ATTORNEY GENERAL


[photograph of Attorney General Curran] J. JOSEPH CURRAN, JR., Attorney General (Democrat)



J. Joseph Curran, Jr., Attorney General since 1987.

Member, House of Delegates, 1959-63. Member, Banking, Insurance and Social Security Committee; Education Committee.

Member, State Senate, 1963-83. Chair, Public Utilities Committee, 1963-66. Member, Banking and Insurance Committee; City Senators Committee; Education Committee (vice-chair); Executive Nominations Committee; Judicial Proceedings Committee; Motor Vehicles Committee; Veterans and Civil Defense Committee; Committee on Taxation and Fiscal Matters, 1965; Legislative Liaison Committee for the Constitutional Convention, 1967-68; Rules Committee, 1967-74; Legislative Policy Committee (formerly Legislative Council), 1967-83. Chair, Judicial Proceedings Committee, 1967-83.

Vice-Chair, Maryland Higher Education Loan Corporation, 1963-92. Member, Maryland Cuban Refugee Resettlement Committee, 1963-65; Regional Planning Council, 1963-83; Maryland Highway Safety Coordinating Committee, 1972-83; Governor's Commission to Study Sovereign Immunity, 1975-76; Task Force to Study Circuit Court Unification, 1976-77; Task Force on Crime, 1976-77; Governor's Commission on Domestic Relations Laws, 1976-86; Task Force on Public Safety and Correctional Services, 1980; Commission to Study the Judicial Branch of Government, 1981-82. Chair, Task Force to Review the Defense of Insanity, 1982-85.

Lieutenant Governor, 1983-87. Member, Governor's Executive Council, 1983-87. Chair, Committee to Study Flexibility for Higher Education, 1983-84. Member, State Development Council, 1983-84. Chair, Task Force on the Drinking Driver, 1983-86. Vice-Chair, Maryland Council on the Economy, Environment, and Energy Production, 1983-87. Chair, Task Force on Victims' Services, 1984-85; Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, 1984-87; Liability Insurance Task Force, 1985. Member, Joint Executive-Legislative Task Force on Medical Malpractice Insurance, 1985; Task Force on Mentally Ill Offenders, 1985-86. Chair, State Trade Policy Council, 1985-87; Governor's Oversight Committee on Liability Insurance, 1986.

Attorney General, 1987-. Member, Governor's Executive Council, 1987-; State's Attorneys' Coordination Council, 1987-92; Governor's Advisory Board for Justice Administration (formerly Governor's Advisory Board for Justice Assistance), 1987-95; Board of State Canvassers, 1987-; Commission on Correctional Standards, 1987-; Correctional Training Commission, 1987-; Criminal Justice Information Advisory Board, 1987-; Police Training Commission, 1987-; Maryland State Employees Surety Bond Committee, 1987-; State Prosecutor Selection and Disabilities Commission, 1987-. Chair, State Board of Victim Services, 1988-92. Member, Governor's Drug and Alcohol Abuse Commission, 1989-95.

Co-Chair, Family Violence Council, 1995-. Member, Governor's Commission on Adoption, 1995; Task Force to Study Anti-Asian Violence, 1995-98; Cabinet Council on Criminal and Juvenile Justice, 1995-; State Board of Victim Services, 1995-; Governor's Task Force on Children, Youth, and Families Systems Reform, 1996; Maryland Commission on Criminal Sentencing Policy, 1996-99; Commission to Review Landlord-Tenant Laws, 1998; Maryland Alternative Dispute Resolution Commission, 1998-; Commission on Juvenile Justice Jurisdiction, 1998-; State Commission on Criminal Sentencing Policy, 1999-; Safe Schools Interagency Steering Committee, 1999-. Honorary Co-Chair, Task Force to Conquer Cancer in Maryland, 1999; Task Force to End Smoking in Maryland, 1999.

Born in West Palm Beach, Florida, July 7, 1931. Attended Baltimore parochial schools; Loyola High School; University of Baltimore. Served in U.S. Air Force, 1951-55. University of Baltimore School of Law, LL.B., 1959. Admitted to Maryland Bar, 1959. Attorney. Delegate, Democratic Party National Convention, 1992, 1996. Distinguished Service Award, Mental Health Association of Maryland, 1989. Special Achievement Award, Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence, 1989. Pro Bono Award, Maryland's Volunteer Lawyers Service, 1990. Elected Official of the Year, Young Democrats of Maryland, 1990. Achievement Award, American Cancer Society, 1991, 1995. Award of Appreciation, State Board of Victim Services, 1992. Certificate of Appreciation, House of Ruth, 1995, 1997. Lawmaker of the Year, American Heart Association, 1995-96. Advocate of the Year Award, Smoke Free Maryland, 1997. Jack Lodge Award (commitment to protecting Maryland's citizens from the tobacco industry), 1997. Outstanding Leadership Award, Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence, 1997. Breath of Life Award, American Lung Association of Maryland, 1999. Married; five children.


