3-1.000 - Organization

3-1.100 Organization—Introduction
3-1.120 Responsibilities
3-1.130 United States Attorneys
3-1.140 United States Attorneys Recusals


3-1.100 Organization—Introduction

Title 3, Executive Office for United States Attorneys (EOUSA), contains select policies that apply to EOUSA and the United States Attorneys’ offices (USAOs).  Title 3 is not intended to be a full compilation of EOUSA’s duties and responsibilities.

[Updated February 2018]


3-1.120 Responsibilities

In 1953, Attorney General Order No. 8-53 established EOUSA to “provide general executive assistance and supervision to the offices of the United States Attorneys.”  One of the original directives instructed EOUSA to “serve as liaison, coordinator, and expediter with respect to the Offices of the United States Attorneys, and between these offices and other elements of the Department [of Justice].”  Under the guidance of the Director, EOUSA provides the 94 USAOs with general executive support; policy guidance; administrative management direction and oversight; operational support; and coordination with other components of the Department and other federal agencies.  EOUSA’s responsibilities encompass legal, budgetary, administrative, and personnel services, as well as continuing legal education.

[updated February 2018]


3-1.130 United States Attorneys

The United States Attorneys serve as the chief federal law enforcement officers in their judicial districts.  There are 93 United States Attorneys stationed in 94 USAOs throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Virgin Islands.  One United States Attorney is assigned to each judicial district with the exception of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, where a single United States Attorney serves in both districts. 

Although the Attorney General has supervision over all litigation to which the United States or any agency thereof is a party, and has direction over all United States Attorneys, and their assistants, in the discharge of their respective duties (28 U.S.C. Secs. 514, 515, 519), each United States Attorney, within his/her district, has the responsibility and authority to: (a) prosecute for all offenses against the United States; (b) prosecute or defend, for the government, all civil actions, suits, or proceedings in which the United States is concerned; (c) appear on behalf of the defendants in all civil actions, suits or proceedings pending in the district against collectors, or other officers of the revenue or customs for any act done by them or for the recovery of any money exacted by or paid to such officers, and by them paid into the Treasury; (d) institute and prosecute proceedings for the collection of fines, penalties, and forfeitures incurred for violation of any revenue law unless satisfied upon investigation that justice does not require such proceedings; and (e) make such reports as the Attorney General shall direct. 28 U.S.C. Sec. 547.

By virtue of this grant of statutory authority and the practical realities of representing the United States throughout the country, United States Attorneys conduct most of the trial work in which the United States is a party.  In the exercise of their prosecutorial discretion, United States Attorneys construe and implement the policy of the Department of Justice. Their professional abilities and the need for their impartiality in administering justice directly affect the public’s perception of federal law enforcement.

[added February 2018]


3-1.140 United States Attorney Recusals

When United States Attorneys, or their offices, become aware of an issue that could require a recusal in a criminal or civil matter or case as a result of an actual or apparent conflict of interest, they must contact EOUSA’s General Counsel’s Office (GCO).  United States Attorneys cannot recuse themselves or their offices from cases or matters.  They must be recused by the designated Associate Deputy Attorney General.  The requirement of recusal does not arise in every instance, but only where a conflict of interest exists or there is an appearance of a loss of impartiality.

A United States Attorney who becomes aware of circumstances that might necessitate his or her recusal or that of the entire office should promptly notify GCO to discuss whether a recusal is required.  If recusal is appropriate, GCO will coordinate the recusal action, obtain necessary approvals for the recusal, and arrange for a transfer of responsibility to another office.

[added February 2018]

Updated September 19, 2018