Pennsylvania Attorney General

Last updated
Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
Seal of the Attorney General of Pennsylvania.svg
Seal of the Attorney General of Pennsylvania
PA Attorney General Josh Shapiro in 2021.jpg
Incumbent
Josh Shapiro

since January 17, 2017
Term length Four years
Formation1683
Salary$162,000 per year
Website attorneygeneral.gov

The Pennsylvania Attorney General is the chief law enforcement officer of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. It became an elected office in 1980. [1] The current Attorney General is Democrat Josh Shapiro.

Contents

On August 15, 2016, then-Attorney General Kathleen Kane was convicted of criminal charges, including conspiracy, perjury, and obstruction of justice, [2] [3] and announced her resignation the following day, effective August 17. [4] Consequently, as the Solicitor General, Bruce Castor assumed the office as Acting Attorney General. [5] 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.

Authority and responsibilities

The Commonwealth Attorneys Act of 1980 [6] established the Office of Attorney General as an independent office headed by an elected Attorney General. [7] 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. [8]

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.

List of attorneys general

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. [9]

Colonial attorneys general

Under the influence of David Lloyd, who served 16861710, Pennsylvania developed its first judicial system. Andrew Hamilton, who served 17171726, strongly influenced Pennsylvania law away from some aspects of the British system. [9]

President/Council appointed attorneys general

NameTook officeLeft officeComment
John Morris Jr.July 16, 1777November 1, 1777pro tem [10]
Jonathan D. Sergeant November 1, 1777November 23, 1780Resigned [11]
William Bradford November 23, 1780Re-commissioned

Attorneys general appointed between 1791 and 1920

NameTook officeLeft officeComment
William Bradford June 9, 1791August 20, 1791Resigned [12]
Jared Ingersoll August 20, 1791May 10, 1800
Joseph B. McKean May 10, 1800July 22, 1808
Mahlon Dickerson July 22, 1808January 9, 1809
Walter Franklin January 9, 1809October 2, 1810Resigned [13]
Joseph Reed October 2, 1810January 26, 1811
Richard Rush January 26, 1811December 13, 1811
Jared Ingersoll December 13, 1811December 21, 1816
Amos Ellmaker December 21, 1816July 7, 1819
Thomas Sergeant July 7, 1819December 20, 1820
Thomas Elder December 20, 1820December 18, 1823
Frederick Smith December 18, 1823February 5, 1828Resigned [14]
Calvin Blythe February 5, 1828May 6, 1828
Amos Ellmaker May 6, 1828August 17, 1829
Philip S. Markley August 17, 1829February 10, 1830
Samuel Douglas February 10, 1830January 29, 1833
Ellis Lewis January 29, 1833October 14, 1833Resigned [15]
George M. Dallas October 14, 1833December 1, 1835
James Todd [16] December 18, 1835April 2, 1838Resigned [17]
William B. Reed April 2, 1838January 15, 1839
Ovid F. Johnson January 15, 1839January 21, 1845
John K. Kane January 21, 1845June 17, 1846 [18] Resigned [19]
John M. Read June 23, 1846December 18, 1846Resigned
Benjamin Champneys December 18, 1846July 31, 1848
James Cooper July 31, 1848December 30, 1848Resigned
Cornelius Darragh January 4, 1849April 28, 1851
Thomas E. Franklin April 28, 1851January 21, 1852
James Campbell January 21, 1852March 8, 1853Resigned [20]
Francis Wade Hughes March 14, 1853January 17, 1855
Thomas E. Franklin January 17, 1855January 19, 1858
John C. Knox January 19, 1858January 16, 1861
Samuel A. Purviance January 16, 1861June 3, 1861
William M. Meredith June 3, 1861January 16, 1867
Benjamin Harris Brewster January 16, 1867October 25, 1869Resigned
F. Carroll Brewster October 26, 1869January 22, 1873
Samuel E. Dimmick January 22, 1873October 11, 1875Died in office
George Lear December 7, 1875February 26, 1879
Henry W. Palmer February 26, 1879January 17, 1883
Lewis C. Cassidy January 17, 1883January 18, 1887
William S. Kirkpatrick January 18, 1887January 10, 1891
W. U. Hensel January 10, 1891January 15, 1895
Henry Clay McCormick January 15, 1895January 18, 1899
John P. Elkin January 18, 1899January 21, 1903
Hampton L. Carson January 21, 1903January 16, 1907
Moses Hampton Todd January 16, 1907January 17, 1911
John C. Bell January 17, 1911January 19, 1915
Francis Shunk Brown January 19, 1915January 21, 1919
William I. Schaffer January 21, 1919December 14, 1920Resigned

