Medicolegal Officers

A medicolegal officer can be a coroner or medical examiner. In either case, the medicolegal officer is responsible for leading an investigation to determine the circumstances under which someone died. The resources on this page describe how states and the District of Columbia choose medicolegal officers.

  • Appointed medical examiner and/or coroner: 23 states and DC
  • Elected coroners, appointed medical examiners: 11 states
  • Mixture of elected and appointed coroners: 4 states
  • Mixture of elected and appointed medical examiners: 12 states

Medicolegal Official Elected or Appointed Notes

The chief of police or his authorized subordinate of the counties of Hawaii, Maui, and Kauai, and the medical examiner of the city and county of Honolulu, shall, ex officio, be the coroner for his respective county. Haw. Rev. Stat. § 841-1.

Coroners are elected and appointed medical examiner or medical examiner investigator after successful completion of training. Miss. Code. Ann. § 41-61-57.

Elected county attorney shall perform all of the duties enjoined by law upon the county coroner and the county attorney shall be the ex officio county coroner. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 23-1210.

North Dakota
In counties adopting any form of county managership, the office of coroner shall be abolished. The functions of that office shall be performed by the county manager in counties adopting a short form of county managership, and in counties adopting a county manager form of government, by the sheriff. If there is a conflict or inconsistency between the functions of the coroner and the sheriff, the duties of the coroner shall be performed by the state’s attorney. N.D. Cent. Code Ann. § 11-09-27.

South Carolina
May have appointed medical examiners in addition to elected coroners. S.C. Code Ann. § 17-5-220; S.C. Code Ann. § 17-5-230; S.C. Code Ann. § 17-5-510.

Elected justice of the peace performs duties of coroner. Tex. Crim. Proc. Code Ann. art. 49.04.