J. JOSEPH CURRAN, JR.

J. Joseph Curran, Jr., Attorney General of Maryland since 1987, was born in West Palm Beach, Florida, on July 7, 1931. He attended Baltimore parochial schools, Loyola High School, the University of Baltimore, and the University of Baltimore School of Law (LL.B., 1959). Mr. Curran served in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean conflict, with duty in Japan and Korea.

In 1986, Mr. Curran was elected Attorney General after serving four years as Lieutenant Governor with Governor Harry R. Hughes. In 1990, 1994, and 1998, he won re-election. Under Mr. Curran, the Attorney General's Office has been a national leader in consumer protection, criminal investigations, Medicaid fraud prosecution, securities regulation and antitrust enforcement. During his tenure, for the first time in State history, defendants have been sentenced solely for committing environmental crimes.

In a landmark 1990 case, Maryland v. Craig, Attorney General Curran successfully urged the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold Maryland's law permitting victims of child abuse to testify via one-way television.

From 1993 to 1994, Mr. Curran played a leading role in a number of controversial issues. He supported Maryland's first workplace ban on smoking as well as efforts to improve judicial accountability, and legislation to prevent criminals from profiting from their crimes. His 1996 report, "Tune it Out: Media Violence, Children, and Crime," concluded that media violence is responsible for approximately 15% of all juvenile crime. Following that report, the Attorney General's Office issued more than 600,000 media violence diaries, interactive tools that enable parents to monitor their children's exposure to media violence. In 1998, Mr. Curran was instrumental in finalizing Maryland's settlement with the tobacco industry, gaining for the State $4.4 billion to save lives and stop teenage cigarette smoking.

Long a proponent of sensible gun-control laws, Mr. Curran helped lead the successful 1986 handgun referendum to ban over-the-counter sales of so-called Saturday-night specials in Maryland. He continues to be a vocal leader on this issue. In October 1999, he released his report, "A Farewell to Arms," calling for unprecedented restrictions on the ownership of handguns in Maryland.

Under Mr. Curran, the Attorney General's Office is one of the country's best. Since 1986, Maryland has been awarded more than $22 million in restitution and fines from over 162 criminal convictions by the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit for fraud and patient abuse. In 1992, Maryland received national attention as the first state successfully to prosecute a physician for criminal neglect of nursing-home patients. In 1993, the Office, along with attorneys general from other states, prevailed in the Supreme Court in a major antitrust case against insurance companies. Under Mr. Curran's direction, the Criminal Investigations Division obtained fines and restitution of more than $13 million and put behind bars 97 defendants, including suspected or convicted drug dealers prosecuted for not paying State taxes on their income from drug trafficking. The Consumer Protection Division also has obtained several million dollars in restitution and fines. Within the Division, the Health Education and Advocacy Unit alone has recovered nearly $420,000 for consumers by resolving billing disputes, and securing medical services from health insurance companies and HMOs. The Securities Division has initiated about 400 disciplinary actions each year against stockbrokers and investment advisers. The Division also has implemented the country's most comprehensive regulatory plan for investment advisers. The Antitrust Division has obtained criminal convictions of numerous persons and businesses for rigging bids in State construction and asbestos abatement contracts. It also thwarted a price-fixing agreement among Baltimore area pharmacies to raise prescription costs for HMO subscribers. With the Attorney General's Office, Mr. Curran established an in-house continuing education program; encouraged assistant attorneys general to handle pro bono cases; and has recovered millions of dollars for the State in various cases, including those involving the insurance and cable industries.

Attorney General Curran began his career in public service in 1958, elected to the House of Delegates as a law student. In 1962, he was elected to the State Senate. During this time, despite angry demonstrators picketing his home, he advocated open housing laws for Maryland. In 1967, Mr. Curran became chair of the Judicial Proceedings Committee and held that position for sixteen years.

In the General Assembly, Mr. Curran sponsored or fought for significant bills, including those creating the Court of Special Appeals and the District Court system. He consistently supported bills to improve the courts and the corrections system, toughen drunk-driving laws, guarantee equal rights, and require handgun permits. He also worked to modernize Maryland's divorce and alimony laws, reform adoption and guardianship, and protect victims of domestic violence.

Mr. Curran is married to the former Barbara Marie Atkins. They are the parents of five children, Mary Carole, Alice, Catherine, J. Joseph III (Max), and William (deceased). The Currans reside in the Homeland section of Baltimore.

Maryland Constitutional Offices & Agencies
Maryland Government
Maryland & the Federal Government
Governor's Coordinating Offices
Maryland Departments
Maryland Independent Agencies
Maryland Executive Commissions, Committees, Task Forces, & Advisory Boards
Maryland at a Glance


Maryland Manual On-Line

 Maryland Manual On-Line, 2000

July 18, 2000   
Note: In this past edition of Maryland Manual, some links are to external sites.  View the current Manual


[ Archives' Home Page  ||  All About Maryland  ||  Maryland Manual On-Line  ||  Reference & Research
||  Search the Archives   ||  Education & Outreach  ||  Archives of Maryland Online ]

Governor     General Assembly    Judiciary     Maryland.Gov

Copyright July 18, 2000 Maryland State Archives