Luther A. Buckner – Democrat, Elected


  • NVStateCapitalNevada State Capital Building, 1875 – Public Domain

3rd Nevada Attorney General
Term:  January 2, 1871 - January 6, 1875

Biography

Luther A. Buckner, born in 1848 to a prominent Kentucky family, came to California in 1854.  He later moved to Humboldt County, Nevada, in 1862, and gained admittance to the Nevada State Bar on January 9, 1871.[1]

Election of 1870

Elected as Nevada’s third Attorney General on November 8, 1870, Buckner received 6,650 (50.1%) of the 13,272 votes cast, and W. Campbell (Republican) received 6,622 (49.9%) votes[2].  In the closest attorney general race in Nevada’s history, Buckner won the race by only 28 votes.

Office Administration and Duties

During Buckner’s term, workers finished building the State Capitol, and in 1871, Buckner, along with other Nevada state constitutional officers, moved into the newly-constructed building.[3]  According to the original building plans and other sources, “[t]he Attorney General ha[d] the two rooms comprising the south-half of the west wing (first floor).”[4]  Today, these offices are occupied by the Nevada Secretary of State.

Buckner had no deputies or other support staff according to the Nevada Attorney General’s Office budgets for the 1871–1873 and 1873–1875 state biennial fiscal periods:

1871–1873 Budget

$5,500 

  

$5,000

Attorney General’s Salary

  

$   500

For postage, expressage, and contingent expenses of Attorney General’s Office

 

1873–1875 Budget

$5,000 

  

$5,000

Attorney General’s Salary

  

  

 

Other office expenses such as postage, expressage, and contingent expenses were taken out of a general expense appropriation 

In addition to his regular duties as Attorney General, Buckner served as a member of the Nevada Board of Examiners, Board of State Prison Commissioners, Parole Board, and the Board of Directors for the Nevada State Library.  He also provided oversight to the various toll road franchises, granted in the Washoe City, Carson City, Virginia City, Steamboat, and Dayton areas.

The 1873 Nevada State Statutes (Statutes of Nevada, Chapter L, p. 111) mark the first time the Nevada Attorney General received another job description and salary—President of the Board of Directors of the Nevada State Library for an additional $100 per month for a salary.  However, according to the 1873 general appropriations, he only received a salary of $2,000 per year.[5]

In 1873, the Nevada State Legislature directed the Attorney General to provide legal assistance to the Nevada State Orphans Home to “[s]ue out a writ of habeas corpus to recover and detain escaping orphans from such home.”[6]

 


[1] Nevada Reports, Number 22, p. 11.
[2] Political History of Nevada, 2006, page 355.
[3] By mid-February (1871), Governor L. R. Bradley moved in, and by May 1, 1871, construction on the Capitol building was completed; however, the Capitol Commissioners did not officially accept the building until August 26, 1871.  The Architecture of the Nevada State Capitol, Robert A. Nylen, Curator of History, Nevada State Museum, page 3.
[4] The Daily State Register, Carson City, Nevada; Nevada State Capitol Completed and Accepted; The Architecture of the Nevada State Capitol, Robert A. Nylen, Curator of History, Nevada State Museum, p. 20.
[5] Statutes of Nevada, 1873, Chapter L, page 111, states that the Nevada Attorney General also is to be the President of the Board of Directors of the Nevada State Library at a salary of $100 per month (or $1,200 annually).  However, Chapter LXXI, page 135 of the 1873 Statutes of Nevada (the general state appropriations bill), states that the Nevada Attorney General as President of the Board of Directors of the State Library shall receive a salary of $2,000 annually.  It is unclear as to why there is an $800 annual, salary discrepancy.
[6] Statutes of Nevada, 1873, Chapter XLV, Page 105.

    Page Last Updated:3/7/2016