List of Attorneys General of West Virginia

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Attorney General of West Virginia
Seal of West Virginia.svg
Incumbent
Patrick Morrisey

since January 14, 2013
Style The Honorable
Seat Building 1, Room E-26
West Virginia Capitol Complex
Charleston, West Virginia[1]
Term length Four years
Inaugural holder Aquilla B. Caldwell
Formation June 20, 1863
Salary $95,000 per year (2012)
Website www.ago.wv.gov

The Attorney General of West Virginia is the chief legal advisor to the West Virginia state government and is the state's chief law enforcement officer. The office was created by Article VII, Section 1 of the first Constitution of West Virginia in 1863.[2][3] Under the current state constitution (1872), the attorney general is an executive department-level state constitutional officer, along with the governor, secretary of state, auditor, treasurer, and commissioner of agriculture.[4] The attorney general is the ex officio reporter of the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia.[4] The constitution further specifies that the attorney general shall reside in the seat of state government, Charleston, during their term of office.[4] In Charleston, they are to maintain public records, books, and papers pertaining to their office, and perform all duties prescribed by state law.[4] As of 2012, the attorney general receives a salary of $95,000 per year.[2]

The attorney general gives their written opinions and advice upon questions of law to state officials, heads of state institutions, and prosecuting attorneys.[2] They are also responsible for all litigation on behalf of the state government and state agencies and departments.[2] The attorney general represents the state in all claims processed by the Court of Claims, prosecutes civil actions as prescribed by law, enforces the state consumer, antitrust, and preneed burial statutes, enforces the West Virginia Human Rights Act and the West Virginia Fair Housing Act.[2] The attorney general is also an ex officio member of the Board of Public Works, Council of Finance and Administration, Public Land Corporation, West Virginia Housing Fund, West Virginia Sheriff’s Bureau, Department of Public Safety Retirement Board, Bid Suspension Review Board, State Building Commission, Commission on Charitable Contributions, Women’s Commission, Multistate Tax Compact Advisory Committee, Records Management, and Preservation Advisory Committee.[2]

To be eligible for election or appointment to the position, the attorney general candidate must be at least 25 years of age at the beginning of their term of service, and must have been a citizen of West Virginia for at least five years prior to their election or appointment.[5] In 1872, when the second (and current) Constitution of West Virginia was enacted, the constitution averred that citizens residing in the state at the time of its enactment were also authorized to be elected or appointed as attorney general, regardless of the length of the residency in West Virginia.[5] Their election can be held at any time as prescribed by law.[6] The attorney general's term of office is four years and commences on the first Monday after the second Wednesday of the month of January following their election.[4] If the office of attorney general should become vacant on account of death, resignation, or otherwise, the governor is authorized to select an appointee to hold that office until a successor can be elected and qualified.[7]

Since West Virginia became a state on June 20, 1863, it has had 34 attorneys general, of whom 33 men have held the office (the inaugural attorney general, Aquilla B. Caldwell of Ohio County, served two nonconsecutive terms).[8][9] Caldwell was the first Republican to hold the office, and Joseph Spriggs of Hampshire County was the first Democrat.[9] The state's penultimate attorney general, Darrell McGraw, was the longest-serving attorney general and served the most consecutive terms after being elected to the office five times.[9][10] The current attorney general, Patrick Morrisey, began his term on January 14, 2013 and is the first Republican to hold the office in 80 years since Howard B. Lee in 1933 and the first from Jefferson County.[11][12] Six attorney generals have served as Governor of West Virginia.[13]

List of Attorneys General[edit]

For a list of attorneys general who served the region before West Virginia became a state, see List of Attorneys General of Virginia.
Parties

      Democratic (21)       Republican (13)

