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Attorney General of West Virginia
|West Virginia Attorney General|
|Office website:||Official Link|
|2013 FY Budget:||$5,941,802|
|Length of term:||4 years|
|Authority:||West Virginia Constitution, Article VII, Section 1|
|Assumed office:||January 14, 2013|
|Next election:||November 8, 2016|
|Last election:||November 6, 2012|
|Other West Virginia Executive Offices|
|Governor • Lieutenant Governor • Secretary of State • Attorney General • Treasurer • Auditor • Superintendent of Education• Agriculture Commissioner • Insurance Commissioner• Natural Resources Commissioner • Secretary of Commerce • Commissioner of Labor • Public Service Commission|
Article VII, Section 1:
|The executive department shall consist of a governor, secretary of state, auditor, treasurer, commissioner of agriculture and attorney general...|
No person, except citizens entitled to vote, shall be elected or appointed to any state, county or municipal office; but the governor and judges must have attained the age of thirty, and the attorney general and senators the age of twenty-five years, at the beginning of their respective terms of service; and must have been citizens of the state for five years next preceding their election or appointment, or be citizens at the time this constitution goes into operation.
- at least 25 years old
- a citizen entitled to vote
- a resident of West Virginia for at least the preceding 5 years
Details of vacancy appointments are addressed under Article VII, Section 17 of the state constitution.
If the office of attorney general becomes vacant, it is the duty of the governor to fill the position by appointment. The appointee serves until a new attorney general is elected.
The office of the attorney general is statutorily bound to represent all state agencies, officials, commissions, and boards that request representation in civil matters. There are a number of areas in which the attorney general also bears some responsibility:
- Legal Opinions - The office provides written legal opinions on issues that have not previously been addressed in the state or federal courts
- Criminal Appeals - Though the attorney general does not prosecute criminal cases, the office does represent the state in criminal appeals before the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals
- Consumer Protection - The office enforces consumer protection laws and provides mediation services to resolve complaints.
- Civil Rights - The office represents individuals who may have been discriminated against in employment, housing, or public accommodations on the basis of race, religion, gender, age, disability, ancestry, or national origin.
- Burial and Funeral Contracts - The office has regulatory oversight over "pre-need" contracts sold to people to pay in advance for funeral and burial expenses.
- State Purchases - The office must approve the form of all state contracts to purchase goods or services. The office is explicitly forbidden, though, from disapproving a contract that is in proper form, even if the office believes the contract otherwise violates the law.
- Concealed Weapons - The state assembly granted the attorney general's office authority to enter into agreements to honor concealed weapon permits from other states.
The attorney general and their staff do not:
- provide legal advice or opinions for private citizens or businesses
- prosecute criminal cases
- represent individual consumers
- investigate state contracts that are in proper form
- issue permits to carry a concealed weapon
West Virginia elects attorneys general in Presidential election years. The term begins on the first Monday after the second Wednesday of January next after the election.
The office of attorney general is not subject to term limits in West Virginia.
To view the electoral history dating back to 2000 for the office of West Virginia Attorney General, Click [show] to expand the section.
Though the general duties of the attorney general's office are straightforward - represent and provide legal counsel for the state - it is more difficult to provide that representation and support. In order to handle the demand and the legal nuances of all the state agencies, the office of attorney general is divided into seven divisions. The divisions all do similar work, but each has a distinct focus.
- The Appellate Division represents the state in criminal matters before the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals and in federal courts. The attorneys working in this division may provide advice to county prosecutors and law enforcement officials, but they are not involved in criminal proceedings until they reach the appellate level. The contracts section within the division is responsible for approving state contracts.
- The Civil Rights Division handles civil prosecution of violations of the West Virginia Human Rights Act and the West Virginia Fair Housing Act. The three-fold mission of the division if to undo wrongful acts, get compensation for victims, and prevent future violations of the laws.
- The Consumer Protection & Anti-Trust Division are responsible for the legal enforcement of the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act along with the Preneed Funeral Contracts Act.
- The Education, Arts & Boards Division is the catch-all division of the office, representing agencies, board, and commissions that do not fall under the purview of another more focused division.
- The Workers' Compensation Litigation Division Division defends decisions made by the state insurance commissioner.
- The attorneys working in the Health & Human Resources Division defend the state against employee grievances and workers compensation claims, and provide litigation and general counsel to several bureaus of the Department of Health and Human Resources.