Attorneys general appointed between 1920 and 1980

NameTook officeLeft office Governor(s)
George E. Alter December 14, 1920January 16, 1923  William Sproul
George Washington Woodruff January 16, 1923January 18, 1927  Gifford Pinchot
Thomas J. Baldrige January 18, 1927January 28, 1929 [21]   John Stuchell Fisher
Cyrus E. Woods January 28, 1929November 1, 1930 [21]
William A. Schnader November 1, 1930 [22] January 15, 1935 [23]
  Gifford Pinchot
Charles J. Margiotti January 15, 1935 [24] April 27, 1938 [24]   George Howard Earle III
Guy K. Bard April 27, 1938 [24] January 17, 1939 [24]
Claude T. Reno January 17, 1939 [25] December 31, 1942 [26]   Arthur James
E. Russell Shockley December 31, 1942 [26] January 19, 1943 [26]
James H. Duff January 19, 1943 [27] January 21, 1947 [28]   Edward Martin
  John C. Bell Jr.
T. McKeen Chidsey January 21, 1947 [28] July 5, 1950 [29]   James H. Duff
Charles J. Margiotti July 5, 1950 [30] March 2, 1951 [31]
  John S. Fine
Robert E. Woodside March 7, 1951 [30] October 1, 1953 [32]
Frank Truscott October 13, 1953 [32] [30] January 18, 1955
Herbert B. Cohen January 18, 1955 [30] [33] December 17, 1956 [33]   George M. Leader
Thomas D. McBride December 17, 1956 [30] [33] January 20, 1959
Anne X. Alpern January 20, 1959 [30] August 28, 1961 [34]   David L. Lawrence
David Henry Stahl August 29, 1961 [30] [34] January 15, 1963
Walter E. Alessandroni January 15, 1963 [30] May 8, 1966 [35]   William Scranton
Edward Friedman May 11, 1966 [30] [35] January 17, 1967
William C. Sennett January 17, 1967 [30] July 3, 1970 [36]   Raymond P. Shafer
Fred Speaker July 4, 1970 [30] January 19, 1971
J. Shane Creamer January 25, 1971 [30] December 31, 1972 [37] [38]   Milton Shapp
Israel Packel January 2, 1973 [30] December 23, 1974 [39]
Robert P. Kane January 6, 1975 [30] June 7, 1978 [40]
Gerald Gornish June 7, 1978 [30] [40] December 31, 1978
J. Justin Blewitt Jr. (acting)January 1, 1979 [30] [41] January 16, 1979 [41]
Edward G. Biester Jr. January 16, 1979 [30] [41] May 19, 1980 [41]   Dick Thornburgh
Harvey Bartle III May 20, 1980 [30] [41] January 20, 1981 [41]

Occupants of the elected Pennsylvania Attorney General office (1981–present)

NameTook officeLeft office
  LeRoy S. Zimmerman January 20, 1981 [42] January 17, 1989 [43]
  Ernie Preate January 17, 1989 [43] June 23, 1995 [44]
  Walter W. Cohen (acting)June 26, 1995 [30] October 3, 1995 [45]
  Tom Corbett October 3, 1995 [30] [45] January 21, 1997
  Mike Fisher January 21, 1997 [30] December 15, 2004 [46]
  Jerry Pappert December 18, 2004 [30] January 18, 2005
  Tom Corbett January 18, 2005 [30] January 18, 2011 [47]
  William Ryan (acting)January 18, 2011 [47] May 27, 2011
  Linda Kelly May 27, 2011 [48] January 15, 2013
  Kathleen Kane January 15, 2013 [49] August 17, 2016
  Bruce Castor (acting)August 17, 2016 [30] August 31, 2016
  Bruce Beemer August 31, 2016 [30] January 17, 2017
  Josh Shapiro January 17, 2017present

