The extent to which State Attorneys General have criminal jurisdiction varies from State to State. But regardless of the extent of their actual legal authority, they are at the forefront of the national debate over criminal justice reform. Public corruption cases are often the most challenging, sensitive, and complicated criminal matters that State Attorneys General face. This class will focus on the challenges that arise under the criminal jurisdiction of attorneys general with a discussion of the appropriate ways in which State Attorneys General respond to allegations of corruption and ethics violations by state and local elected officials.

The flip side of this issue is that several attorneys general have themselves been subject to criminal prosecution for actions taken while in office, and have also been criticized for ethical violations on a wide variety of issues.

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  1. Chris Toth, et al.,Chapter 17, Attorneys General and Criminal Law,State Attorneys General Powers and Responsibilities (2015)
  2. Various District Attorney Cases referred to Attorney General (2011 - 2017)
  3. Commonwealth v. Powers Fasteners, Inc. Docket No 07-10802 (Mass. Super. Ct.) (Dec. 12, 2007)
  4. State v.Peters, CR No. 98-2467 (Hawaii Cir. Ct.) (Mar. 23, 1998) (supplemental reading)
  5. New Mexico Attorney General's parallel proceedings policy (Mar. 9, 2011)
  6. Nevada Attorney General Indictment of Nevada Lt. Governor case and dismissal - Various articles (2008 - 2009)
  7. People v. Earley, Criminal Complaint (Dec. 19, 2016) (supplemental reading)
  8. Paul Egan,Schuette's office OK'd Flint order in alleged tainted­water crimes, Detroit Free Press (Dec. 27, 2016)
  9. Isaac Lara,Shielded from Justice: How State Attorneys General Can Provide Structural Remedies to the Criminal Prosecutions of Police Officers, 50 Colum. J.L. & Soc. Probs. 551 (2017) (supplemental reading)
  10. Criminal justice reform: each class member will be responsible for selecting one initiative to discuss in class
  11. What will change about the Chicago police under the consent decree?, Chicago Tribune (Feb. 1, 2019)
  12. McDonnell v. United States, 136 S. Ct. 2355 (2016) (supplemental reading)
  13. New Mexico Attorney General Prosecutes Secretary of State (2015)
  14. Jon Hurdle and Richard Pérez-Peña,Kathleen Kane, Former Pennsylvania Attorney General, Sentenced to Prison, New York Times (Oct. 24, 2016)(supplemental reading)
  15. The Pennsylvania report on clergy sex abuse spawned a wave of probes nationwide. Now what?, Washington Post (Nov. 22, 2018)
  16. AG Jennings tells prosecutors to seek lesser prison sentences for some crimes,Delaware News Journal (Feb. 19, 2019)