World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Commonwealth's attorney

Article Id: WHEBN0001931932
Reproduction Date:

Title: Commonwealth's attorney  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: State's attorney, District attorney, Henry E. Hudson, Robert Stivers, City attorney
Collection:
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Commonwealth's attorney

Commonwealth's Attorney is the title given to the elected prosecutor of felony crimes in Kentucky and Virginia. Other states refer to similar prosecutors as district attorney or state's attorney.

A commonwealth's attorney is the highest law enforcement official in his or her jurisdiction and in many jurisdictions supervises a staff which includes a chief deputy commonwealth's attorney, deputy commonwealth's attorneys and assistant commonwealth's attorneys.

A commonwealth's attorney is a constitutional officer, which means that the job is established in the state's constitution which defines the position, the broad powers of the elected officeholder and in Virginia, the requirement that every county and every city be served by a commonwealth's attorney. Cities in Virginia are independent jurisdictions (hence the term "independent city," a designation conceptually similar to that of cities having imperial immediacy under the Holy Roman Empire) and not part of any county.

The role of commonwealth's attorneys, district attorneys, and state's attorneys should not be confused with the role of a county attorney or city attorney whose authority is usually limited by individual state constitutions to non-felony infractions or misdemeanor cases.

Commonwealth's attorneys are elected in their respective jurisdictions in both Virginia and Kentucky.

History

The official name of Virginia is "Commonwealth of Virginia". At the time of the formation of the United States, it was one of three original states that used "Commonwealth" in its name, the others being Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. At the time, Virginia adopted "Commonwealth's attorney" as the title for its official prosecutors, while Massachusetts and Pennsylvania adopted the title district attorney.

When Kentucky broke away from Virginia in 1792 to become the 15th state, Kentucky adopted the style, laws and titles of Virginia, which it has retained, making it the only State outside the original 13 States to have "Commonwealth" in its official name.

External links

  • Constitution of Virginia
  • Kentucky Constitution
  • Code of Virginia
  • Kentucky Revised Statutes
  • City of Newport News, Office of the Commonwealth's Attorney
  • Office of the Commonwealth's Attorney, Louisville, Kentucky
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.