Henry M. Mathews, 7th Attorney General of West Virginia
Robert White, 8th Attorney General of West Virginia
William G. Conley, 15th Attorney General of West Virginia
# Attorney General[9] Term start[a] Term end[a] Party[9] County of residence[9]
1   Aquilla B. Caldwell[b] June 20, 1863 December 31, 1864 Republican Ohio
2   Ephraim B. Hall January 1, 1865 December 31, 1865 Republican Marion
3   Edwin Maxwell[c] January 1, 1866 December 31, 1866 Republican Harrison
4   Thayer Melvin January 1, 1867 July 1, 1869 Republican Ohio
5   Aquilla B. Caldwell[d] July 2, 1869 December 31, 1870 Republican Ohio
6   Joseph Spriggs January 1, 1871 December 31, 1872 Democratic Hampshire
7   Henry M. Mathews January 1, 1873 March 3, 1877 Democratic Greenbrier
8   Robert White March 4, 1877 March 3, 1881 Democratic Hampshire
9   Cornelius Clarkson Watts March 4, 1881 March 3, 1885 Democratic Kanawha
10   Alfred Caldwell March 4, 1885 March 3, 1893 Democratic Ohio
11   Thomas S. Riley March 4, 1893 March 3, 1897 Democratic Ohio
12   Edgar P. Rucker March 4, 1897 March 3, 1901 Republican McDowell
13   Romeo H. Freer March 4, 1901 March 3, 1905 Republican Ritchie
14   Clark W. May March 4, 1905 April 25, 1908 Republican Lincoln
15   William G. Conley[e] May 9, 1908 March 3, 1913 Republican Preston
16   Armistead Abraham Lilly March 4, 1913 March 3, 1917 Republican Raleigh
17   Edward T. England March 4, 1917 March 3, 1925 Republican Logan
18   Howard B. Lee March 4, 1925 March 3, 1933 Republican Mercer
19   Homer A. Holt March 4, 1933 January 18, 1937 Democratic Fayette
20   Clarence W. Meadows[f] January 18, 1937 May 16, 1942 Democratic Raleigh
21   William S. Wysong[f] May 25, 1942 January 13, 1943 Democratic Webster
22   James Kay Thomas[g] January 13, 1943 January 15, 1945 Democratic Kanawha
23   Ira J. Partlow[h] January 15, 1945 November 7, 1949 Democratic McDowell
24   William C. Marland[h] December 1, 1949 February 1, 1952 Democratic Wyoming
25   Chauncey H. Browning, Sr.[i] February 1, 1952 August 16, 1952 Democratic Logan
26   John G. Fox[j] August 16, 1952 January 14, 1957 Democratic Fayette
27   W. W. Barron January 14, 1957 January 16, 1961 Democratic Randolph
28   C. Donald Robertson January 16, 1961 January 13, 1969 Democratic Harrison
29   Chauncey H. Browning, Jr. January 13, 1969 January 14, 1985 Democratic Logan
30   Charlie Brown January 14, 1985 August 21, 1989 Democratic Kanawha
31   Roger W. Tompkins[k] September 5, 1989 January 14, 1991 Democratic Kanawha
32   Mario Palumbo[l] January 14, 1991 January 18, 1993 Democratic Kanawha
33   Darrell McGraw January 18, 1993 January 14, 2013 Democratic Wyoming
34   Patrick Morrisey January 14, 2013 Incumbent Republican Jefferson

Other high offices held[edit]

This is a table of other high offices held by attorney generals.

† Denotes those offices in which the attorney general resigned to run for governor.
Attorney General Governor[13] U.S. House
Henry M. Mathews G
Romeo H. Freer H[14]
William G. Conley G
Edward T. England H[15]
Homer A. Holt G
Clarence W. Meadows G
William C. Marland G†
W. W. Barron G

References[edit]

Explanatory notes

  1. ^ a b From 1865 until 1873, attorney generals were sworn into office on January 1; and from 1877 until 1933, they were sworn into office on March 4. From 1937 until the present, attorney general terms begin on the first Monday after the second Wednesday of the month of January following their election.[4][8][9][16][17]
  2. ^ Aquilla B. Caldwell was elected attorney general on May 28, 1863, but did not take office until statehood on June 20, 1863.[18][19]
  3. ^ Edwin Maxwell was appointed to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Ephraim B. Hall on December 31, 1865 and served in the position until December 31, 1866.[9]
  4. ^ Aquilla B. Caldwell was appointed to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Thayer Melvin on July 1, 1869.[9]
  5. ^ William G. Conley was appointed on May 9, 1908 to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Clark W. May on April 25, 1908. Conley was elected to fill the remainder of the term, and for the regular term beginning on March 4, 1909.[9]
  6. ^ a b William S. Wysong was appointed on May 24, 1942 to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Clarence W. Meadows on May 16, 1942.[20][21][22] Ira J. Partlow became the acting attorney general on May 18, 1952, and Wysong was sworn into the office on May 25, 1942.[20][21]
  7. ^ James Kay Thomas was elected on November 3, 1942 to fill the remainder of the unexpired term of Clarence W. Meadows.[9][23] Thomas was sworn in as attorney general on January 13, 1943.[23]
  8. ^ a b Ira J. Partlow resigned on November 7, 1949, and that same day, William C. Marland was appointed to fill the position.[24][25] Marland was sworn in on December 1, 1949 to fill the vacancy and was elected in 1950 to fill the remainder of the Partlow's unexpired term.[9]
  9. ^ William C. Marland announced his resignation on January 30, 1952 to run for election as governor, and his resignation was effective February 1, 1952.[26] Chauncey H. Browning, Sr. was sworn in on February 1, 1952 to fill the vacancy caused by Marland's resignation.[27] Browning served in the position until August 16, 1952, at which time John G. Fox was appointed as Browning's replacement.[9][28]
  10. ^ John G. Fox was appointed as the replacement for Chauncey H. Browning, Sr. on August 16, 1952, and was elected to a full term in November 1952, after which he was sworn into his full term on January 19, 1953.[9][28][29]
  11. ^ Roger W. Tompkins was appointed to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Charlie Brown on August 21, 1989.[9]
  12. ^ Mario Palumbo was elected to fill the remainder of the unexpired term of Charlie Brown.[9]

