About the Agency

Criminal Justice Divisions

The Office of the Attorney General has five criminal justice divisions responsible for investigating and prosecuting crimes, defending state felony convictions in state and federal court, and providing benefits to victims of crime.

The Crime Victim Services Division provides services and resources to crime victims throughout Texas. The Crime Victims' Compensation Program provides reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses to eligible victims of violent crime and their families. The Sexual Assault Prevention and Crisis Services Program provides technical assistance to sexual assault programs and certifies sexual assault nurse examiners (SANE). The Division also administers the Texas VINE (VIctim Information and Notification Everyday) system.

The Criminal Investigations Division is staffed by commissioned peace officers and crime analysts who undertake a wide range of investigations and activities to support detection, prevention, and prosecution of crime. This division investigates and supports the prosecution of both violent crimes and white-collar crimes, including complex fraud crimes, Election Code violations, and public corruption matters. The division proactively investigates online child predators and child pornographers who use the Internet and computers to victimize children. The activities of the division also include locating and arresting fugitive Texas parole absconders, and arresting convicted sex offenders who have failed to comply with mandated sex offender registration requirements. The division prides itself on its strong partnerships and coordination with state, federal, and local law enforcement authorities. The division has staff located in Austin, Houston, Forth Worth, San Antonio, and El Paso.

The Criminal Prosecutions Division is staffed by prosecutors who practice in both state and federal courts in Texas. These prosecutors handle cases pursuant to the Attorney General's original criminal jurisdiction, when original jurisdiction is provided by Texas law; pursuant to concurrent criminal jurisdiction with district and county attorneys, when concurrent criminal jurisdiction is provided by Texas law; and pursuant to requests for assistance from local prosecutors and offers of assistance to local prosecutors. The division also works cooperatively with the U.S. Attorney's Offices in the four federal districts in Texas, and prosecutors in the division appear in federal court as Special Assistant United States Attorneys. The division consists of four teams of lawyers and subject matter experts in the areas of Violent Crime and Major Offenders, Cyber Crime and Child Protection, White Collar Crime and Public Integrity, and Juvenile Crime Intervention.

The White Collar Crime and Public Integrity Section is also responsible to act as the Attorney General's liaison to the Texas Residential Mortgage Fraud Task Force. The Texas Legislature created this task force and entrusted the Attorney General with coordinating efforts of numerous state and federal agencies to share information and cooperate in the efforts of investigation and prosecution of mortgage fraud throughout the State.

The Medicaid Fraud Control Unit conducts criminal investigations and prosecutions of Medicaid providers who are suspected of committing fraud against the Medicaid program. The Unit also investigates allegations of physical abuse and neglect in nursing homes that receive Medicaid funding. The Unit employs investigators and auditors who conduct investigations and assist in the prosecution of Medicaid providers who defraud the system or abuse the elderly. The Unit also employs prosecutors who represent the State of Texas or the United States in state and federal courts throughout Texas. The Unit has its administrative headquarters and an investigative team in Austin, and eleven other investigative teams in eight field offices across Texas.

The Criminal Appeals Division defends state felony convictions and sentences against constitutional challenge in federal court. The division's attorneys, representing the Director of the Correctional Institutions Division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (the inmates' custodian), provide briefing and argument to the federal courts that hear these challenges. The division's attorneys and staff also investigate cases, including thorough review of the record from state court proceedings, and conduct evidentiary hearings when warranted in a case. The division's attorneys appear regularly in federal district courts throughout Texas, in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and the Supreme Court of the United States. Capital litigation attorneys handle petitions for certiorari review on direct appeal from the Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas and federal habeas corpus challenges from the federal district court through the Supreme Court.