The attorney general is the chief legal officer of the state. Through his staff, he represents the interests of the state in a variety of areas. Officers and agencies of the state are represented by the attorney general in all civil litigation before state and federal courts. The district attorneys prosecute most criminal cases at the trial level. The attorney general prosecutes all criminal cases in the appellate courts and exercises original prosecutorial powers in the areas of securities and state contract fraud. The attorney general has the authority to institute ouster proceedings and civil actions for antitrust violations, consumer fraud and environmental enforcement. In addition to courtroom duties, the attorney general provides legal advice to state departments and agencies and the General Assembly. Formal opinions of the attorney general on legal issues are rendered to state officials upon request. The attorney general also approves all administrative regulations and leases as to form and legality.
Although the Attorney General is prohibited from offering legal advice or representing private individuals, he serves and protects the rights of all citizens of the state through the activities of the various divisions of the agencies. Actions that benefit all citizens of this state include enforcement of health, safety and consumer regulations; educational outreach programs and protection of the rights of the elderly and disabled.