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75-702. Duties and responsibilities; authority to prosecute and defend. The attorney general shall appear for the state, and prosecute and defend any and all actions and proceedings, civil or criminal, in the Kansas supreme court, the Kansas court of appeals and in all federal courts, in which the state shall be interested or a party, and shall, when so appearing, control the state's prosecution or defense. The attorney general shall also, when required by the governor or either branch of the legislature, appear for the state and prosecute or defend, in any other court or before any officer, in any cause or matter, civil or criminal, in which this state may be a party or interested or when the constitutionality of any law of this state is at issue and when so directed shall seek final resolution of such issue in the supreme court of the state of Kansas. The attorney general shall have authority to prosecute any matter related to a violation of K.S.A. 12-189 or 75-5133, and amendment thereto, related to unlawful acts when the offender is an officer or employee of a city or county.

History: L. 1879, ch. 166, § 71; R.S. 1923, 75-702; L. 1975, ch. 431, § 1; L. 2005, ch. 110, § 9; L. 2013, ch. 89, § 2; July 1.

Source or prior law:

L. 1861, ch. 58, § 43; G.S. 1868, ch. 102, § 64.

Cross References to Related Sections:

Attorney general to invoke county or district attorney's assistance in certain criminal appeals, see 22-3612.

Civil actions against certain tobacco product manufacturers, see 50-6a03.

Law Review and Bar Journal References:

Parole eligibility of prisoners serving consecutive sentences in Kansas, Malcolm E. Wheeler, 21 K.L.R. 167, 176 (1973).

"Collateral Challenges to Criminal Convictions," Keith G. Meyer and Larry W. Yackle, 21 K.L.R. 259, 316 (1973).

"The New Mandamus—State ex rel. Stephan v. Kansas House of Representatives," Henry E. Couchman, Jr., 33 K.L.R. 733, 740 (1985).

Attorney General's Opinions:

Kansas association of counties; definitions; municipality; cash-basis law; public agency; open records act. 95-67.


1. Prosecution by county attorney in another county; objection of attorney general. Martin, Governor, v. The State, ex rel., 39 K. 576, 18 P. 472.

2. Attorney general under order of governor becomes prosecuting attorney of county. The State v. Bowles, 70 K. 821, 824, 79 P. 726.

3. Section cited in considering qualifications of county attorney. Hanson v. Grattan, 84 K. 843, 847, 115 P. 646.

4. Provision requiring attorney general to prosecute an order of governor mandatory. The State, ex rel., v. Dawson, 86 K. 180, 188, 193, 119 P. 360.

5. Attorney general has power to make any disposition of state's litigation. State v. Finch, 128 K. 665, 668, 280 P. 910.

6. State may contest will in interest of permanent school fund. State, ex rel., v. Rector, 134 K. 685, 688, 8 P.2d 323.

7. Respective duties of county attorney and attorney general discussed. Heinz v. Shawnee County Comm'rs, 136 K. 104, 106, 107, 12 P.2d 816.

8. Attorney general, without insurance commissioner, cannot maintain action against insurance company. State, ex rel., v. Kansas Life Ins. Co., 140 K. 267, 36 P.2d 88.

9. Cited in holding attorney general could bring receivership action against insurance company. State, ex rel., v. Bank Savings Life Ins. Co., 142 K. 899, 906, 52 P.2d 639.

10. Members of legislature may maintain mandamus action when attorney general appears for state. Coleman v. Miller, 146 K. 390, 392, 71 P.2d 518.

11. Right of county attorney to bring mandamus action discussed and determined. State v. Peterson, 147 K. 626, 629, 78 P.2d 60.

12. Cited; action by county attorney to enjoin illegal medical practice properly maintained. State, ex rel., v. Leopold, 170 K. 613, 615, 228 P.2d 538.

13. Attorney general superior to county attorney in original supreme court action and is officer of supreme court. State, ex rel., v. City of Kansas City, 186 K. 190, 192, 194, 195, 350 P.2d 37.

14. Governor without authority to direct attorney general to not dismiss case in supreme court; attorney general by intervention may supersede county attorney in supreme court case. State, ex rel., v. City of Kansas City, 186 K. 190, 192, 194, 195, 350 P.2d 37.

15. Attorney general not necessary party to probate proceeding contesting charitable trust created by will. In re Estate of Roberts, 190 K. 248, 260, 373 P.2d 165.

16. When attorney general prosecutes case at county attorney's request, attorney general can be removed only for cause. State ex rel. Stephan v. Reynolds, 234 K. 574, 576, 673 P.2d 1188 (1984).

17. Attorney general and county attorney have concurrent duty to enforce open meetings act (75-4317 et seq.); attorney general can appeal when county attorney does not. Memorial Hospital Ass'n, Inc. v. Knutson, 239 K. 663, 667, 668, 722 P.2d 1093 (1986).

18. Attorney general cannot be directed by legislature to file action attorney general believes seeks an unconstitutional remedy. State ex rel. Morrison v. Sebelius, 285 K. 875, 886, 179 P.3d 366 (2008).

19. Cited in opinion upholding the constitutionality of the Kansas expanded lottery act. State ex rel. Six v. Kansas Lottery, 286 K. 557, 561, 186 P.3d 183 (2008).

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