Difference between revisions of "Mississippi Attorney General"

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|Next election =November 2015
 
|Next election =November 2015
 
|Last election= November 8, 2011
 
|Last election= November 8, 2011
|Other offices =[[Governor of Mississippi|Governor]] • [[Lieutenant Governor of Mississippi|Lieutenant Governor]] • [[Mississippi Secretary of State|Secretary of State]] • [[Mississippi Attorney General|Attorney General]] • [[Mississippi Treasurer|Treasurer]] • [[Mississippi Auditor|Auditor]] • [[Mississippi Superintendent of Education|Superintendent of Education]] • [[Mississippi Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce|Agriculture Commissioner]] • [[Mississippi Commissioner of Insurance|Insurance Commissioner]] • [[Mississippi Executive Director of Environmental Quality|Executive Director of Environmental Quality]] • [[Mississippi Executive Director of Employment Security| Executive Director of Employment Security]] • [[Mississippi Public Service Commission|Public Service Commission]]}}The '''Attorney General of Mississippi''' is the chief legal officer and advisor for the state of [[Mississippi]]. The [[Attorney General|attorney general]] bears responsibility for advising the state on civil and criminal matters, representing public officials and governmental agencies, and interpreting state law through the issuance of legal opinions. <ref name="MSAGpage">[http://www.ago.state.ms.us/index.php/pages/about_your_attorney_general ''Mississippi Attorney General - Official website,'' "Duties of the attorney general", May 9, 2011]</ref>  
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|Other offices =[[Governor of Mississippi|Governor]] • [[Lieutenant Governor of Mississippi|Lieutenant Governor]] • [[Mississippi Secretary of State|Secretary of State]] • [[Mississippi Attorney General|Attorney General]] • [[Mississippi Treasurer|Treasurer]] • [[Mississippi Auditor|Auditor]] • [[Mississippi Superintendent of Education|Superintendent of Education]] • [[Mississippi Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce|Agriculture Commissioner]] • [[Mississippi Commissioner of Insurance|Insurance Commissioner]] • [[Mississippi Executive Director of Environmental Quality|Executive Director of Environmental Quality]] • [[Mississippi Executive Director of Employment Security| Executive Director of Employment Security]] • [[Mississippi Public Service Commission|Public Service Commission]]}}{{tnr}}The '''Attorney General of Mississippi''' is the chief legal officer and advisor for the state of [[Mississippi]]. The [[Attorney General|attorney general]] bears responsibility for advising the state on civil and criminal matters, representing public officials and governmental agencies, and interpreting state law through the issuance of legal opinions. <ref name="MSAGpage">[http://www.ago.state.ms.us/index.php/pages/about_your_attorney_general ''Mississippi Attorney General - Official website,'' "Duties of the attorney general", May 9, 2011]</ref>  
  
 
==Current officeholder==
 
==Current officeholder==

Revision as of 14:04, 30 January 2014

Mississippi Attorney General
General information
Office Type:  Partisan
Office website:  Official Link
2013-2014 FY Budget:  $8,424,443
Term limits:  None
Structure
Length of term:   4 years
Authority:  Mississippi Constitution, Article VI, Section 173
Selection Method:  Elected
Current Officeholder

Jim Hood.jpg
Name:  Jim Hood
Officeholder Party:  Democratic
Assumed office:  2004
Compensation:  $108,960
Elections
Next election:  November 2015
Last election:  November 8, 2011
Other Mississippi Executive Offices
GovernorLieutenant GovernorSecretary of StateAttorney GeneralTreasurerAuditorSuperintendent of EducationAgriculture CommissionerInsurance CommissionerExecutive Director of Environmental Quality Executive Director of Employment SecurityPublic Service Commission
The Attorney General of Mississippi is the chief legal officer and advisor for the state of Mississippi. The attorney general bears responsibility for advising the state on civil and criminal matters, representing public officials and governmental agencies, and interpreting state law through the issuance of legal opinions. [1]

Current officeholder

The current officeholder is Jim Hood. First elected in 2003, Hood won re-election in 2007 and again in 2011. Prior to his current position, Hood served as the Third Judicial District Attorney in North Mississippi.[2]

Authority

The Attorney General's powers, term of office, qualifications, and installation are established by Article 6, Section 173 of the Mississippi Constitution.

Article VI, Section 173:

There shall be an attorney-general elected at the same time and in the same manner as the governor is elected, whose term of office shall be four years and whose compensation shall be fixed by law. The qualifications for the attorney-general shall be the same as herein prescribed for judges of the circuit and chancery courts.

