John K. Alexander - Republican, Elected


  • JKAlexanderJohn F. Alexander - Nevada Historical Society

7th Nevada Attorney General
Term:  January 3, 1887 - January 5, 1891

Biography

John K. Alexander, born in 1853 in Iowa, moved to Nevada with his family in 1859 and settled in Virginia City.  In 1875, he graduated from the California State University of Agriculture but did not go into farming.  On April 4, 1881[1], after his admittance to the Nevada State Bar, Alexander entered law practice with W.M. Boardman, a then-distinguished attorney and Washoe County District Attorney in Reno, Nevada.  Alexander became District Attorney for Washoe County both in 1882 and 1884.[2]

Election of 1886

Elected as Nevada’s seventh Attorney General on November 3, 1886, Alexander (Republican) received 6,857 (55.5%) of the 12,350 votes cast, and J.F. Boller (Democrat) received 5,493 (44.5) votes.[3]

Office Administration and Duties

Alexander had no deputies or other support staff according to the Nevada Attorney General’s budgets for the 1887–1889 and 1889–1891 state biennial fiscal periods:

1887–1889 Budget

$6,000

 

$6,000

Attorney General’s Salary

 

 

Office expenses came from an appropriation “[f]or a current expense appropriation, to defray the telegraphic, postage, and contingent expenses of the several state officers, Supreme Court, and State Library, to be expended under the direction of the Lieutenant Governor, State Controller, and Secretary of State, $6,000”

1889–1891 Budget

$6,000

 

$6,000

Attorney General’s Salary

 

 

Office expenses came from an appropriation “[f]or a current expense appropriation, to defray the telegraphic, postage, and contingent expenses of the several state officers, Supreme Court, and State Library, to be expended under the direction of the Lieutenant Governor, State Controller, and Secretary of State, $6,000”

Although the 1887 Nevada State Legislature did not add any additional duties for the Attorney General, the 1889 Legislature required him to receive, review, correlate, and analyze reports submitted to him by various district attorneys and courts.  

Section 1.  That on the first day of December, one thousand eight hundred and ninety, and annually at said date thereafter, the several District Attorneys or other person charged by law with the prosecution of criminals, shall make a report in writing to the Attorney-General, stating the number and character of prosecutions for the year ending on the first day of November proceeding the date aforesaid within the territory embraced in the limits of the office for which the reports are made, respectively; the number of persons convicted, and the average punishment on conviction; the number of persons acquitted, or as to whom prosecutions were abated or dismissed, and the number of prosecutions pending at the end of time covered by report; also the costs of such prosecutions to each county, and the amount of fines paid therein.  Within sixty days after the sentence of any person to the State Prison, the District Attorney who prosecuted said person shall make a written statement of the facts and circumstances connected with the commission of the crime for which the person stands convicted, as shown by the evidence upon the trial thereof, and deliver said statement to the District Judge who presided at the trial of said cause.  Said Judge shall within thirty days thereafter correct said statement according to the facts and testimony; and, after certifying that said statement is a correct statement of the substance of the testimony introduced upon the trial of said action, said Judge shall forward the same to the Attorney-General.  Upon receipt of said statement the Attorney-General shall file the same in this office, and shall not permit the same to be taken there from, except at the request of the Board of Pardons, or a member thereof.  Said statement shall be considered by the Board of Pardons as prima facie evidence of the matter therein contained.

Sec. 2.  Be it further enacted that any District Attorney or other person charged by law with the prosecution of criminals, who fails to make a full report or statement, as and within the time required by section one of this Act, shall forfeit to the State of Nevada, the sum of one hundred dollars, to be recovered on motion of the Attorney-General in the district in and for the proper county, on ten days notice of such motion.

(Statutes of Nevada, 1889, Chapter LIV, pages 54–55).

From the enactment of the statute in 1889 to its repeal on January 27, 1923,[4] the required reports from the various District Attorneys routinely were included in the Attorney General’s Annual Reports.


[1] Nevada Reports, Number 22, p. 10.
[2] Nevada Historical Society Quarterly, Volume XXVII, Spring 1984, Number 1, pp. 18-19.
[3] Political History of Nevada, 2006, p. 359.
[4] Statutes of Nevada, Chapter 2, p. 1 (Approved on January 27, 1923).

    Page Last Updated:3/7/2016