The Attorney general of Alabama is an elected official of the state government who serves a constitutional position and is a member of the executive branch of the state.Established in 1819, Henry Hitchcock was the first government official to hold this position. Since then, qualified professionals are elected every four years to the office and are allowed to serve no more than two consecutive terms.
The attorney general’s office
The attorney general’s office not only functions as the legal arm of the state government but also plays an instrumental advisory role as it offers information and insight on the legislation to the governor’s office and other state agencies. The attorney general of Alabama is the chief legal officer of the state and as such he is charged with helping in the maintenance of law and order in the state and litigating on the behalf of state agencies and residents in matters pertaining to the welfare of the community.
The attorney general’s office is also responsible for the preparation of all legal documentation relating to matters that the state has a vested interest in. In addition, members of the attorney general’s office play an integral role in the judicial system, fighting cases on behalf of the state government.
Organization of the agency
The attorney general’s office is made of eighteen divisions; most notably among them are the violent crimes division, the consumer affairs division and the police corruption division.As the head of the agency, the attorney general appoints 12 deputy attorneys. Three executive assistants, seven administrative assistants and five paralegals are also hired to ensure the smooth functioning of the agency. The administrative assistants serve at the discretion of the attorney general while the other members of the department are merit employees.
Deputy attorneys and department assistants are assigned to work in specific divisions of the agency while special deputy attorneys may be called in to serve outside the main office. The chief deputy attorney general takes on tasks that are delegated to him directly by the attorney general of the state and has the authority to exercise the full power of the attorney general’s office in his absence. Apart from the legal and administrative staff, the attorney general’s office also employs investigatory and secretarial personnel.
The Duties of the Attorney General
As the chief lawyer of the state, the attorney general is rightly called the defender of the laws of the state of Alabama. It is his job to represent the state in all matters brought before a court or tribunal and offer advice on controversial matters and questions pertaining to such issues as the death penalty or other criminal sentences. The attorney general is also responsible for initiating legal proceedings on behalf of the state against an individual, or a commercial entity.
Functions of the agency
Apart from the mandated functions of offering legal representation and advice to the state and its officials and advocacy of matters that concern the society at large, the attorney general of Alabama’s office is also entrusted the following functions:
Advisory: The agency frequently offers advice and information to the governor’s office on the bills submitted to the legislature; they also offer their advisory services for the codification of laws and for examining various statues of the state. The attorney general and his deputies are also expected to provide advice on questions pertaining to various laws that might come from public agencies.
Representation: The attorney general represents the state in all matters and interests. This includes civil and criminal appeals including capital litigations that go beyond the trial level.Municipalities may also request their help in legal matters. It is the job of the attorney general’s office to initiate proceedings for upholding state and municipal laws.
Record Maintenance: The attorney general’s office is mandated to maintain records of all civil litigations and claims that the state has an interest in. The Deputies of the attorney general and the office bearer himself represents the state in all meetings including federal events.
Apart from these, the agency also plays an investigative role for the purpose of substantiating claims and accusations about state law infractions. The office of the attorney general also validates and approves all extradition documents.