Qualifications

Article 6, Section 154 of the Mississippi Constitution establishes the qualifications of the judges circuit and chancery courts (and also for the attorney-general):

Article VI, Section 154:

No person shall be eligible to the office of judge of the circuit or of the chancery court who shall not have been a practicing lawyer for five years and who shall not have attained the age of twenty-six, and who shall not have been five years a citizen of this state.
  • a practicing lawyer for 5 years
  • at least 26 years old
  • a resident of Mississippi for at least 5 years

The fee for party candidates is $200 made payable to the appropriate state party executive committee. There is no fee for independent candidates but 1,000 signatures must be submitted.

Elections

Mississippi state government organizational chart

The attorney general is elected every four years, in the odd-numbered years before a Presidential election. The attorney general is elected in 2011, 2015, and 2019.

Term limits

The attorney general is not subject to term limits.

Vacancies

Note: Ballotpedia's state executive officials project researches the constitutional or statutory text that details the process of filling vacancies for a state executive office. That information for the Mississippi Attorney General has not yet been added. After extensive research we were unable to identify any relevant information on state official websites. If you have any additional information about this office for inclusion on this section and/or page, please email us.

Duties

The attorney general serves as the chief legal officer and advisor for Mississippi. They are responsible for advising on both civil and criminal legal matters. The officeholder is aided by a staff of attorneys, investigators, and office personnel.

Other duties of the office include:

  • represent public officials and government agencies
  • issue legal opinions that interpret state law
  • act as counsel to state agencies to defend them or bring suit on their behalf
  • represent the people of the state of Mississippi[1]

Mississippi Sunshine Act

On May 22, 2012, Gov. Phil Bryant (R) signed a bill, effective July 1, 2012, which restricts the power of the attorney general.[3] Dubbed the Mississippi Sunshine Act, House Bill 211 addresses the need, according to the law's supporters, to "rein in the troublesome practice of awarding contingency fee contracts to plaintiffs' lawyers who are also major campaign contributors to the state attorney general." [4] The issue stems from the office's ability to personally select private lawyers whose contracts and fees are arranged at the attorney general's discretion . The Sunshine Law requires the attorney general to appoint outside counsel to represent a state agency or elected official in the event that the attorney general either refuses, or is in conflict with the agency or official. Once it takes effect, an attorney general will no longer be able to unilaterally bring suits on behalf of a state agency or elected official. Instead, an agency or elected official will have seven working days to object and seek out alternate counsel. That outside counsel would then be subject to approval by a commission comprised of the governor, lieutenant governor, and secretary of state. If an objection is made, the attorney general would have to withdraw from representing the agency. It also limits the share of a verdict going to private lawyers hired on contingency, normally capping payments at $50 million.[5]

Divisions

The major divisions of the attorney general's office are: administrative, civil litigation, consumer protection, criminal litigation, crime prevention and victim services, domestic violence, executive, opinions and local government, prosecutors training, public integrity, state agencies, and youth services.[6]

Civil litigation

"The primary purpose of the Civil Litigation Division is to provide trial and appeal court counsel for State agencies, officials, and employees in litigation in state and federal courts. The Civil Litigation Division also defends local district attorneys and judges when those officials are sued. The civil actions include a wide range of constitutional issues, Title VII employment matters, voting rights, prisoner cases, contracts, § 1983 actions for damages, suits for injunctions, audit demands, ethics issues, and many other matters which can arise from the various functions of State government."[6]

Consumer protection

"The Consumer Protection Division strives to ensure Mississippi victims do not fall prey to unscrupulous business practices and scams. The division serves the public in the following three distinct areas:



Criminal litigation

"The Criminal Division consists of some of the most experienced attorneys in state government. Because they rely so heavily on judicial precedent, these attorneys have a keen interest in the history as well as the future development of the law. All pleadings filed by Criminal Division attorneys are carefully researched and precisely argued to ensure that lawful convictions and sentences are upheld by the courts."



Crime prevention and victim services

This division of the attorney general's office focuses on avenues which promote crime prevention measure for the safety of all Mississippians and provide services for victims of crime.



Domestic violence

This division was newly created in 2006 with a grant funded by the US Department of Justice. The attorneys and staff work on a number of functions in the area of domestic violence prevention.



Opinions and interlocal agreements

This division executes one of the primary duties of the attorney general: issuing legal opinions to state and local officials, boards, agencies, and their attorneys. The attorneys and staff also review legislation, provide training and legal assistance to local officials, and approve interlocal agreements. For a listing of all opinions and interlocal agreements, click here.

