Arkansas Attorney General
Seal of the Attorney General of Arkansas
|Formed||March 13, 1868|
|Jurisdiction||The State of Arkansas|
|Headquarters||Little Rock, Arkansas|
The Arkansas Attorney General is an executive position and constitutional officer within the Arkansas government. The Attorney General is the chief law enforcement, legal officer, and lawyer for Arkansas. The position is elected every four years, e.g. 2006 and 2010, at the same time as the Governor of Arkansas.
The current Attorney General is Republican Leslie Rutledge, who was elected on November 4, 2014, and sworn in as the 56th Attorney General of Arkansas on January 13, 2015. She is the first Republican ever to serve as Arkansas Attorney General, as well as the first woman.
The first Attorney General for Arkansas was the state’s attorney for its Fifth Judicial District, Robert Ward Johnson, who served in the position from 1843 until 1848. He went on to serve in the United States House of Representative and United States Senate as well as in the Confederate Congress during the American Civil War.
The constitution of 1868 made the attorney general post in Arkansas elective.
Prominent Attorneys General from Arkansas
The best-known Arkansas Attorney General is Bill Clinton, as he later became President of the United States; he was elected to the position in 1976 and served until he was elected governor in 1978. Other former attorneys general include Bruce Bennett, Joe Purcell, Ray Thornton, Jim Guy Tucker, Mark Pryor, Steve Clark and Mike Beebe. Until Rutledge took office, Democrats had held the office since Reconstruction.
According to the official website, the duties of the Attorney General include representing state agencies and commissions in courts of law, giving opinions on issues presented by legislators and prosecutors, handling criminal matters and habeas corpus matters in the state, and advocating for citizens on issues pertaining to the environment, antitrust, and consumer protection.
List of Arkansas Attorneys General
- Robert Ward Johnson from 1843 until 1848
- George C. Watkins from 1848 until 1851
- J. J. Clendenin from 1851 until 1856
- Thomas Johnson (Arkansas) from 1856 until 1858
- J. L. Hollowell from 1858 until 1861
- P. Jordan from 1861 until 1862
- Sam W. Williams from 1862 until 1864
- Charles T. Jordan from 1864 until 1865
- R.S. Gantt from 1865 until 1866
- R. H. Deadman from 1866 until 1868
- J. R. Montgomery from 1868 until 1873
- T. D. W. Yonley from 1873 until 1874
- James L. Witherspoon from May - November 1874
- Simon P. Hughes from 1874 - 1876
- William F. Henderson from 1877 until 1881
- Charles B. Moore from 1881 until 1885
- Daniel W. Jones from 1885 until 1889
- William E. Atkinson from 1889 - 1893
- James P. Clarke from 1893 - 1895
- E. B. Kinsworthy from 1895 - 1899
- Jeff Davis from 1899 - 1901
- George W. Murphy from 1901 - 1905
- Robert L. Rogers from 1905 - 1907
- William F. Kirby from 1907 - 1909
- Hal L. Norwood from 1909 - 1913
- William L. Moose from 1913 - 1915
- Wallace Davis from 1915 - 1917
- John D. Arbuckle from 1917 - 1921
- J. S. Utley from 1921 - 1925
- W. H. Applegate from 1925 - 1929
- Hal L. Norwood from 1929 - 1934
- Walter L. Pope from 1934 - 1935
- Carl E. Bailey from 1935 - 1937
- Jack Holt from 1937 - 1943
- Guy E. Williams from 1943 - 1949
- Ike Murry from 1949 - 1953
- Tom Gentry from 1953 - 1957
- Bruce Bennett from 1957 - 1961
- J. Frank Holt from 1961 - 1961
- Jack Holt Jr. from 1962 - 1963
- Bruce Bennett from 1963 - 1967
- Joe Purcell from 1967 - 1971
- Ray Thornton from 1971 -1973
- Rodney Parham from 1973 - 1973
- Jim Guy Tucker from 1973 - 1977
- Bill Wilson from 1977 - 1977
- Bill Clinton from 1977 - 1979
- Steve Clark from 1979 - 1991
- Winston Bryant from 1991 - 1999
- Mark Pryor from 1999 - 2003
- Leon Johnson from 2003 - 2003
- Mike Beebe from 2003 - 2006
- Dustin McDaniel from 2007 - 2015
- Leslie Rutledge from 2015 - present
- "Leslie Rutledge; Attorney General of Arkansas". Republican Attorneys General Association. Retrieved 2 March 2015.
- "Office of Attorney General". The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture. Little Rock, Arkansas: Butler Center for Arkansas Studies at the Central Arkansas Library System (CALS). 16 January 2015. Retrieved 2 March 2015.
- "State Attorneys General Results — 2014". Bingham. Bingham McCutchen LLP law firm. 6 November 2014. Archived from the original on 4 February 2015. Retrieved 2 March 2015.
- "Arkansas Attorney General". State of Arkansas. Retrieved 2 March 2015.
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