Citations

  1. ^ "Office of the West Virginia Attorney General: Contact Us". Office of the West Virginia Attorney General website. Office of the West Virginia Attorney General. Retrieved May 28, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f West Virginia Legislature 2012, p. 28.
  3. ^ Constitution of West Virginia (1863) Article VII, § 1.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Constitution of West Virginia (1872) Article VII, § 1. Executive department.
  5. ^ a b Constitution of West Virginia (1872) Article IV, § 4. Persons entitled to hold office -- Age requirements.
  6. ^ Constitution of West Virginia (1872) Article VII, § 2. Election.
  7. ^ Constitution of West Virginia (1872) Article VII, § 17. Vacancies in other executive departments.
  8. ^ a b Lewis 1912, p. 407.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p West Virginia Legislature 2011, p. 328.
  10. ^ King, Joselyn (November 9, 2012). "New A.G. Calling For Audit: Morrisey wants to see how McGraw spent". The Wheeling Intelligencer and News-Register (Wheeling, West Virginia). Retrieved May 28, 2015. 
  11. ^ Harold, Zack (January 25, 2013). "Meet Patrick Morrisey, West Virginia's new attorney general". Charleston Daily Mail (Charleston, West Virginia). Retrieved May 28, 2015. 
  12. ^ McVey, John (January 15, 2013). "Morrisey sworn in as attorney general: Becomes first person from Jefferson County elected to the office". The Journal (Martinsburg, West Virginia). Retrieved May 28, 2015. 
  13. ^ a b "West Virginia: Past Governors Bios". National Governors Association website. National Governors Association. Retrieved May 28, 2015. 
  14. ^ "Romeo H. Freer". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. United States Congress. Retrieved May 28, 2015. 
  15. ^ "Edward T. England". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. United States Congress. Retrieved May 28, 2015. 
  16. ^ Atkinson & Gibbens 1890, pp. 37–38.
  17. ^ West Virginia Attorney General's Office 1918, p. 3.
  18. ^ West Virginia Legislature 1916, p. 313.
  19. ^ "Latest by Telegraph: West Virginia.". Civilian & Telegraph (Cumberland, Maryland). June 25, 1863. p. 2. Retrieved May 28, 2015. 
  20. ^ a b "Wysong Named to Attorney General Post". The Raleigh Register (Beckley, West Virginia). May 24, 1942. p. 1. Retrieved May 28, 2015. 
  21. ^ a b "West Virginia Staff Changes Announced". The Evening Review (East Liverpool, Ohio). May 19, 1942. p. 2. Retrieved May 28, 2015. 
  22. ^ "Meadows Will Preside Over Court Monday". The Raleigh Register (Beckley, West Virginia). May 17, 1942. p. 1. Retrieved May 28, 2015. 
  23. ^ a b "Supreme Court Orders Wysong To Explain Why He Doesn't Quit As Attorney General". The Raleigh Register (Beckley, West Virginia). January 14, 1943. p. 1. Retrieved May 28, 2015. 
  24. ^ "W. Va. Attorney General Ira J. Partlow Resigns". The Cumberland News (Cumberland, Maryland). November 8, 1949. p. 2. Retrieved May 28, 2015. 
  25. ^ "Glen Rogers Man To Become State Attorney General". Beckley Post-Herald (Beckley, West Virginia). November 8, 1949. p. 2. Retrieved May 28, 2015. 
  26. ^ "Marland Out For Governor: State Atty. Gen. Quits To Conduct Campaign". Charleston Daily Mail (Charleston, West Virginia). January 31, 1952. p. 1. Retrieved May 28, 2015. 
  27. ^ "Patteson Fills Marland Post: Oath Administered to Logan Attorney". Charleston Daily Mail (Charleston, West Virginia). February 1, 1952. p. 1. Retrieved May 28, 2015. 
  28. ^ a b "Judicial Conventions Will be Set Saturday". The Raleigh Register (Beckley, West Virginia). August 21, 1952. p. 1. Retrieved May 28, 2015. 
  29. ^ Mangelsdorf, Phil (January 18, 1953). "Eyes of State Focus on Marland's Inauguration". The Raleigh Register 73 (178) (Beckley, West Virginia). p. 1. Retrieved May 28, 2015. 

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]