Prosecutor training

Develops and coordinates continuing legal education classes and conferences for full time and part-time prosecutors across the state.[11]

Public integrity

This division is responsible for the prosecution of distinct types of criminal cases in the state courts. Its primary mission is to investigate and prosecute public corruption and white collar crime, but the division also includes several units charged with enforcing particular areas of law.



State agencies

Provides legal representation to the executive offices of the Mississippi state government, including "general counsel and advice, representing agency staff in administrative hearings, serving as hearing officers in administrative proceedings, handling personnel issues, including employee discipline and equal employment compliance, advising on matters pertaining to rule making, as well as representing the agencies in courts of law."[14]

Medicaid fraud control unit

The Mississippi state government has a separate Division of Medicaid, and thought it does not fall under the purview of the attorney general, their office is responsible for investigating suspected cases of fraud that occur within the Division of Medicaid.[15]

State budget

The Office of the Attorey General's budget for fiscal year 2013 is $8,424,443.[16]

Compensation

See also: Compensation of state executive officers

In 2012, the Mississippi Attorney General was paid an estimated $108,960. This figure comes from the Council of State Governments.

Historical officeholders

Summary of past officeholders. Since 1818, Mississippi has had 39 officeholders.

Click "show" for former officeholders.

Campaign finance discipline

Main article: Campaign finance requirements for Mississippi ballot measures

The Attorney General of Mississippi is responsible for all prosecution of the state's campaign finance laws. This is regardless if it involves civil or criminal laws. The first step in filing any complaint is to file with the Attorney General. [17]

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a google news search for the term Mississippi + Attorney + General

All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.

Attorney General of Mississippi News Feed

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Contact information

Mailing address:
MS Attorney General's Office
Post Office Box 220
Jackson, MS 39205

Street address:
MS Attorney General's Office
Walter Sillers Building
550 High Street, Suite 1200
Jackson, MS 39201

Phone: 601-359-3680
E-mail: msag05@ago.state.ms.us
Facebook:

  • Mississippi Attorneys General Office
  • Mississippi ICAC Task Force
  • Fear Stops Here

Twitter: @MississippiAGO

See also

External links

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References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Mississippi Attorney General - Official website, "Duties of the attorney general", May 9, 2011
  2. Attorney General Jim Hood, "Homepage," accessed June 3, 2013
  3. Forbes, "Mississippi Reins In Use Of Contigency-Fee Lawyers," May 21, 2012
  4. The Wall Street Journal- Market Watch, "U.S. Chamber Applauds Signing of Landmark Mississippi Outside Counsel Sunshine Law," May 22, 2012
  5. Bryant signs law limiting attorney general's power," May 21, 2012
  6. 6.0 6.1 [http://www.ago.state.ms.us/index.php/sections/divisions Mississippi Attorney General, "MS AGO: Divisions -- Protecting Mississippi by preventing and prosecuting crime," May 9, 2011.
  7. [http://www.ago.state.ms.us/index.php/sections/divisions/consumer_protection_division Mississippi Attorney General, "Consumer protection division," May 10, 2011
  8. [http://www.ago.state.ms.us/index.php/sections/divisions/criminal_litigation Mississippi Attorney General, "Criminal litigation division," May 10, 2011
  9. [http://www.ago.state.ms.us/index.php/sections/divisions/crime_prevention_and_victim_services_division Mississippi Attorney General, "Crime prevention and victim services division," May 10, 2011
  10. [http://www.ago.state.ms.us/index.php/sections/divisions/domestic_violence Mississippi Attorney General, "Domestic violence division," May 10, 2011
  11. [http://www.ago.state.ms.us/index.php/sections/divisions/prosecutor_training Mississippi Attorney General, "Prosecutor training," May 10, 2011
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 [http://www.ago.state.ms.us/index.php/sections/divisions/cybercrime_unit Mississippi Attorney General, "Cyber crime unit," May 10, 2011.
  13. [http://www.ago.state.ms.us/index.php/sections/divisions/alcohol_tobacco_enforcement_unit Mississippi Attorney General, "Child desertion unit," May 10, 2011
  14. [http://www.ago.state.ms.us/index.php/sections/divisions/state_agencies Mississippi Attorney General, "State agencies division," May 10, 2011
  15. [http://www.ago.state.ms.us/index.php/sections/divisions/medicaid_fraud Mississippi Attorney General, "Medicaid fraud," May 10, 2011
  16. State of Mississippi Joint Legislative Budget Committee, "Legislative Appropriations Bulletin FY 2013," 6, accessed June 28, 2013
  17. [Confirmed with Mississippi AG on 5-20-2010 via phone]