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>>

  • Organization Tracks Shark in Isle of Wight Bay

    Organization Tracks Shark in Isle of Wight Bay

    Friday, August 1 2014 7:30 PM EDT2014-08-01 23:30:14 GMT
    The non-profit organization OCEARH, which tracks sharks all around the world, located one of its tagged tiger sharks in the Isle of Wight Bay on Friday.  The shark is nearly 13 feet long and weighs roughly 1,000 pounds but researchers believe it is not something people should be worried about.More
    The non-profit organization OCEARH, which tracks sharks all around the world, located one of its tagged tiger sharks in the Isle of Wight Bay on Friday.  The shark is nearly 13 feet long and weighs roughly 1,000 pounds but researchers believe it is not something people should be worried about.More
  • Jusst Sooup Closes Doors

    Jusst Sooup Closes Doors

    Friday, August 1 2014 5:55 PM EDT2014-08-01 21:55:49 GMT
    2011 was supposed to be a year of dreams coming true for Jusst Sooup, a local organization that helps feed the homeless in the Rehoboth Beach area. They were featured in a Thanksgiving special by the television program, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.More
    2011 was supposed to be a year of dreams coming true for Jusst Sooup, a local organization that helps feed the homeless in the Rehoboth Beach area. They were featured in a Thanksgiving special by the television program, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.More
  • HALO to Open Men's Shelter in Salisbury

    HALO to Open Men's Shelter in Salisbury

    Friday, August 1 2014 5:29 PM EDT2014-08-01 21:29:33 GMT
    Hope and Life Outreach, or HALO, started back in 2004 as a homeless ministry. It quickly grew, adding a shelter for women and children in Salisbury. But the need has been growing, too, which is why HALO is now working on opening a men's shelter.More
    Hope and Life Outreach, or HALO, started back in 2004 as a homeless ministry. It quickly grew, adding a shelter for women and children in Salisbury. But the need has been growing, too, which is why HALO is now working on opening a men's shelter.More
  • Most Popular VideosMost Popular VideosMore>>

  • Mobile Features and Text Alerts

    Mobile Features and Text Alerts

  • NRP Cracking Down on Crabbers

    NRP Cracking Down on Crabbers

    It has been known to happen in the past. Sometimes people catch crabs under the state's size limit and keep them. Now, the natural resources police is stepping up enforcement to make sure that if you break the law, you're going to pay for it.

    More

    It has been known to happen in the past. Sometimes people catch crabs under the state's size limit and keep them. Now, the natural resources police is stepping up enforcement to make sure that if you break the law, you're going to pay for it.

    More
  • Trimper's Rides Being Sued

    Trimper's Rides Being Sued

     The Ocean City amusement park is being sued after an accident on a ride left a two year old boy with a traumatic brain injury two years ago.

    More

     The Ocean City amusement park is being sued after an accident on a ride left a two year old boy with a traumatic brain injury two years ago.

    More
Powered by WorldNow

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and WBOC. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service