|Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania|
|Term length||Four years|
|Salary||$162,000 per year|
The Pennsylvania Attorney General is the chief law enforcement officer of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. It became an elected office in 1980.The current Attorney General is Democrat Josh Shapiro.
On August 15, 2016, then-Attorney General Kathleen Kane was convicted of criminal charges, including conspiracy, perjury, and obstruction of justice,and announced her resignation the following day, effective August 17. Consequently, as the Solicitor General, Bruce Castor assumed the office as Acting Attorney General. Governor Tom Wolf nominated Bruce Beemer to serve out the remaining balance of Kane's term which expired in January 2017 in which Democrat Josh Shapiro succeeded Bruce Beemer.
The Commonwealth Attorneys Act of 1980established the Office of Attorney General as an independent office headed by an elected Attorney General. The office has the responsibility for the prosecution of those crimes prosecuted by the commonwealth, including organized crime and public corruption, as well as civil litigation on behalf of some, but not all, commonwealth agencies and the civil enforcement of some commonwealth laws, including laws pertaining to consumer protection and charities. The Attorney General represents the commonwealth in all actions brought by or against the commonwealth and reviews all proposed rules and regulations by commonwealth agencies.
The Attorney General also serves as a member of the Board of Pardons, the joint Committee on Documents, the Hazardous Substances Transportation Board, the Board of Finance and Revenue, the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, the Civil Disorder Commission and the Municipal Police Officers Education and Training Commission.
There have been four styles of selection of Pennsylvania Attorney General. The first phase was colonial, with the first Attorney General commissioned in 1683. At the outbreak of the Revolution, the sitting Attorney General, a loyalist, fled, and new Attorneys General were appointed, under the Constitution of 1776, by the state President (or Vice-President) with the Supreme Executive Council. Under the new Constitution of 1790, Attorneys General were appointed by the Governor, subject to approval by the Legislature (similar to how the United States Attorney General is appointed by the President of the United States). This remained in the Constitutions of 1838, 1874, and 1968. In 1978, voters approved an amendment to the Pennsylvania Constitution making the office of the Pennsylvania Attorney General an elected position, effective as of the general election of 1980.
Note that before William Penn, there were Attorneys General for New Sweden as early as 1643.
Under the influence of David Lloyd, who served 1686–1710, Pennsylvania developed its first judicial system. Andrew Hamilton, who served 1717–1726, strongly influenced Pennsylvania law away from some aspects of the British system.
|Name||Took office||Left office||Comment|
|John Morris Jr.||July 16, 1777||November 1, 1777||pro tem|
|Jonathan D. Sergeant||November 1, 1777||November 23, 1780||Resigned|
|William Bradford||November 23, 1780||—||Re-commissioned|
|Name||Took office||Left office||Comment|
|William Bradford||June 9, 1791||August 20, 1791||Resigned|
|Jared Ingersoll||August 20, 1791||May 10, 1800|
|Joseph B. McKean||May 10, 1800||July 22, 1808|
|Mahlon Dickerson||July 22, 1808||January 9, 1809|
|Walter Franklin||January 9, 1809||October 2, 1810||Resigned|
|Joseph Reed||October 2, 1810||January 26, 1811|
|Richard Rush||January 26, 1811||December 13, 1811|
|Jared Ingersoll||December 13, 1811||December 21, 1816|
|Amos Ellmaker||December 21, 1816||July 7, 1819|
|Thomas Sergeant||July 7, 1819||December 20, 1820|
|Thomas Elder||December 20, 1820||December 18, 1823|
|Frederick Smith||December 18, 1823||February 5, 1828||Resigned|
|Calvin Blythe||February 5, 1828||May 6, 1828|
|Amos Ellmaker||May 6, 1828||August 17, 1829|
|Philip S. Markley||August 17, 1829||February 10, 1830|
|Samuel Douglas||February 10, 1830||January 29, 1833|
|Ellis Lewis||January 29, 1833||October 14, 1833||Resigned|
|George M. Dallas||October 14, 1833||December 1, 1835|
|James Todd||December 18, 1835||April 2, 1838||Resigned|
|William B. Reed||April 2, 1838||January 15, 1839|
|Ovid F. Johnson||January 15, 1839||January 21, 1845|
|John K. Kane||January 21, 1845||June 17, 1846||Resigned|
|John M. Read||June 23, 1846||December 18, 1846||Resigned|
|Benjamin Champneys||December 18, 1846||July 31, 1848|
|James Cooper||July 31, 1848||December 30, 1848||Resigned|
|Cornelius Darragh||January 4, 1849||April 28, 1851|
|Thomas E. Franklin||April 28, 1851||January 21, 1852|
