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 the advice and consent of the United States Senate. One United States Attorney is assigned to each of the 94 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.
United States Attorneys conduct most of the trial work in which the United States is a party. The United States Attorneys have three statutory responsibilities under Title 28, Section 547 of the United States Code:
- the prosecution of criminal cases brought by the Federal Government;
- the prosecution and defense of civil cases in which the United States is a party; and
- the collection of debts owed the Federal Government which are administratively uncollectible.
Although the distribution of caseload varies between districts, each U.S. Attorney’s Office deals with every category of cases and handles a mixture of simple and complex litigation. Each United States Attorney exercises wide discretion in the use of his/her resources to further the priorities of the local jurisdictions and needs of their communities.