Skip to content
Main Menu
Utah Attorney General
Search
Attorney General
Sean D. Reyes
Utah Office of the Attorney General
Alerts
Close
Secondary Navigation

History

History of the Utah Attorney General Office

The Office of Utah Attorney General was set up in 1850 when Utah was still a territory. The duties of the Attorney General were to keep his office at the seat of government, to attend to all legal business on the part of the Territory, before the courts, where the Territory is a party, and prosecute individuals accused of crimes in the judicial district which he keeps his office.

The territorial office of Attorney General lasted for 22 years. In 1874, Congress passed the Poland Law, which abolished the jurisdiction of the Utah Territory’s “probate court” system and the territorial offices of the Attorney General and Marshall.

In 1895 the people of Utah again created the Office of Attorney General, this time in the Constitution of Utah. Under the Utah Constitution, the duties of the Attorney General were to be the sole legal adviser of the State officers, except as otherwise provided by this constitution, and shall perform such other duties as provided by law.

Individual states, territories, and Washington D.C. each have their own Attorney Generals and they are not to be confused with the U.S. Attorney General who is Head of the Department of Justice, and a member of the Presidential cabinet. Most state Attorney Generals are elected by popular vote while the U.S. Attorney General is nominated by the President and is subject to approval by the U.S. Senate.

Since the admission of Utah as a state on January 4, 1896 the Attorney General has been an independently elected constitutional officer of the executive department and serves four year terms. This official must be at least 25 years old at the time of their election, be admitted to practice before the State Supreme Court, and a member of the bar in good faith.

  • A. C. Bishop 1896–1901
  • M. R. Breeden 1901–09
  • A. R. Barns 1909–17
  • Dan B. Shields 1917-21
  • Harvey H. Cluff 1921–29
  • George P. Parker 1929–33
  • Joseph Chez Jan 1933–41
  • Grover A. Giles 1941–49
  • Clinton D. Vernon 1949–53
  • E.R. Callister 1953–59
  • Walter L. Budge 1959–61
  • A. Pratt Kessler 1961–65
  • Phil L. Hansen 1965–69
  • Vernon B. Romney 1969–77
  • Robert B. Hansen 1977–81
  • David L. Wilkinson 1981–89
  • Paul Van Dam 1989–93
  • Jan Graham 1993–2001
  • Mark Shurtleff 2001–13
  • John Swallow 2013
  • Sean Reyes 2014 – Present
Site SettingsSettings