- The Tax & Revenue, Court of Claims and Transportation Division represents several state agencies and offices in all proceedings, from administrative filings to the state or even federal Supreme Court (in some cases). The attorneys in this division represent the Department of Tax and Revenue, the Tax Commissioner, the Alcohol Beverage and Control Commissioner, the Department of Motor Vehicles,the Lottery, the Racing Commission, and the Department of Environmental Protection.
The budget for the Attorney Generals Office in Fiscal Year 2013 was $5,941,802.
- See also: Compensation of state executive officers
Article 7, Section 19 of the state constitution defines the method by which the attorney general's compensation is set:
|The officers named in this article shall receive for their services a salary to be established by law, which shall not be increased or diminished during their official terms, and they shall not, after they shall not, after the expirations of the terms of those in office at the adoption of this amendment, receive to their own use any fees, costs, perquisites of office or other compensation, and all fees that may hereafter be payable by law, for any service performed by any officer provided for in this article of the Constitution, shall be paid in advance into the state treasury.|
Chapter 6, Article 7-2 of the West Virginia Code lays out the exact compensation for certain state officers. According to this section of the state code, the salary of the attorney general, beginning in 2009 and for each calendar year thereafter, shall be $95,000.
- Summary of past officeholders. Since 1863, West Virginia has had 33 attorneys general. Aquilla B. Caldwell served twice (1st and 5th officeholder).
Click "show" for former officeholders.
|#||Name||Took office||Left office||County|
|1||Aquilla B. Caldwell||1863||1864||Ohio|
|2||Ephriam B. Hall||1864||1866||Marion|
|5||Aquilla B. Caldwell||1869||1870||Ohio|
|7||Henry Mason Matthews||1872||1876||Greenbrier|
|9||Cornelius C. Watts||1880||1884||Kanawha|
|11||Thomas S. Riley||1892||1896||Ohio|
|12||Edgar P. Rucker||1896||1900||McDowell|
|13||Romeo H. Freer||1900||1904||Ritchie|
|14||Clark W. May||1904||1908||Lincoln|
|15||William G. Conley||1908||1912||Preston|
|16||A. A. Lilly||1912||1916||Raleigh|
|17||E. T. England||1916||1924||Logan|
|18||Howard B. Lee||1924||1932||Mercer|
|19||Homer A. Holt||1932||1936||Fayette|
|20||Clarence W. Meadows||1936||1942||Raleigh|
|21||William S. Wysong||1942||1942||Preston|
|22||James Kay Thomas||1942||1944||Kanawha|
|23||Ira J. Partlow||1944||1950||McDowell|
|24||William C. Martland||1950||1952||Wyoming|
|25||Chauncey H. Browning, Sr.||1952||1952||Logan|
|26||John G. Fox||1952||1956||Fayette|
|27||W. W. Barron||1956||1960||Randolph|
|28||C. Donald Robertson||1960||1968||Harrison|
|29||Chauncey H. Browning, Jr.||1968||1984||Logan|
|31||Roger W. Tompkins||1989||1990||Kanawha|
|32||Mario J. Palumbo||1990||1992||Kanawha|
|33||Darrell V. McGraw, Jr.||1992||2013||Kanawha|
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West Virginia State Capitol Building 1
1900 Kanawha Boulevard
Charleston, WV 25305-9924
- Office of the West Virginia Attorney General
- Duties and Responsibilities of the West Virginia Attorney General
- Divisions within the office of the West Virginia Attorney General
- '"West Virginia State Government, "Office of the West Virginia attorney general: Duties and responsibilities," June 7, 2011
- West Virginia State Government, "Office divisions," June 7, 2011
- West Virginia State Budget Office, "Legislature's Enrolled FY 2013 Budget Bill," accessed April 3, 2013
- West Virginia Code, " Retrieved June 20, 2011
- The Council of State Governments,"The Book of States 2010 Table 4.11," retrieved June 7, 2011
- Clarence Meadows was elected to a four year term in 1940, but resigned on May 15, 1942 upon his judicial appointment to the 10th Judicial Circuit. William Wysong was appointed to the position by then-Governor Neeley, and served until James Kay Thomas was elected to serve for the remainder of Meadows' term.
- William Martland resigned on February 1, 1952 in order to run for Governor. Chauncey Browning, Sr. was appointed to the office, and served until August 16, 1952.
- Charlie Brown resigned on August 21, 1989. Roger W. Tompkins was appointed on September 5, 1989 to fill the vacancy, and Mario J. Palumbo was elected to serve for the remainder of Brown's term.