See also

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References

  1. Penn. Const. Art. 4, § 4.1
  2. Dale, Maryclaire (16 August 2016). "Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane Found Guilty on All Charges in Perjury Trial". Associated Press. NBC 10 Philadelphia. Retrieved 16 August 2016.
  3. Bidgood, Jess (16 August 2016). "Pennsylvania's Attorney General Is Convicted on All Counts". New York Times. New York Times. Retrieved 16 August 2016.
  4. Susannah Cullinane; Ralph Ellis. "Pennsylvania attorney general resigning". cnn.com.
  5. Bumsted, Brad, (19 July 2016), "Castor Next In Line to Be Pennsylvania Attorney General", Pittsburgh Tribune Review, Accessed September 20, 2016.
  6. 71 P. S. §732-101
  7. OGC: Commonwealth Attorneys Act
  8. "The Office: Attorney General Tom Corbett - Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General". Archived from the original on 2008-01-10. Retrieved 2008-01-24.
  9. 1 2 "History of the Office of Attorney General". Archived from the original on 2006-09-23.
  10. Morris was Clerk of the General Assembly
  11. Pennsylvania Archives. 1858. p. 612.
  12. Bradford accepted state Supreme Court appointment
  13. Franklin accepted state judicial appointment
  14. Smith accepted a position as Justice on the state Supreme Court
  15. Lewis accepted a position as President Judge of the Eighth Judicial District
  16. See article for citations regarding the dates.
  17. Todd accepted a Philadelphia judicial appointment.
  18. This is the date of his judicial commission; there is no date listed in The Pennsylvania Manual.
  19. Kane accepted a federal judiciary appointment.
  20. Campbell accepted the position of U. S. Postmaster General.
  21. 1 2 Resigned
  22. "Schnader Takes Oath". Chester Times . International News Service. November 1, 1930. p. 8. Retrieved November 15, 2012. William A. Schnader, named attorney-general of Pennsylvania Wednesday to succeed Cyrus E. Wood when the latter resigned, took the oath of office at noon at the capital today.
  23. "Forms Law Firm". Chester Times . January 14, 1935. p. 1. Retrieved November 15, 2012. William A. Schnader, who relinquishes the office of attorney general in Governor Pinchot's cabinet tomorrow…
  24. 1 2 3 4 Official Opinions of the Attorney General of Pennsylvania for the Years 1937 and 1938 (PDF). Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. 1939. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 15, 2012. Retrieved November 15, 2012. Charles J. Margiotti, Attorney General (January 15, 1935 to April 27, 1938); Guy K. Bard, Attorney General (April 27, 1938 to January 17, 1939)
  25. "14 New Cabinet Members Safe; Two Are Held Up". Chester Times . United Press. January 18, 1939. p. 2. Retrieved November 14, 2012.
  26. 1 2 3 "Harrisburg Man to Fill Reno's Place; E. Russel Shockley Is New Attorney General". New Castle News . International News Service. December 31, 1942. p. 7.
  27. Jones, John E. (January 14, 1943). "Martin Picks Duff, Neel For Cabinet". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette . p. 1. Retrieved November 14, 2012.
  28. 1 2 "Blast Chesnut, Wilhelm, Smock Appointments". Chester Times . United Press. January 22, 1947. p. 2, no. 9. Retrieved November 14, 2012.
  29. "Margiotti To Send Aide to Job Probe". Pittsburgh Press . July 5, 1950. p. 6. Retrieved November 14, 2012.
  30. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 "Office of Attorney General". Pennsylvania Department of State. Archived from the original on November 9, 2012. Retrieved November 9, 2012.
  31. "Margiotti Bows Out Of Cabinet". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette . Associated Press. March 3, 1951. p. 2. Retrieved November 9, 2012.
  32. 1 2 Official Opinions of the Attorney General of Pennsylvania for the Years 1953 and 1954 (PDF). Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. 1954. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 10, 2012. Retrieved November 9, 2012. Robert E. Woodside (Resigned October 1, 1953); Frank F. Truscott (Commissioned October 13, 1953)
