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1 Granting of executive clemency
2 Granting of parole

3 Appointment of notaries public for

the District of Columbia
4 Administration of alien property


The official opinions of the Attorneys General of the United States. Irregular, 1789; Washington, v. 14, 1852—.

(Op. A. G.)


The Department of Justice. The Department of Justice is the law department of the Federal Government. It conducts all the litigation in which the United States is interested and represents the United States in all matters involving legal questions. In addition to handling the law business of the United States, the Department of Justice exercises a general superintendence and direction over the United States attorneys and marshals in the several judicial districts as to the manner of discharging their respective duties and has general supervision over the accounts of United States judges and of the clerks and other officers of the United States courts. The Department, through its Bureau of Prisons has charge of the custody of all United States prisoners and through its Federal Bureau of Investigation it has charge of the investigation of certain violations of the Federal criminal statutes.

The Department of Justice is organized in divisions, units, bureaus and offices to which the Attorney General has assigned different duties, functions, or types of functions. Its affairs and activities are generally directed by the Attorney General, who has, as his chief aides, the Solicitor General, the Assistant to the Attorney General, six Assistant Attorneys General (each of whom is assigned to have charge of one of the “Divisions” of the Department), the Assistant Solicitor General, the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Director of the Bureau of Prisons, the Director of the Bureau of War Risk Litigation, the Director of the Bond and Spirits Division, the Administrative Assistant to the Attorney General, and the Pardon Attorney.

Since the work of the Department of Justice is largely that of a law office and not that of an executive department there are relatively few documents issued by it which are applicable to the general public and relied upon or invoked by the Department in the discharge of its functions or activities. The contacts of the Department with the public ordinarily take place in connection with litigation pending or anticipated.

The Attorney General. The Attorney General is the head of the Department of Justice and as such is the chief law officer of the Federal Government. He represents the United States in legal matters generally and gives advice and opinions when requested by the President or by the heads of the executive departments. He appears in the Supreme Court of the United States in cases of exceptional gravity and importance, exercises general superintendence and direction over United States attorneys and marshals in the various judicial districts of the United States, and provides special counsel for the United States in cases of exceptional importance or when the character of the interests involved requires such action.

The Solicitor General. The Solicitor General assists the Attorney General in the execution of his duties and, by special provision of law, exercises all such

Page 1 duties in case of a vacancy in the office of the Attorney General, or his absence or disability. Under the direction of the Attorney General, the Solicitor General has special charge of the business of and appears for and represents the Government in the Supreme Court of the United States. When requested by the Attorney General, the Solicitor General may conduct and argue any case in which the United States is interested, in any court of the United States, or may attend to the interests of the Government in any State court or elsewhere, conferring with and directing the law officers of the Government throughout the country in the performance of their duties when occasion requires. (See secs. 347 and 349, R.S.) No appeal is taken by the United States to any appellate court without his authorization.

The Assistant to the Attorney General. The Assistant to the Attorney General has supervision over all of the major units of organization of the Department and also supervision over United States attorneys and marshals. This office has charge of authorization for appointments and the salaries pertaining thereto when not otherwise fixed by law; also promotions and demotions both in the Department and the field, as well as other general administrative matters; of legislation, and civil-service matters, including Federal Employees' Compensation and Retirement Acts, pensions, etc.

CROSS REFERENCES: For civil service, see 5 CFR Chapter I. For employees compensation, railroad retirement and social security, see 20 CFR Chapters I, II, III.

The Antitrust Division. The Antitrust Division has special charge of all suits and other matters arising under the Sherman and Clayton Acts and other antitrust matters. In addition it has, under current assignment, charge of the defense and enforcement of the orders and processes of the various Federal regulatory commissions such as the Interstate Commerce Commission, the Fed. eral Trade Commission, the Federal Communications Commission, etc.

CROSS REFERENCES : For Federal Trade Commission, see 16 CFR Chapter I. For Federal Power Commission, see 18 CFR Chapter I. For Federal Communications Commission, see 47 CFR Chapter I. For Interstate Commerce Commission, see 49 CFR Chapter I.

The Tax Division. The Tax Division has charge of the prosecution of criminal proceedings and prosecution and defense of civil suits relating to taxes (except customs) and of appellate proceedings in connection therewith, including briefs and arguments on appeals from the Board of Tax Appeals; also of the enforcement of tax liens and of mandamus, injunctions, and general matters relating to taxes.

CROSS REFERENCE: For Bureau of Internal Revenue and United States Board of Tax Appeals, see 26 CFR Chapters I, III.

The Claims Division. The Claims Division has charge of all civil suits and claims for and against the Government not otherwise specially assigned, patents and copyrights, cases arising out of war transactions, civil-bankruptcy matters, civil proceedings under the National Bank Act, admiralty and shipping matters, as well as alien property claims and litigation.

CROSS REFERENCES: For patents and copyrights, see 37 CFR Chapters I, II. For shipping, see 46 CFR Chapters I, II.

