United States Attorneys: Who Are They? | BCGSearch.com

United States Attorneys: Who Are They?

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A United States Attorney represents the federal government in a United States court of appeals or district court.


There are 93 United States Attorney offices in the United States, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands. In each judicial district, one United States Attorney is assigned, except for Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, where a single United States Attorney serves both districts. Under the guidance of the United States Attorneys' Manual, every United States Attorney is responsible for overseeing federal law enforcement within his or her particular jurisdiction. As many as 350 Assistant U.S. Attorneys (AUSAs) and 350 support staff work in district offices.


Assistant United States Attorneys (AUSAs), or federal prosecutors, are public officials who represent the federal government on behalf of the United States Attorney (USA) in criminal prosecutions, as well as in certain civil cases as either plaintiffs or defendants. The functions of AUSAs include investigating persons, issuing subpoenas, filing formal criminal charges, negotiating with defendants, and granting immunity to witnesses and accused criminals.

The Department of Justice is responsible for hiring and overseeing U.S. Attorneys. United States attorneys receive oversight, supervision, and administrative support from the United States Attorney Executive Office. US Attorneys who take part in the Advisory Committee of US Attorneys of the Attorney General.
 

History and Statutory Authority


The United States Attorney's Office, along with the Attorney General and Marshals service, was created as part of the Judiciary Act of 1789. A number of other court structures, including a district court system, were also specified in the same act as the Supreme Court structure. The Justice Department is thus older than the Office of United States Attorney. The Judiciary Act of 1789 provided for the appointment in each judicial district of a "Person learned in the law to act as attorney for the United States...whose duty it shall be to prosecute in each district all delinquents for crimes and offenses cognizable under the authority of the United States, and all civil actions in which the United States shall be concerned..." US Attorneys were independent of the Attorney General before 1870 when the Department of Justice was established. They were not subject to the AG's supervision or authority before then.
 

Appointment


U.S. Attorneys are appointed by the President of the United States for a four-year term, subject to confirmation by the Senate. U.S. Attorneys serve until their successors are appointed and qualified, beyond the term of their appointment. Unless the President directs otherwise, each U.S. attorney can be removed from office. A vacancy in the U.S. Attorney's position can be filled by appointment of the Attorney General since 1986.
 

Role of U.S. Attorneys


The United States Attorney is both the principal representative and the administrative head of the Office of the United States Attorney for the district. The U.S. Attorney's Office (USAO) prosecutes criminal cases on behalf of the United States and litigates civil cases as either a defendant or plaintiff. The United States may be represented in court by more than one lawyer. Under certain conditions, the United States can be represented by any citizen of the United States, with an attorney by their side, in an action called a qui tam lawsuit.

U.S. Attorneys serve as chief federal law enforcement officers and are in charge of all federal law enforcement personnel in their districts; they may direct them to engage in investigations, cease them, or assist them. For example, the FBI has been in charge of assets under the Department of Justice, including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms and the Drug Enforcement Administration. U.S. Attorneys are also working with law enforcement agencies not affiliated with the Department of Justice to prosecute cases within their jurisdiction.

In addition to prosecuting cases in the District of Columbia Superior Court, the United States Attorney's office has the responsibility of prosecuting local criminal cases in the capital's municipal court. A federal Article I court, the Superior Court is located in Washington, D.C.
 

Executive Office for United States Attorneys


The United States Attorneys' Executive Office for United States Attorneys (EOUSA), which is comprised of 93 United States Attorneys and 94 U.S. Attorneys' offices (Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands have one U.S. Attorney each), provides the following services:
 
  • General executive assistance and direction,
  • Policy development,
  • Administrative management direction and oversight,
  • Operational support,
  • Coordination with other components of the United States Department of Justice and other federal agencies.

Legal education, budgeting, administrative, and personnel services are included in these responsibilities.

The EOUSA was created on April 6, 1953, by Attorney General Order No. 8-53 to provide for close liaison between the Department of Justice in Washington, DC, and the 93 U.S. attorneys located throughout the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S Virgin Islands. James R. Browning, a judge on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, organized the organization.
 

