Pennsylvania Attorney General

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Seal of the Attorney General of Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Attorney General is the chief law enforcement officer of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. It became an elected office in 1980.[1] Currently, the office is held by Democrat Kathleen Kane.

Authority and responsibilities[edit]

The Commonwealth Attorneys Act of 1980[2] established the Office of Attorney General as an independent office headed by an elected Attorney General.[3] The office has the responsibility for the prosecution of crime prosecuted by the commonwealth, included organized crime, public corruption, and consumer protection. The Attorney General represents the commonwealth in all actions brought by or against the commonwealth, reviews all proposed rules and regulations by commonwealth agencies.[4]

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[edit]

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.[5]

Colonial attorneys general[edit]

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.[5]

President/Council appointed attorneys general[edit]

Name Took office Left office Comment
John Morris, Jr. July 16, 1777 November 1, 1777 pro tem[6]
Jonathan D. Sergeant November 1, 1777 November 23, 1780 Resigned[7]
William Bradford November 23, 1780 Re-commissioned

Attorneys general appointed between 1791 and 1930[edit]

Name Took office Left office Comment
William Bradford June 9, 1791 August 20, 1791 Resigned[8]
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[9]
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[10]
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
George M. Dallas October 14, 1833 December 1, 1835
James Todd[11] December 18, 1835 April 2, 1838 Resigned[12]
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[13] Resigned[14]
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[15]
Francis W. 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
George E. Alter December 14, 1920 January 16, 1923
George W. Woodruff January 16, 1923 January 18, 1927
Thomas J. Baldridge January 18, 1927 January 28, 1929 Resigned
Cyrus E. Woods January 28, 1929 November 1, 1930 Resigned

Attorneys general appointed between 1930 and 1980[edit]

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

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

Name Took office Left office
  LeRoy S. Zimmerman January 20, 1981[35] January 17, 1989[36]
  Ernie Preate January 17, 1989[36] June 23, 1995[37]
  Walter W. Cohen (acting) June 26, 1995[24] October 3, 1995[38]
  Tom Corbett October 3, 1995[24][38] January 21, 1997
  Mike Fisher January 21, 1997[24] December 15, 2003[39]
  Jerry Pappert January 18, 2004[24] January 18, 2005
  Tom Corbett January 18, 2005[24] January 18, 2011[40]
  William Ryan (acting) January 18, 2011[40] May 27, 2011
  Linda Kelly May 27, 2011[41] January 15, 2013
  Kathleen Kane January 15, 2013 [42] Incumbent

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Penn. Const. Art. 4, § 4.1
  2. ^ 71 P. S. §732-101
  3. ^ OGC: Commonwealth Attorneys Act
  4. ^ The Office: Attorney General Tom Corbett - Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General
  5. ^ a b "History of the Office of Attorney General". 
  6. ^ Morris was Clerk of the General Assembly
  7. ^ Pennsylvania Archives. 1858. p. 612. 
  8. ^ Bradford accepted state Supreme Court appointment
  9. ^ Franklin accepted state judicial appointment
  10. ^ Smith accepted a position as Justice on the state Supreme Court
  11. ^ See article for citations regarding the dates.
  12. ^ Todd accepted a Philadelphia judicial appointment.
  13. ^ This is the date of his judicial commission; there is no date listed in The Pennsylvania Manual.
  14. ^ Kane accepted a federal judiciary appointment.
  15. ^ Campbell accepted the position of U. S. Postmaster General.
  16. ^ "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." 
  17. ^ "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…" 
  18. ^ a b c d e f Official Opinions of the Attorney General of Pennsylvania for the Years 1937 and 1938. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. 1939. Archived from the original 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)" 
  19. ^ "14 New Cabinet Members Safe; Two Are Held Up". Chester Times. United Press. January 18, 1939. p. 2. Retrieved November 14, 2012. 
  20. ^ a b c "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. 
  21. ^ Jones, John E. (January 14, 1943). "Martin Picks Duff, Neel For Cabinet". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. p. 1. Retrieved November 14, 2012. 
  22. ^ a b "Blast Chesnut, Wilhelm, Smock Appointments". Chester Times. United Press. January 22, 1947. p. 2, no. 9. Retrieved November 14, 2012. 
  23. ^ "Margiotti To Send Aide to Job Probe". Pittsburgh Press. July 5, 1950. p. 6. Retrieved November 14, 2012. 
  24. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w "Office of Attorney General". Pennsylvania Department of State. Archived from the original on November 9, 2012. Retrieved November 9, 2012. 
  25. ^ "Margiotti Bows Out Of Cabinet". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press. March 3, 1951. p. 2. Retrieved November 9, 2012. 
  26. ^ a b c Official Opinions of the Attorney General of Pennsylvania for the Years 1955 and 1956. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. 1956. Archived from the original on November 9, 2012. Retrieved November 9, 2012. "Herbert B. Cohen (Commissioned January 18, 1955, Resigned December 17, 1956); Thomas D. McBride (Commissioned December 17, 1956)" 
  27. ^ a b Opinions of the Attorney General of Pennsylvania: 1961–1962. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. 1962. Archived from the original on November 9, 2012. Retrieved November 9, 2012. "Anne X. Alpern (Resigned August 28, 1961); David Stahl (Commissioned August 29, 1961)" 
  28. ^ a b Opinions of the Attorney General of Pennsylvania: 1963–1966. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. 1966. Archived from the original on November 9, 2012. Retrieved November 9, 2012. "Walter E. Alessandroni (Died May 8, 1966); Edward Friedman (May 11, 1966 to January 17, 1967)" 
  29. ^ Commonwealth v. Rozier, 67 Pa. D. & C. 2d 536, 539 (Common Pleas Court of York County, Pennsylvania, 1974) (“…he went out of office on July 3, 1970”).
  30. ^ "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…." 
  31. ^ 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" 
  32. ^ "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." 
  33. ^ a b "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…." 
  34. ^ a b c d e f Opinions of the Attorney General of Pennsylvania: 1979–1981. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. 1981. Archived from the original 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)" 
  35. ^ Jensen, Edward (January 21, 1981). "Three state officials take oaths of office". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. p. 5. Retrieved November 13, 2012. 
  36. ^ a b "Casey welcomes Knoll, Hafer, Preate to office". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press. January 18, 1989. p. 1. Retrieved November 13, 2012. 
  37. ^ 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. 
  38. ^ a b Forester Jr., John D. (October 4, 1995). "Corbett sworn in, pledges review of probe". Reading Eagle. p. 1. Retrieved November 13, 2012. 
  39. ^ Ove, Torsten (December 16, 2003). "Fisher sworn in as federal judge". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved November 13, 2012. 
  40. ^ a b 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 13, 2012. Retrieved November 13, 2012. 
  41. ^ "Linda L. Kelly becomes Pennsylvania Attorney General" (Press release). Pennsylvania Attorney General. May 27, 2011. Archived from the original on November 13, 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." 
  42. ^ Olson, Laura (January 15, 2013). "Three Democratic row officers sworn in". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 

External links[edit]