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The United States Attorney's Office

The Mission of the United States Attorney's Office is:

To fairly and justly prosecute violations of federal criminal law and to represent the United States and its agencies in civil litigation;

To educate and inform the public, including victims of crime, about the functions of the justice system and the rights of all citizens;

To assume a leadership role in crime prevention through speaking engagements and community involvement; and

To conduct federal and local law enforcement training and facilitate cooperation and collaboration among law enforcement agencies.

What is the Western District of Missouri?

Congress has established a total of 94 federal judicial districts that cover the United States and its territories. The Western District of Missouri comprises 66 of Missouri's 114 counties. (See the map.) The district contains 40,251 square miles and has a population of roughly 2.4 million people, according to the 2000 Census. Included in the district are the metropolitan areas of Kansas City, Mo., St. Joseph, Columbia, Jefferson City, Springfield and Joplin.

Where is the U.S. Attorney's Office located?

The main office of the United States Attorney, located in Kansas City, Missouri, serves the district's Western and St. Joseph divisions. A branch office in Springfield serves the Southern and Southwestern divisions, which comprise the southern one-third of the district. A branch office in Jefferson City serves the Central division. As of May 1, 2002, these three offices have a combined full-time staff of 55 attorneys and 60 non-attorney support personnel, including paralegals, legal secretaries and administrative employees.

Who is in charge of the U.S. Attorney's Office?

The office is headed by the United States Attorney for the district, who is appointed to a four-year term by the President of the United States, upon advise and consent of the U.S. Senate. The U.S. Attorney reports to the U.S. Attorney General, who is a member of the President's cabinet.

What is the function of the U.S. Attorney's Office?

The U.S. Department of Justice has been accurately described as the largest law firm in the world. As part of that department, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Missouri serves as the branch office of the "peoples' law firm" in the western part of the Show-Me State. The United States Attorneys serve as the nation's principal litigators under the direction of the Attorney General. There are 93 United States Attorneys stationed throughout the United States Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands.

United States Attorneys are appointed by, and serve at the discretion of the President of the United States, with advice and consent of the United States Senate. The office itself serves two basic functions. Its most visible function is to prosecute violations of federal crimes occurring in the district. But it also provides legal representation to the federal government, its agencies and employees in civil court actions. One United States Attorney is assigned to each of the judicial districts, with the exception of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands where a single United States Attorney serves in both districts. Each United States Attorney is the chief federal law enforcement officer of the United States within his or her particular jurisdiction.

What types of cases does the office handle?

Once again, the most visible function of the office is to prosecute criminal cases involving violation of federal law. Some examples include robberies of federally-insured banks and savings institutions, major drug trafficking operations, interstate kidnappings, mail fraud, wire (telephone or telegraph) fraud, counterfeiting, organized crime activities and public corruption.

Although criminal prosecutions are our most visible function, the bulk of our caseload falls on our civil division, which serves as the federal government's lawyer. Civil matters may range from defending the federal government against a claim by an individual, a group of individuals, a corporation or even an entire state. The civil division also serves as a collection agent for judgments taken on debts to the federal government, including delinquent loans and unpaid fines.

What agencies does the office work with?

As the lead federal law enforcement agency in the district, we work cooperatively with law enforcement agencies at all levels: city police departments, county sheriffs' departments, county prosecutors, state police and highway patrols, federal law enforcement agencies, and on occasion, foreign law enforcement agencies and international police agencies. Some of our common partners in criminal prosecutions are the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; Drug Enforcement Administration; U.S. Customs Service; U.S. Secret Service; U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service; Internal Revenue Service; U.S. Postal Inspection Service; and the U.S. Marshals Service.