Office of the Attorney General
P.O. Box 899
Jefferson City, Missouri 65102
The attorney general’s office was created in 1806 when Missouri was part of the Louisiana Territory. Missouri’s first constitution (1820) provided for an appointed attorney general. Since the 1865 constitution, the attorney general has been elected.
The attorney general is the attorney for the state. He represents the legal interests of Missouri and its people as a group, but cannot represent individual citizens in private legal actions.
As the state’s chief legal officer, the attorney general must prosecute or defend all appeals to which the state is a party, including every felony criminal case which is appealed to the Missouri Supreme Court and courts of appeal. He also is required to institute, in the name and on behalf of the state, all civil suits and other proceedings that are necessary to protect the state’s rights, interests or claims. He also may appear, interplead, answer or defend any proceedings in which the state’s interests are involved, or appear on behalf of the state in declaratory judgment proceedings when the constitutionality of a statute is challenged.
The attorney general renders official opinions to the General Assembly, the governor, secretary of state, auditor, treasurer, the heads of the various state departments and the circuit or prosecuting attorneys on questions of law relating to their duties.
The attorney general may institute quo warranto proceedings to oust any corporation from doing business in Missouri if it has abused its franchise or has violated the state’s laws. He also may institute quo warranto proceedings against any person unlawfully holding any office or move to oust any public official for misfeasance, nonfeasance, or malfeasance in office.
He is a member of the Board of Fund Commissioners, Board of Public Buildings, the Governor’s Committee on Interstate Cooperation, the Missouri Highway Reciprocity Commission and the Missouri Housing Development Commission. He serves as chairman of the Governor’s Crime Commission.
In order to fulfill these and other responsibilities, the attorney general has organized his office into eight divisions: Litigation, Consumer Protection, Governmental Affairs, Environmental Protection, Criminal Appeals, Governmental and Financial Entities, Labor, and Public Safety.