The Department of Law serves as legal advisor to the County Executive, and departments, agencies, and officers of the Harford County Executive Branch. Headed by the County Attorney, the Department of Law is responsible for prosecuting and defending all civil suits and administrative hearings (County Charter, Art. IV, sec. 403).


For indigent defendants in Harford County, the District Public Defender provides legal representation, including related necessary services and facilities. The District Public Defender assures effective assistance and continuity of counsel to indigent accused taken into custody and indigent defendants in criminal and juvenile proceedings before Maryland courts (Code Criminal Procedure Article, secs. 16-201 through 16-213).


Starting in 1818, duties of the State's Attorney were first carried out by the District Attorney (Chapter 146, Acts of 1817 December session). Appointed by the Governor in each judicial district, the District Attorney prosecuted cases on behalf of the State. By 1821, the District Attorney was renamed the Deputy Attorney and was appointed by the Attorney General (Chapter 126, Acts of 1821 December session).

The office of State's Attorney was first authorized in 1851 (Constitution of 1851, Art. V, secs. 1-5). The State's Attorney prosecutes and defends, on the part of the State, all cases in Harford County in which the State may be interested (Code Criminal Procedure Article, secs. 15-101 through 15-109, 15-413).

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