The Lands Division. The Lands Division has charge of matters relating to public lands and condemnation of lands, titles to lands, forest reserves, reclamation and irrigation projects, and the conservation of natural resources, Indian lands and affairs (including suits in the Court of Claims) except crimes. It also has charge of insular and territorial affairs except those specifically assigned, other than criminal.

CROSS REFERENCES : For Indian affairs, see 25 CFR Chapter I. For parks and forests, see 36 CFR Chapters I, II. For public lands, see 43 CFR Chapters I, II, III. For insular and territorial affairs, see 48 CFR Chapter I.

The Criminal Division. The Criminal Division has charge of criminal cases generally, including matters involving criminal practice and procedure such as questions concerning indictments, grand juries, search warrants, passports, alien enemies, extradition, etc.; also cases involving crimes on the high seas, crimes arising under the National Bank Act and under the naturalization laws, and generally directs United States attorneys with respect of the conduct of criminal cases. It also bas charge of the administration and enforcement of Page 2

the laws relating to alcoholic beverages, and of kidnapping and racketeering cases.

CROSS REFERENCES: For naturalization regulations, see 8 CFR Parts 70–85. For alcoholic beverage regulations, see 27 CFR Chapter I.

The Customs Division. The Customs Division has charge of protecting the interests of the Government in matters of reappraisement and classification of imported goods, and all litigation incident thereto.

CROSS REFERENCE: For Bureau of Customs regulations, see 19 CFR Chapter I.

The Assistant Solicitor General. The Assistant Solicitor General has charge, for the Attorney General, of the preparation, review, and revision of opinions, and, as to their form and legality, of Executive orders submitted to him by direction of the President, and also acts for the Attorney General upon offers in compromise of judgments and other claims existing against or in favor of the Government up to a certain limit.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has general charge of the investigation of offenses against the laws of the United States, except counterfeiting, narcotics, and other matters not within the investigative jurisdiction of the Department of Justice; of the acquisition, collection, classification, preservation, and exchange of criminal identification records; and of such investigations regarding official matters under the control of the Department of Justice and the Department of State as may be directed by the Attorney General.

The Bond and Spirits Division. The Bond and Spirits Division has supervision of the review and determination of internal revenue taxes, filing of suits, compromises, preparation of bankruptcy claims, petitions for remissions of forfeitures, and other relevant civil matters arising under the National Prohibition Act, prior to repeal, and associated revenue laws; the review and preliminary determination of criminal compromises and civil claims growing out of current violations of internal liquor revenue statutes and the supervision of the collection on forfeited bail bonds and judgments and fines in criminal cases.

CROSS REFERENCE: For internal revenue regulations, see 26 CFR Chapter I.

The Bureau of Prisons. The Bureau of Prisons has general supervision of Federal penal and correctional institutions and prisoners, and of prison contracts and matters arising under the probation law.

CROSS REFERENCE: For Federal Prisons Industries, Inc., see 40 CFR Chapter I.

The Bureau of War Risk Litigation. The Bureau of War Risk Litigation has charge of war-risk insurance matters (civil) exclusive of claims in favor of the Government, and, generally, of all matters arising under the World War Veterans' Act and kindred statutes.

CROSS REFERENCE: For Veterans' Administration, see 38 CFR Chapter I.

The Board of Parole. The Board of Parole consists of three members, appointed directly by the Attorney General, whose sole duties are to grant and revoke paroles of Federal prisoners.

The Pardon Attorney. The attorney in charge of pardons has charge of all applications for Executive clemency except those of the Army and Navy. He conducts all correspondence with respect thereto and prepares memoranda and recommendations for submission to the Attorney General and the Executive.

The Administrative Assistant to the Attorney General. The Administrative Assistant bas in charge all administrative and organization matters of the Department, including those relating to the United States attorneys, marshals, and other field offices. He handles administrative matters regarding personnel and supervises the clerical and subclerical forces of the Department (exclusive

the Federal Bureau of Investigation), the enforcement of general departmental regulations, and the designation of space requirements for court activities in Federal buildings throughout the country. He also has charge of budget, accounting, and auditing matters, including the examination of judicial offices, such as the offices of clerks of the Courts of the United States, and the offices of the United States Commissioners.

Field force of the Department of Justice. There are 94 United States attorneys and their assistants and clerical employees, 94 United States marshals and their deputies and clerical employees in the field, as well as the personnel in the field offices of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the personnel in the field service of the Bureau of Prisons.




1.11 Reports confidential. 1.1 Submission of petition.

1.12 Withdrawal of petitions. 1.2 Duplicate copy thereof.

1.13 Petitions pending appeals. 1.3 Time of filing petition.

1.14 Requirements for submission of 1.4 Endorsement of petition.


1.15 Petitions of paroled prisoners. 1.5 Contents of petition.

1.16 Time spent in jail. 1.6 Reference of petition to United 1.17 Offenses against Territorial laws. States attorney.

1.18 Offenses against United States 1.7 Advance report of United States laws in Territories. attorney.

1.19 Petitions for restoration of civil 1.8 Application of petitioners to

rights. United States attorney.

1.20 Investigation of petitioner's record 1.9 Reopening of case.


and conduct. 1.10 Submission to President.

