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Hawai`i Legal Research: Attorney General Opinions

Links to online legal resources for researching Hawaii laws.

Attorney General Opinions - Online Links

Kingdom Era

Hawaii's first Attorney General was John Ricord who was appointed by Kamehameha III on March 9, 1844. Ricord was the first lawyer to arrive in Hawaii. He was an advisor to the Crown as well as the Crown's defender and prosecutor. Ricord wrote the Organic Acts of 1845-46 that organized the Hawaiian Kingdom's government.

The Office of Attorney General of Hawaii was established in Hawaii Statute Laws, 1845-46 [vol. 1, 1846 ed.] p. 9). These Laws were written by Ricord. [Open Access LLMC Link: http://www.llmc.com/OpenAccess/docdisplay.aspx?textid=55643325] Ricord left Hawaii in 1847 and the Office of Attorney General was vacant until Aug. 26, 1862, when Kamehameha IV appointed Charles Coffin Harris. 

Hawaii Session Laws of 1862, p. 14, provided an Act for the Appointment of an Attorney General by the King and that the Attorney General should report to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court annually on or before the first Monday in January. This law was repealed in 1866. [Open Access LLMC Link: http://www.llmc.com/OpenAccess/docdisplay.aspx?textid=25749880

Article 42 of the 1864 Constitution, and Article 41 of the 1887 Constitution provided for the Attorney General as a member of the King's Cabinet.

Hawaii Session Laws of 1866, pp. 16-18 defined the duties of the Attorney General. Section 7 of this Act concerns opinions. This law was repealed in 1884. [Open Access LLMC Link: http://www.llmc.com/OpenAccess/docdisplay.aspx?textid=26345265]

Hawaii Session Laws of 1868, p. 10 transferred supervision of police and executive officers of the law from the Minister of the Interior to the Attorney General. [Open Access LLMC Link: http://www.llmc.com/OpenAccess/docdisplay.aspx?textid=25683810]

Growth of Attorney General's Department (Kingdom Era)

Year AG Salary Dept. Budget
1845 $1,400

Department not formed.
Kamehameha III

1862 $5,000

Department not formed; Part of Judiciary Department.
Kamehameha IV

1864 $8,000

Department not formed; Part of Department of Law.
Kamehameha V

1866 $10,000

Department not formed; Part of Department of Law.
Kamehameha V

1868 $10,000

$94,040
Kamehameha V

1870 $10,000

$94,500
Kamehameha V

1872 $10,000

$97,208
Kamehameha V

1874 $8,000

$99,332
Kalakaua

1876 $8,000

$98,716
Kalakaua

1878 $10,000

$129,508
Kalakaua

1880 $12,000

$166,200
Kalakaua

1882 $12,000

$319,300
Note: Includes $60,000 armed forces contingent fund for Maui, Kauai, Hawaii
Kalakaua

1884 $12,000

$282,720
Note: Includes $16,000 for street lamps
Kalakaua

1886 $12,000

$290,366
Kalakaua

1888 $10,000

$268,680
Kalakaua

1890 $10,000

$407,054
Note: Includes $56,754 for care of prisoners
Kalakaua

1892 $9,600

$400,260
Liliuokalani

 

Attorney General Opinions

Kingdom Era - Attorneys General of Hawaii

Name Time in Office
John Ricord March 9, 1844 - May 17, 1847 (Kamehameha III)
Charles Coffin Harris

Aug. 26, 1862 - Dec. 21, 1865 (Kamehameha IV)

Acting: March 26 - Sept. 11, 1866

Stephen Henry Phillips Sept. 12, 1866 - Jan. 10, 1873 (Kamehameha V)
Albert Francis Judd Jan. 13, 1873 - Feb. 17, 1874 (Lunalilo d. Feb. 3, 1874; Kalakaua reign Feb. 12, 1874)
Alfred S. Hartwell Feb. 18, 1874 - May 28, 1874 (Kalakaua)
Richard H. Stanley May 28, 1874 - Nov. 5, 1875 (Kalakaua)
John Smith Walker (ad interim) Nov. 5, 1875 - Feb. 15, 1876 (Kalakaua)
William Richards Castle Feb. 15, 1876 - Dec. 5, 1876 (Kalakaua)
Alfred S. Hartwell Dec. 5, 1876 - July 3, 1878 (Kalakaua)
Edward Preston July 3, 1878 - Aug. 14, 1880 (Kalakaua)
W. Claude Jones Aug. 14, 1880 - Sept. 27, 1880 (Kalakaua)
John Smith Walker (ad interim) Sept. 27, 1880 - Nov. 29, 1880 (Kalakaua)
William Nevins Armstrong

Nov. 29, 1880 - May 19, 1882 (Kalakaua)

Henry A.P. Carter (acting) Jan. 17, 1881 - Nov. 5, 1881

Edward Preston May 19, 1882 - May 14, 1883 (Kalakaua)
Walter M. Gibson (Acting) May 14, 1883 - Dec. 14, 1883 (Kalakaua)
Paul Neumann

Dec. 15, 1883 - June 30, 1886 (Kalakaua)

Walter M. Gibson (acting) Sept. 13, 1884 - Aug. 3, 1885

John T. Dare July 1, 1886 - Oct. 13, 1886 (Kalakaua)
John Lot Kaulukou Oct. 13, 1886 - Oct. 23, 1886 (Kalakaua)
Luther Aholo (ad interim) Oct. 23, 1886 - Nov. 14, 1886 (Kalakaua)
Antone Rosa Nov. 15, 1886 - June 28, 1887 (Kalakaua)
Clarence W. Ashford

July 1, 1887 - June 14, 1890 (Kalakaua)

Lorrin A. Thurston (acting) Nov. 22, 1889

Arthur P. Peterson June 17, 1890 - Feb. 25, 1891 (Kalakaua)
William Austin Whiting Feb. 25, 1891 - July 27, 1892 (Liliuokilani)
Herman A. Widemann  (ad interim) July 27, 1892 - Aug. 29, 1892  (Liliuokilani)
Paul Neumann Aug. 29, 1892 - Oct. 17, 1892  (Liliuokilani)
Charles F. Creighton Nov. 1, 1892 - Nov. 8, 1892  (Liliuokilani)
Cecil Brown Nov. 8, 1892 - Jan. 12, 1893 (Liliuokilani)
Arthur P. Peterson Jan. 12, 1893 - Jan. 17, 1893  (Liliuokilani)