|James Campbell||January 21, 1852||March 8, 1853||Resigned|
|Francis Wade Hughes||March 14, 1853||January 17, 1855|
|Thomas E. Franklin||January 17, 1855||January 19, 1858|
|John C. Knox||January 19, 1858||January 16, 1861|
|Samuel A. Purviance||January 16, 1861||June 3, 1861|
|William M. Meredith||June 3, 1861||January 16, 1867|
|Benjamin Harris Brewster||January 16, 1867||October 25, 1869||Resigned|
|F. Carroll Brewster||October 26, 1869||January 22, 1873|
|Samuel E. Dimmick||January 22, 1873||October 11, 1875||Died in office|
|George Lear||December 7, 1875||February 26, 1879|
|Henry W. Palmer||February 26, 1879||January 17, 1883|
|Lewis C. Cassidy||January 17, 1883||January 18, 1887|
|William S. Kirkpatrick||January 18, 1887||January 10, 1891|
|W. U. Hensel||January 10, 1891||January 15, 1895|
|Henry Clay McCormick||January 15, 1895||January 18, 1899|
|John P. Elkin||January 18, 1899||January 21, 1903|
|Hampton L. Carson||January 21, 1903||January 16, 1907|
|Moses Hampton Todd||January 16, 1907||January 17, 1911|
|John C. Bell||January 17, 1911||January 19, 1915|
|Francis Shunk Brown||January 19, 1915||January 21, 1919|
|William I. Schaffer||January 21, 1919||December 14, 1920||Resigned|
|Name||Took office||Left office||Governor(s)|
|George E. Alter||December 14, 1920||January 16, 1923||William Sproul|
|George Washington Woodruff||January 16, 1923||January 18, 1927||Gifford Pinchot|
|Thomas J. Baldrige||January 18, 1927||January 28, 1929||John Stuchell Fisher|
|Cyrus E. Woods||January 28, 1929||November 1, 1930|
|William A. Schnader||November 1, 1930||January 15, 1935|
|Charles J. Margiotti||January 15, 1935||April 27, 1938||George Howard Earle III|
|Guy K. Bard||April 27, 1938||January 17, 1939|
|Claude T. Reno||January 17, 1939||December 31, 1942||Arthur James|
|E. Russell Shockley||December 31, 1942||January 19, 1943|
|James H. Duff||January 19, 1943||January 21, 1947||Edward Martin|
|John C. Bell Jr.|
|T. McKeen Chidsey||January 21, 1947||July 5, 1950||James H. Duff|
|Charles J. Margiotti||July 5, 1950||March 2, 1951|
|John S. Fine|
|Robert E. Woodside||March 7, 1951||October 1, 1953|
|Frank Truscott||October 13, 1953||January 18, 1955|
|Herbert B. Cohen||January 18, 1955||December 17, 1956||George M. Leader|
|Thomas D. McBride||December 17, 1956||January 20, 1959|
|Anne X. Alpern||January 20, 1959||August 28, 1961||David L. Lawrence|
|David Henry Stahl||August 29, 1961||January 15, 1963|
|Walter E. Alessandroni||January 15, 1963||May 8, 1966||William Scranton|
|Edward Friedman||May 11, 1966||January 17, 1967|
|William C. Sennett||January 17, 1967||July 3, 1970||Raymond P. Shafer|
|Fred Speaker||July 4, 1970||January 19, 1971|
|J. Shane Creamer||January 25, 1971||December 31, 1972||Milton Shapp|
|Israel Packel||January 2, 1973||December 23, 1974|
|Robert P. Kane||January 6, 1975||June 7, 1978|
|Gerald Gornish||June 7, 1978||December 31, 1978|
|J. Justin Blewitt Jr. (acting)||January 1, 1979||January 16, 1979|
|Edward G. Biester Jr.||January 16, 1979||May 19, 1980||Dick Thornburgh|
|Harvey Bartle III||May 20, 1980||January 20, 1981|
|Name||Took office||Left office|
|LeRoy S. Zimmerman||January 20, 1981||January 17, 1989|
|Ernie Preate||January 17, 1989||June 23, 1995|
|Walter W. Cohen (acting)||June 26, 1995||October 3, 1995|
|Tom Corbett||October 3, 1995||January 21, 1997|
|Mike Fisher||January 21, 1997||December 15, 2004|
|Jerry Pappert||December 18, 2004||January 18, 2005|
|Tom Corbett||January 18, 2005||January 18, 2011|
|William Ryan (acting)||January 18, 2011||May 27, 2011|
|Linda Kelly||May 27, 2011||January 15, 2013|
|Kathleen Kane||January 15, 2013||August 17, 2016|
|Bruce Castor (acting)||August 17, 2016||August 31, 2016|
|Bruce Beemer||August 31, 2016||January 17, 2017|
|Josh Shapiro||January 17, 2017||present|
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William A. Schnader, who relinquishes the office of attorney general in Governor Pinchot's cabinet tomorrow…
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Herbert B. Cohen (Commissioned January 18, 1955, Resigned December 17, 1956); Thomas D. McBride (Commissioned December 17, 1956)
Anne X. Alpern (Resigned August 28, 1961); David Stahl (Commissioned August 29, 1961)
Walter E. Alessandroni (Died May 8, 1966); Edward Friedman (May 11, 1966 to January 17, 1967)
On Sunday, Gov. Milton J. Shapp…forced the resignation of Attorney General J. Shane Creamer….
…Creamer was ousted last Dec. 31
…Israel Packel, who submitted his resignation letter Monday.
Kane bowed out quietly Wednesday….
J. Justin Blewitt, Jr., acting Attorney General (January 1, 1979 to January 16, 1979); Edward G. Biester, Jr., Attorney General (January 16, 1979 to May 19, 1980); Harvey Bartle III, Attorney General (May 20, 1980 to January 20, 1981)
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