the supervision of the governor and, unless otherwise provided in this constitution or by law, shall be headed by a single executive. Such single executive shall be nominated and, by and with the advice and consent of the senate, appointed by the governor. That person shall hold office for a term to expire at the end of the term for which the governor was elected, unless sooner removed by the governor; except that the removal of the chief legal officer of the State shall be subject to the advice and consent of the senate.

Term limits

There are no term limits associated with the office of attorney general.


If a vacancy occurs, the governor appoints a replacement with the consent of the state Senate. If the Senate is out of session when the vacancy occurs, the governor may appoint a temporary replacement to exercise the powers of attorney general until the legislature reconvenes.


The attorney general is responsible for:

  • Representing the state in civil and criminal cases in which it is a party
  • Investigating violations of state laws
  • Preparing official legal opinions for the governor, the state legislature, and other state agencies
    • Advising state officials on legal matters
  • Defending state employees in matters related to their official duties[3]


  • Administrative
  • Appellate
  • Civil Recoveries
  • Civil Rights Litigation
  • Commerce and Economic Development
  • Criminal Justice
  • Education
  • Employment Law
  • Family Law
  • Health and Human Services
  • Labor
  • Land/Transportation
  • Legislative
  • Public Safety, Hawaiian Home Lands, and Housing
  • Tax
  • Tort Litigation
  • Child Support Enforcement
  • Crime Prevention and Justice Assistance
  • Hawaii Criminal Justice Data Center
  • Office of Child Support Hearings[4]


In 2010, the attorney general received a salary of $114,420.

Contact information

Department of the Attorney General
425 Queen Street
Honolulu, HI 96813

Telephone: (808) 586-1500
Fax: (808) 586-1239

See also

External links