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Attorney General of Louisiana

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Louisiana

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The Attorney General of Louisiana is the chief legal officer of the state of Louisiana.[1] The incumbent is James D. "Buddy" Caldwell, who switched his allegiance from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party in February 2011.[2]

Current officeholder

The current officeholder is Buddy Caldwell, who was first elected in 2007. Caldwell's victory in 2007 came over Democratic incumbent Charles F. Foti, Jr. and the Republican challenger, Shreveport attorney Royal Alexander. His term ends in 2011. Before becoming attorney general, Caldwell served 26 years as district attorney of Louisiana's 6th Judicial District, centered on the town of Tallulah.

Authority

The office of attorney general is established by Article 4, Section 8 of the Louisiana Constitution. The incumbent is granted the authority to intervene in "any civil action or proceeding", to "assist in the prosecution of any criminal case", and to represent the state in any civil or criminal action.[1]

Louisiana Constitution, Article 4, Section 8

... the attorney general shall have authority (1) to institute, prosecute, or intervene in any civil action or proceeding; (2) upon the written request of a district attorney, to advise and assist in the prosecution of any criminal case; and (3) for cause, when authorized by the court which would have original jurisdiction and subject to judicial review, (a) to institute, prosecute, or intervene in any criminal action or proceeding, or (b) to supersede any attorney representing the state in any civil or criminal action. The attorney general shall exercise other powers and perform other duties authorized by this constitution or by law."

Qualifications

Article 4, Section 2 of the Louisiana Constitution requires that a candidate for attorney general be at least twenty-five years old, a citizen of the United States and Louisiana for the five years preceding election, and permitted to practice law in the state for at least five years.[3]

Louisiana Constitution, Article 4, Section 2

To be eligible for any statewide elective office, a person, by the date of his qualification as a candidate, shall have attained the age of twenty-five years, be an elector, and have been a citizen of the United States and of this state for at least the preceding five years. In addition, the attorney general shall have been admitted to the practice of law in the state for at least the five years preceding his election. During his tenure in office, a statewide elected official shall hold no other public office except by virtue of his elected office.

Elections

The Louisiana Constitution prescribes that all statewide executive officials, including the attorney general, be elected for a term of four years, and that their term begin "at noon on the second Monday in January next following the election. [4] Executive officials are elected in years preceding presidential contests (2003, 2007, 2011, etc.).

Term of office

There are no term limits for Louisiana's statewide executive officials other than the governor. Bills have occasionally been introduced into the state legislature to implement such limits, but the latest attempt, in 2010, failed.[5]

Duties

The official website of the Louisiana attorney general gives its mission as "to protect the ... State of Louisiana by providing superior legal representation, and interpretation, professional and effective law enforcement, and public education programs."[6]

As chief legal officer of the state, attorney general is also responsible for providing official legal opinions to state agencies, officers and legislators. He may also advise "local political subdivisions," and their offices.[7]

As noted above, the attorney general of Louisiana, under certain conditions, intervenes in civil or criminal cases in state courts, and may represent the state itself in civil or criminal actions.

Divisions

The Louisiana Department of Justice is divided into the follow divisions:

  • Administrative Services - Coordinates the department's budget, legislative affairs and department planning and performance.
  • Civil - Provides legal representation to the state, its departments and agencies, boards and commissions, and statewide elected officials.
  • Criminal - Assists federal, state and local agencies in the investigation and prosecution of a wide range of criminal matters.
  • Executive - Oversees all department operations. Houses the Appellate Section and the Public Information Office.
  • Gaming - Serves as legal advisor and legal representative to all Louisiana gaming regulatory agencies.
  • Investigations - Provides follow-up investigation services for Criminal Division; responds to requests for investigative assistance from any government agency; and provides investigative services in white collar crime and public corruption.
  • Public Protection - Provides legal services in the areas of consumer protection and environmental law, insurance receivership and fair housing.
  • Risk Litigation - Represents the Office of Risk Management, the Self-Insurance Fund and the State in all claims covered by the State Self-Insurance Fund, and in all tort claims whether or not covered by the Self-Insurance Fund.[8]

Compensation

In 2010, the attorney general received compensation in the amount of $115,000.[9]

Vacancy

Per Article 4, Section 16 of the Louisiana Constitution, vacancies in the office of attorney general are filled by first assistant attorney general, unless the length of the unexpired term exceeds one year. In that case, the governor calls a special election to fill the vacancy.[10]

Campaign finance

Main article: Campaign finance requirements for Louisiana ballot measures

The Attorney General of Louisiana is responsible for prosecuting all criminal violations of Louisiana's campaign finance laws. [11]

If someone feels a person violated Louisiana's campaign finance laws, the first step is to file a complaint with the Louisiana Ethics Administration Program. [12] It is up to the Supervisory Committee of the Ethics Administration Program on a two-thirds vote to approve all investigations. [13]

Electoral history

2011

Incumbent Buddy Caldwell indicated he would run for re-election after officially switching his allegiance from the Democratic to the Republican Party in February 2011, a move the Louisiana Democratic Party criticized as an opportunistic play for conservative votes.[14] Former U.S. Rep. Anh "Joseph" Cao declared in he would challenge Caldwell in the October 22 Republican primary.

No Democrats had entered the race as of July 2011, making an uncontested November 8 general election a possibility.

2007

2007 Race for Attorney General - Primary Election
Candidates Percentage
Green check mark.jpg Buddy Caldwell (D) 36%
Royal Alexander (R) 32%
Charles C. Foti, Jr. (D) 32%
Total votes 1,219,305
2007 Race for Attorney General - General Election
Candidates Percentage
Green check mark.jpg Buddy Caldwell (D) 67%
Royal Alexander (R) 33%
Total votes 717,059

Former officeholders

Since becoming a state in 1812, Louisiana has had 44 attorneys general.

Click "show" for former officeholders.

Contact information

1885 N. Third Street
Baton Rouge, LA 70802

Phone: 225-326-6705
Fax: 225-326-6793
E-mail: admininfo@ag.state.la.us

See also

External links

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References