The Myth of the Sheriff…

Some people have ‘argued’ that the Sheriff in our nation holds a special role. The court in Delaware found that historically speaking the role was in support of the court and involved the delivery of subpoenas and other administrative work. Any law enforcement roles were merely incidental. A good historical overview is given of the role of the Sheriff.

Because the common law arrest power of a sheriff was not fundamental, but was merely incidental, to his role as a “conservator of the peace” when the 1776, 1792, 1831, and 1897 Delaware Constitutions were adopted, the arrest power can be modified or even eliminated by statute. Therefore, the judgment of the Superior Court is affirmed on that basis.

Source: Christopher v Sussex County, decided, October 7, 2013


2 thoughts on “The Myth of the Sheriff…

  1. > Some people have ‘argued’ that the Sheriff in our nation holds a special role.

    Does that come from the SovCit movement?
    As far as I understood, their logic is that since the main authority is the people, authority dwindles the higher up in the pyramid you go (as opposed to the other way around), therefore the sheriff, being closest to the people, has the “highest authority” in law enforcement (and consequently the USAG the lowest).
    For some, this may be something coming from their core beliefs, but at least for birthers, it seems to be motivated only by wishful thinking since the best they got was find a handful of sheriffs willing to support their cause. Styling this up as “the highest law enforcement authority in the country agrees with us” is typical crank MO.

  2. The idea is that since the Sheriff is a constitutional entity, they have somehow more power than regular police and their role cannot be limited. Of course, that’s wrong for many reasons but the myth continues. They even believe that a Sheriff can somehow call together a ‘grand jury’ with no further authority.

    All because the ‘people’ want to be in control and persecute/prosecute people they do not like.

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