Judge says Del. sheriffs don't have arrest powers

A Delaware judge has ruled that the state constitution does not give police powers to county sheriffs.

Tuesday's ruling by Superior Court Judge Henley Graves came in a lawsuit filed by the Sussex County sheriff against state and county officials.

Sheriff Jeff Christopher argued that he is embodied with police powers by the state constitution, which names sheriffs, along with other officials, as "conservators of the peace."

But Graves agreed with attorneys for the county and state who argued that the constitution does not enumerate any powers for sheriffs, and that courts have used common law to define such powers. Graves agreed that 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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