  33. 1 2 3 Official Opinions of the Attorney General of Pennsylvania for the Years 1955 and 1956 (PDF). Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. 1956. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 10, 2012. Retrieved November 9, 2012. Herbert B. Cohen (Commissioned January 18, 1955, Resigned December 17, 1956); Thomas D. McBride (Commissioned December 17, 1956)
  34. 1 2 Opinions of the Attorney General of Pennsylvania: 1961–1962 (PDF). Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. 1962. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 9, 2012. Retrieved November 9, 2012. Anne X. Alpern (Resigned August 28, 1961); David Stahl (Commissioned August 29, 1961)
  35. 1 2 Opinions of the Attorney General of Pennsylvania: 1963–1966 (PDF). Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. 1966. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 9, 2012. Retrieved November 9, 2012. Walter E. Alessandroni (Died May 8, 1966); Edward Friedman (May 11, 1966 to January 17, 1967)
  36. Commonwealth v. Rozier, 67Pa. D. & C. 2d536 , 539(Common Pleas Court of York County, Pennsylvania,1974)("…he went out of office on July 3, 1970").
  37. "2 Crime Unit Members Ousted In Pennsylvania". Toledo Blade . Associated Press. January 2, 1973. p. 7. Retrieved November 9, 2012. On Sunday, Gov. Milton J. Shapp…forced the resignation of Attorney General J. Shane Creamer….
  38. Taylor, John (September 6, 1973). "Probe Centers on Free Booze Charge". Pittsburgh Press . p. 2. Retrieved November 9, 2012. …Creamer was ousted last Dec. 31
  39. "Shapp Names Kane As New Attorney General". The News-Dispatch . United Press International. December 27, 1974. p. 2. Retrieved November 9, 2012. …Israel Packel, who submitted his resignation letter Monday.
  40. 1 2 "Gerald Gornish Takes Attorney General Post". Observer–Reporter . Associated Press. June 8, 1978. p. A-6. Retrieved November 9, 2012. Kane bowed out quietly Wednesday….
  41. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Opinions of the Attorney General of Pennsylvania: 1979–1981 (PDF). Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. 1981. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 9, 2012. Retrieved November 9, 2012. 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)
  42. Jensen, Edward (January 21, 1981). "Three state officials take oaths of office". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette . p. 5. Retrieved November 13, 2012.
  43. 1 2 "Casey welcomes Knoll, Hafer, Preate to office". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette . Associated Press. January 18, 1989. p. 1. Retrieved November 13, 2012.
  44. Moran, Robert (June 24, 1995). "Preate Is Gone But Not Quite Forgotten The Attorney General's Resignation Became Official Yesterday". The Philadelphia Inquirer . p. A-1. Archived from the original on November 13, 2012. Retrieved November 13, 2012.
  45. 1 2 Forester Jr., John D. (October 4, 1995). "Corbett sworn in, pledges review of probe". Reading Eagle . p. 1. Retrieved November 13, 2012.
  46. Ove, Torsten (December 16, 2004). "Fisher sworn in as federal judge". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette . Retrieved November 13, 2012.
  47. 1 2 Bumsted, Brad; Wereschagin, Mike (January 18, 2011). "Corbett promises fiscal discipline, responsible government as he takes oath". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review . Archived from the original on November 14, 2012. Retrieved November 13, 2012.
  48. "Linda L. Kelly becomes Pennsylvania Attorney General" (Press release). Pennsylvania Attorney General. May 27, 2011. Archived from the original on November 14, 2012. Retrieved November 13, 2012. Attorney General Linda L. Kelly took the oath of office today during a private ceremony in Harrisburg, officially assuming the powers and duties of Pennsylvania's top law enforcement officer.
  49. Olson, Laura (January 15, 2013). "Three Democratic row officers sworn in". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.