3rd Nevada Attorney General
Term: January 2, 1871 - January 6,
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.
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.
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.
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
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:
Attorney General’s Salary
For postage, expressage, and contingent expenses of Attorney General’s
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.
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.”
Reports, Number 22, p. 11.
History of Nevada, 2006, page 355.
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.
 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.
 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.
 Statutes of
Nevada, 1873, Chapter XLV, Page 105.