1.21 Notification of result.


Power of the President. The President of the United States has the power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment. (Sec. 2, Art. II, U. S. Constitution)

Discretionary exercise thereof. Included in this power to pardon is the full discretionary power to pardon or remit, in whole or in part, any punishment to which an individual may have been sentenced by the judgment of any court or judicial officer of the United States in any criminal proceedings. (Sec. 327, 35 Stat. 1151, sec. 10, 36 Stat. 821 ; 18 U.S.C. 568, 723)

Handling of preliminary duties in connection therewith. Prior to 1850 the preliminary and advisory duties in pardon cases were performed by the Attorney General and the Secretary of State jointly, all files and records in these cases being retained in the State Department. About 1850 all this preliminary work was transferred to the office of the Attorney General, and since that time the Attorney General has had exclusive charge of it. Until June 16, 1893, however, the formal warrants of pardon continued to be issued through the State Department, upon the requisition of the Attorney General; but by an Executive order of President Cleveland, bearing the date last mentioned, this work was transferred to the Department of Justice.

Office of the Pardon Attorney. The Act of March 3, 1865, created the office of Pardon Clerk in the office of the Attorney General, and it was continued after the establishment of the Department of Justice in 1870. By the Act of March 3, 1891, an Attorney in Charge of Pardons was substituted for the Pardon Clerk. This officer is now known as the Pardon Attorney. On June 10, 1918, the office of Assistant Pardon Attorney was created in the Pardon Attorney's office.

Duties of the Pardon Attorney. The Pardon Attorney has charge of all applications for Executive clemency except those in army and navy cases, which are referred to the Secretary of War and the Secretary of the Navy, respectively. He secures reports from the United States attorneys, trial judge, and other persons having official knowledge of the case and conducts all correspondence in relation to pardon cases.

Submission to the President. After the reports of the various officials have been received, the Pardon Attorney, in a case which under the pardon rules should be referred to the President, prepares a report and submits it to the Attorney General. The Attorney General then submits a recommendation to the President, and in cases where he advises the exercise of Executive clemency, signs an appropriate warrant, prepared by the Pardon Attorney. All the papers, including the warrant, accompany the Attorney General's letter to the President, who, after considering the case, endorses on the papers a notation of his action, and, if Executive clemency is extended, affixes his signature to the warrant, which, together with all the papers in the case, is returned to the Attorney General. A warrant of Executive clemency, when received

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at the Department of Justice, is forwarded to the petitioner, or, if he is imprisoned, to the chief officer of the penal institution.

Persons convicted by Army courts-martial. Petitions for pardon to restore civil rights presented to the Secretary of War by men convicted by courtsmartial are referred to the Attorney General with the recommendation of the Secretary of War. Investigations and further proceedings thereon, including presentation to the President, are thereafter conducted by the Department of Justice.


Section 1.1 Submission of petition. A formal petition for Executive clemency, addressed to the President and signed by the applicant, must be submitted to the Attorney General before the question of Executive clemency will be considered. An appropriate form of petition will be supplied by the Department of Justice upon application therefor. These forms may also be obtained from the wardens of the several Federal penitentiaries.**

*88 1.1 to 1.21, inclusive, issued under the authority contained in sec. 2, Art. II, United States Constitution; sec. 327, 35 Stat. 1151, sec. 10, 36 Stat. 821 ; 18 U.S.C. 568, 723.

fIn 8$ 1.1 to 1.21, inclusive, the numbers to the right of the decimal point correspond with the respective section numbers in the Rules governing applications for pardon, promulgated by the Attorney General and approved by the President, May 1, 1934.

1.2 Duplicate copy thereof. Duplicate copies of the petition must be submitted in case of violation of the immigration, narcotic, naturalization, postal or laws relating to alcoholic beverages.**

CROSS REFERENCES : For immigration rules and regulations, see 8 CFR Parts 1–36. For naturalization rules and regulations, see 8 CFR 70–85. For Bureau of Narcotics, see 21 CFR Chapter II. For Federal Alcohol Administration, see 27 CFR Chapter I. For Post Office Department, see 39 CFR Chapter I.

1.3 Time of filing petition. Petitions should be filed sufficiently in advance of the date when action is desired, to enable the attorney in charge of pardons to secure the necessary reports and prepare the case, and to allow the Attorney General and the President ample time to consider and act upon the case.**

1.4 Endorsement of petition. The petition should be endorsed by two or more credible persons who know the applicant and are familiar with the facts in the case. It should be addressed to "The President of the United States", and be forwarded under cover to “The Attorney General”, except: Applications for pardon for offenses against the military laws should be sent to the Secretary of War, and applications for pardon for offenses against naval laws should be sent to the Secretary of the Navy.**

1.5 Contents of petition. The petition should state the name of the applicant, his age, previous criminal record, if any, whether a citizen of the United States or an alien, and if naturalized, his nationality, the date of his naturalization, his previous occupation and place of residence, the crime of which he was convicted and the court, district, State, sentence, date of sentence, the penitentiary or prison to which he was sentenced, and the grounds upon which clemency is asked. Additional petitions may be presented signed

**For statutory and source citations, see note to s 1.1.

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