Sheriff's Bill Passes Del. House, Sussex Sheriff Files Lawsuit - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Sheriff's Bill Passes Del. House, Sussex Sheriff Files Lawsuit

Posted:
Sussex County Jeffrey Christopher Sussex County Jeffrey Christopher

GEORGETOWN, Del. - A measure that would explicitly prohibit Delaware sheriffs from making arrests has passed the state House.

Representatives passed the bill on Thursday by a vote of 36-2. The measure heads to the state Senate.

The bill is related to an on-going debate between Sussex County Sheriff Jeff Christopher and the county administration.

Delaware sheriffs traditionally conduct foreclosure sales and deliver court papers. Christopher believes the state constitution makes him a law enforcement officer. The county disagrees, pointing to opinions from the Attorney General's office stating the sheriff is not law enforcement.

On Wednesday, Christopher filed a lawsuit against the county council and the county administrator asking the Superior Court to uphold his argument. Court records show Christopher is asking for declaratory judgment. In the filing, Christopher requested the court rule that the sheriff is the chief law enforcement officer in the county.

"I'd like to have declaratory judgment on what the role of the sheriff should be in so much as how the law describes it," Christopher said in a December interview.

In a telephone interview Thursday, Christopher said the lawsuit was filed with advice of his attorneys.

"I think this will settle the matter once and for all," said Eric Bodenweiser, a sheriff supporter who has followed the issue. "We need a court case that would settle the matter."

The county administration vowed to stand its ground, expressing hope a court case might end the dispute.

"We stand firm in our position that the sheriff is not law enforcement and we look forward to having this case addressed in the courts," said Sussex County Administrator Todd Lawson.

Lawson said the lawsuit was not unexpected.

"We knew this would end up in court someday. We're just waiting for clarity and a resolution. If this gets us there, we're happy to see it," Lawson said.

It's unclear when court proceedings could begin. Early indications are attorneys would argue the case through legal briefs, not a trial.

Meanwhile, a resolution in the state house asking the Delaware Supreme Court to weigh in on the matter was tabled this week.

  • Delmarvawide NewsDelmarvawide NewsMore>>

  • Payment Card Felony Prompts Search by Lewes Police

    Payment Card Felony Prompts Search by Lewes Police

    Jan 20, 2018 6:37 PM2018-01-20 23:37:00 GMT
    Saturday, January 20 2018 8:06 PM EST2018-01-21 01:06:15 GMT
    Lewes police are searching for a suspect wanted for one felony count of unlawful use of a payment card over $1,500.More
    Lewes police are searching for a suspect wanted for one felony count of unlawful use of a payment card over $1,500.  More
  • Man Arrested in Connection to Vehicle Thefts

    Man Arrested in Connection to Vehicle Thefts

    Jan 20, 2018 6:49 PM2018-01-20 23:49:00 GMT
    Saturday, January 20 2018 6:49 PM EST2018-01-20 23:49:18 GMT
    Delaware State Police have arrested a Dover man in connection with three motor vehicle thefts in the High Point Mobile Home Park area.More
    Delaware State Police have arrested a Dover man in connection with three motor vehicle thefts in the High Point Mobile Home Park area.More
  • Plans Being Made for Arts and Entertainment District in Crisfield

    Plans Being Made for Arts and Entertainment District in Crisfield

    Jan 20, 2018 5:40 PM2018-01-20 22:40:00 GMT
    Saturday, January 20 2018 5:40 PM EST2018-01-20 22:40:40 GMT
    Crisfield, Md.- The arts are fighting to come alive in Downtown Crisfield. You may not realize if you're just passing through, but painters, musicians, sculptors, and other artists are all waiting to show off their work. And showing off that work could soMore
    Crisfield, Md.- The arts are fighting to come alive in Downtown Crisfield. You may not realize if you're just passing through, but painters, musicians, sculptors, and other artists are all waiting to show off their work. And showing off that work could soMore
  • Most Popular VideosMost Popular VideosMore>>

  • Salisbury Zoo Introduces Pinocchio the Bear to the Public

    Salisbury Zoo Introduces Pinocchio the Bear to the Public

    Today's the day many people along Delmarva's peninsula have waited months for. Pinocchio the Andean Bear made his debut at the Salisbury Zoo. And WBOC's Caroline Coles was there as Pinocchio adjusted to his new life here in Salisbury.

    More

    Today's the day many people along Delmarva's peninsula have waited months for. Pinocchio the Andean Bear made his debut at the Salisbury Zoo. And WBOC's Caroline Coles was there as Pinocchio adjusted to his new life here in Salisbury.

    More
  • Ocean City Responds to Lawsuit Against Topless Ordinance

    Ocean City Responds to Lawsuit Against Topless Ordinance

    The town of Ocean City is at the center of a new lawsuit that challenges an ordinance that prohibits women from being topless in public. 

    Five plaintiffs want to go topless on the beach and their lawyer says the town's ordinance violates the 14th amendment.

    More

    The town of Ocean City is at the center of a new lawsuit that challenges an ordinance that prohibits women from being topless in public. 

    Five plaintiffs want to go topless on the beach and their lawyer says the town's ordinance violates the 14th amendment.

    More
  • Payment Card Felony Prompts Search by Lewes Police

    Payment Card Felony Prompts Search by Lewes Police

    Lewes police are searching for a suspect wanted for one felony count of unlawful use of a payment card over $1,500. The suspect is identified as Cameron L. Powell, according to the Lewis Police Department. Powell, reportedly, has used an unauthorized business credit card at multiple Sussex County locations.

    More

    Lewes police are searching for a suspect wanted for one felony count of unlawful use of a payment card over $1,500. The suspect is identified as Cameron L. Powell, according to the Lewis Police Department. Powell, reportedly, has used an unauthorized business credit card at multiple Sussex County locations.

    More
Powered by Frankly

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 WBOC. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices