0820 Department of Justice
Program Descriptions


Legal Services is organized into three elements: (1) Civil Law, (2) Criminal Law, and (3) Public Rights.

Civil Law represents the State of California and its officers, agencies, departments, boards, commissions, and employees in civil matters. It provides advice to these clients, defends cases brought against them and prosecutes cases to vindicate state interests. Deputy Attorneys General in Civil Law are responsible for managing and litigating cases before administrative tribunals, and in both state and federal courts at the trial level and on appeal, including appeals before the United States and California Supreme Courts. Deputies work in one of nine sections: Business and Tax; Correctional Law; Employment and Administrative Mandates; Opinion Unit; Government Law; Health, Education and Welfare; Health Quality Enforcement; Licensing; or Tort and Condemnation.

Criminal Law represents the state in criminal matters before the Appellate and Supreme courts. Criminal Law also fulfills the Attorney General's responsibilities of assisting district attorneys in cases for which they are recused, conducts criminal investigations, represents the Governor, Board of Parole Hearings, and California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation in state and federal habeas corpus cases and appeals, and other proceedings relating to parole decisions and conditions of confinement in the state prisons and defends state and federal habeas corpus matters. Additional responsibilities include enforcing the Political Reform Act, advising the Governor on extradition matters, investigating and prosecuting Medi-Cal provider fraud, investigating and prosecuting the abuse or neglect of elder and dependent adults residing in long-term health care facilities, and investigating, prosecuting, and coordinating litigation involving white-collar crime, high-tech/computer/privacy crime, and financial crimes against the elderly.

Public Rights protects and preserves the public interest by providing legal services to state agencies and Constitutional Officers and by bringing actions in the name of the Attorney General to protect the public. Public Rights provides specialized services in the following areas: Civil Rights Enforcement (including Underground Economy and the Bureau of Children's Justice); Charitable Trusts (including the Registry of Charitable Trusts); Natural Resources Law; Corporate Fraud (including False Claims and Energy and Corporate Responsibility); Indian and Gaming Law; Environment Law; Land Law; Consumer Law (including Sellers of Travel and Privacy Enforcement and Protection); Antitrust Law; and Tobacco Litigation Enforcement.


The Division of Law Enforcement is organized into five elements: (1) Bureau of Firearms, (2) Bureau of Forensic Services, (3) Bureau of Gambling Control, (4) Bureau of Investigation, and (5) the Office of the Director.

The Bureau of Firearms provides oversight, enforcement, education, and regulation of California's firearms/dangerous weapon laws by conducting firearms eligibility background checks and administering over thirty different state-mandated firearms-related programs. The Bureau conducts firearms dealer and manufacturer inspections and provides training as needed. Special Agents conduct investigations on armed and prohibited persons and other investigations resulting in the seizure of weapons. Agents also conduct firearms investigations to prevent illegal gun trafficking at in-state and out-of-state gun shows in accordance with state and federal law.

The Bureau of Forensic Services (BFS) provides evaluation and analysis of physical evidence, including crime scene investigation and expert court testimony to federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, district attorneys, and courts, by operating 11 specialized laboratories that serve 46 counties as well as a forensic training facility. BFS maintains the state DNA laboratory database which compiles DNA profiles of sex and violent offenders and felony arrestees.

The Bureau of Gambling Control regulates legal gambling activities in California to ensure gambling is conducted honestly and is free from criminal and corruptive elements. This is accomplished by investigating the qualifications of individuals and business entities who apply for state gambling licenses and monitoring the conduct of these licensees to ensure compliance with the Gambling Control Act. Furthermore, the Bureau conducts criminal investigations in, on or about Tribal casinos and California cardrooms. The Bureau also regulates Tribal gaming to ensure that each Tribe is in compliance with all aspects of the negotiated gaming compact.

The Bureau of Investigation is the premiere investigative arm that is responsible for exploiting and dismantling criminal organizations, as well as assisting with the prosecution of serious criminal offenses which present a significant and multi-jurisdictional threat to California. The Bureau prioritizes investigations related to transnational criminal organizations involved in gangs and human trafficking, as well as cases involving environmental crimes, public corruption, major fraud, underground economy, and high-technology crimes. In addition, the Bureau serves a principal role in providing leadership, coordination, and support to law enforcement through multi-agency drug, gang and major crimes task forces statewide.

The Office of the Director enhances public safety through training, technical, intelligence and administrative support to the investigative, regulatory and forensic components of the Division of Law Enforcement and other criminal justice agencies. The Office serves as the policy-making and oversight body for its four operational bureaus.


The California Justice Information Services Division provides criminal justice intelligence, information, and identification services to law enforcement, regulatory agencies, and the public. Four major functional areas carry out these primary services: 1) The Bureau of Criminal Identification & Investigative Services consolidates the identification, investigative, and field services functions, providing information and technical assistance on manual and automated systems including the fingerprint identification system and the violent crime information system; 2) The Bureau of Criminal Information and Analysis consolidates the functions related to the authorization, release, and use of criminal offender record information for law enforcement investigatory and regulatory purposes; 3) The Hawkins Data Center operates the Criminal Justice Information System and the California Law Enforcement Telecommunications System; and 4) the Operations Support Program provides business resumption planning and administrative support and oversight.


The Directorate and the Administration Division of the Department of Justice consists of the Division of Administrative Support and the Attorney General's Executive Office. The executive office maintains overall direction and administration over the diverse programs and projects of the department, including the Equal Employment Rights and Resolution Office, the Office of Program Review and Audits, the Solicitor General's Unit, the Office of Legislative Affairs, the Office of Communications and the Public Inquiry Unit. In addition, the Division of Administrative Support provides support functions essential to the department's operations, including fiscal, personnel, and specialized services such as legal secretarial support, litigation support, and legal case management services.