How Much Power Should Sheriffs Have?

State court to hear arguments over sheriff powers

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Delaware's Supreme Court says it will hear oral arguments in an appeal by the Sussex County sheriff of a court ruling that Delaware sheriffs do not have police powers.

    In a letter to attorneys late last week, the court said all five justices will hear arguments on Sept. 11.

    Sheriff Jeff Christopher argues that he is embodied with police powers by Delaware's constitution, which names sheriffs, along with other officials, as “conservators of the peace.”

    But a Superior Court judge ruled in March that the constitution does not enumerate any powers for sheriffs, and that courts have used common law to define such powers.

    The judge said the General Assembly was within its powers in passing a law last year barring sheriffs and their deputies in Delaware from making arrests.

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