Duties and /or Mission

County Attorney’s are unique among all the positions within county government as it is the only position provided for by the Constitution of the State of Iowa.  All other positions are products of legislation.

The primary responsibility of the County Attorney’s Office is to prosecute individuals who violate the law.  The Palo Alto County Attorney’s Office prosecutes all state law violations that occur within Palo Alto County.  All law enforcement agencies working with Palo Alto County forward all criminal state law violations to the Palo Alto County Attorney’s Office for review and prosecution.

The County Attorney also provides legal advice to county department heads and elected officials and acts as the legal representative for the county in civil court cases.

The County Attorney does not-

  • represent individuals or private groups in law suits (including dissolution of marriages or custody proceedings)
  • provide legal advice for individuals or private groups on any issue
  • prepare wills, deeds, trusts, or other legal documents for individuals or private groups
  • investigate crimes, complaints, or child abuse.

To see all the duties of the county attorney, please click here.

Watch Seeking Justice (a six minute video briefly describing the goals and responsibilities of the  County Attorney; the important role the County Attorney has in the criminal justice system and the nature of that role).


Crime Victims

Contact Information

Palo Alto County Attorney’s Office
2105 Main St Ste 101
Emmetsburg IA 50536Phone (712) 852-3267
Fax (712)852-2023

8 a.m. - 4 p.m. Monday-Friday
Closed Weekends and Holidays

Ann Quail-  County Attorney

Sam Lyon- Assistant County Attorney


Stephanie Hudson- Collections Asst./Victim Services

Margaret Drost- Legal Secretary/Victim Services