The Mission of the US Attorneys Office


The U.S. Attorneys collaborate with the Attorney General to prosecute crimes throughout the country. Criminal prosecutions are brought by their offices, civil penalties are pursued, federal programs are defended, and the financial interests of the United States are protected. As well as advising the Attorney General and senior policy leaders through its various subcommittees, the Advisory Committee provides advice and counsel. Executive Office for U.S Attorneys (EOUSA) provides support for the Department of Justice and other federal agencies through general executive assistance and direction, policy development, administrative management direction, and training. 

Trials that involve the United States are usually handled by United States Attorneys. Section 547 of Title 28 of the United States Code gives United States Attorneys three statutory responsibilities:
 
  • the prosecution of criminal cases brought by the Federal Government;
  • the prosecution and defense of civil cases in which the United States is a party; and
  • the collection of debts owed the Federal Government which are administratively uncollectible.

In spite of the vast differences in caseloads between districts, all US Attorneys' Offices handle a variety of simple and complex cases. US Attorneys have a great deal of discretion in how they utilize their resources to advance their local jurisdictions' priorities and needs.
 

List of Current U.S. Attorneys' Offices

 
  1. U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama
  2. U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama
  3. U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama
  4. U.S. Attorney for the District of Alaska
  5. U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona
  6. U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas
  7. U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas
  8. U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California
  9. U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California
  10. U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California (USAO)
  11. U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California
  12. U.S. Attorney for the District of Colorado
  13. U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia
  14. U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut
  15. U.S. Attorney for the District of Delaware
  16. U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Florida (USAO)
  17. U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Florida
  18. U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida (USAO)
  19. U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia
  20. U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia
  21. U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia
  22. U.S. Attorney for the Districts of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands (USAO)
  23. U.S. Attorney for the District of Hawaii (USAO)
  24. U.S. Attorney for the District of Idaho
  25. U.S. Attorney for the Central District of Illinois
  26. U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois
  27. U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois
  28. U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Indiana (USAO)
  29. U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana
  30. U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Iowa
  31. U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa (USAO)
  32. U.S. Attorney for the District of Kansas
  33. U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky
  34. U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Kentucky
  35. U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana
  36. U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Louisiana
  37. U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana
  38. U.S. Attorney for the District of Maine
  39. U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland (USAO)
  40. U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts
  41. U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan
  42. U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan
  43. U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota
  44. U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Mississippi
  45. U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi
  46. U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri
  47. U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri
  48. U.S. Attorney for the District of Montana
  49. U.S. Attorney for the District of Nebraska
  50. U.S. Attorney for the District of Nevada
  51. U.S. Attorney for the District of New Hampshire
  52. U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey (USAO)
  53. U.S. Attorney for the District of New Mexico
  54. U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York (USAO)
  55. U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of New York (USAO)
  56. U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York (USAO)
  57. U.S. Attorney for the Western District of New York (USAO)
  58. U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina
  59. U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of North Carolina
  60. U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina
  61. U.S. Attorney for the District of North Dakota
  62. U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio
  63. U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio
  64. U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Oklahoma
  65. U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Oklahoma
  66. U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma (USAO)
  67. U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon
  68. U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
  69. U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania
  70. U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania
  71. U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico
  72. U.S. Attorney for the District of Rhode Island
  73. U.S. Attorney for the District of South Carolina
  74. U.S. Attorney for the District of South Dakota (USAO)
  75. U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee
  76. U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee
  77. U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee
  78. U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Texas
  79. U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas
  80. U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Texas
  81. U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas
  82. U.S. Attorney for the District of Utah
  83. U.S. Attorney for the District of Vermont
  84. U.S. Attorney for the District of the Virgin Islands
  85. U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia
  86. U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Virginia
  87. U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington
  88. U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington
  89. U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of West Virginia
  90. U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia
  91. U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin
  92. U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin
  93. U.S. Attorney for the District of Wyoming
 

United States Attorney General


U.S. attorney general (AG) heads the Department of Justice and is the chief lawyer for the federal government of the United States. On all legal matters, the attorney general serves as the president's principal advisor. Attorneys general is statutory members of the Cabinet of the United States.

The U.S. Constitution's Appointments Clause requires the president to nominate the person for the office, and the United States Senate to confirm him or her. Several deputy attorneys general work in the Attorney General's Office.

Since March 11, 2021, Merrick Garland has been the United States attorney general.

For Assistant United States Attorney Jobs

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