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>>

  • 3 Wicomico County Businesses Cited for Underage Alcohol Sales

    3 Wicomico County Businesses Cited for Underage Alcohol Sales

    Apr 19, 2018 2:35 PM2018-04-19 18:35:00 GMT
    Thursday, April 19 2018 2:36 PM EDT2018-04-19 18:36:31 GMT
    Authorities say a routine compliance check conducted Thursday by the Wicomico County Alcohol Task Force resulted in three businesses being cited for selling alcohol to underage buyers.More
    Authorities say a routine compliance check conducted Thursday by the Wicomico County Alcohol Task Force resulted in three businesses being cited for selling alcohol to underage buyers.  More
  • Maryland Bill Seeks Transparency in Online Political Ads

    Maryland Bill Seeks Transparency in Online Political Ads

    Apr 19, 2018 1:59 PM2018-04-19 17:59:00 GMT
    Thursday, April 19 2018 1:59 PM EDT2018-04-19 17:59:17 GMT
     Maryland Del. Alonzo Washington, D-Prince George Co., who sponsored legislation in Maryland to increase transparency in online political ads, sits in his seat in the Maryland House of Delegates, in Annapolis. (Photo: AP) Maryland Del. Alonzo Washington, D-Prince George Co., who sponsored legislation in Maryland to increase transparency in online political ads, sits in his seat in the Maryland House of Delegates, in Annapolis. (Photo: AP)
    Maryland Del. Alonzo Washington, D-Prince George Co., who sponsored legislation in Maryland to increase transparency in online political ads, sits in his seat in the Maryland House of Delegates, in Annapolis. (Photo: AP)Maryland Del. Alonzo Washington, D-Prince George Co., who sponsored legislation in Maryland to increase transparency in online political ads, sits in his seat in the Maryland House of Delegates, in Annapolis. (Photo: AP)
    Maryland is close to enacting a law that some experts say would set a new standard for how states deal with foreign interference in local elections and increase overall transparency in online political ads.More
    Maryland is close to enacting a law that some experts say would set a new standard for how states deal with foreign interference in local elections and increase overall transparency in online political ads.
    More
  • Police: Woman Assaults Dover Wawa Employees Over Bad Sandwich

    Woman Assaults Dover Wawa Employees Over Bad Sandwich

    Apr 19, 2018 12:20 PM2018-04-19 16:20:00 GMT
    Thursday, April 19 2018 1:12 PM EDT2018-04-19 17:12:59 GMT
    Tiffany EvansTiffany Evans
    Tiffany EvansTiffany Evans
    Police say a woman assaulted convenience store workers with pepper spray and hot coffee over a botched sandwich order.More
    Police say a woman assaulted convenience store workers with pepper spray and hot coffee over a botched sandwich order.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