Sheriff


Sheriff

A sheriff is in principle a legal official with responsibility for a county. In practice, the specific combination of legal, political, and ceremonial duties of a sheriff varies greatly from country to country.

The word "sheriff" is a contraction of the term "shire reeve". The term, from the Old English scīrgerefa, designated a royal official responsible for keeping the peace (a "reeve") throughout a shire or county on behalf of the king.[1] The term was preserved in England notwithstanding the Norman Conquest. From the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms the term spread to several other regions, at an early point to Scotland, latterly to Ireland and the United States.

Sheriffs exists in various countries:

  • Sheriffs are administrative legal officials (similar to bailiffs) in the Republic of Ireland, Australia, and Canada (with expanded duties in certain provinces).
  • Sheriffs are judges in Scotland.
  • Sheriff is a ceremonial position in England, Wales, and India.
  • In the United States of America the scope of a sheriff varies across states and counties. The sheriff is a always a county official and serves as the arm of the county court. In urban areas a sheriff may be restricted to court duties such as administering the county jail, providing courtroom security and prisoner transport, serving warrants, and serving process. Sheriffs may also patrol outside of the city or town limits. In many rural areas, sheriffs and their deputies serve as the principal police force.

In British English, the political or legal office of a sheriff is called a shrievalty.

Contents

History

Modern usage

Australia

The office of sheriff was first established in Australia in 1824. This was simultaneous with the appointment of the first Chief Justice of New South Wales. The role of the sheriff has not been static, nor is it identical in each Australian State. In the past his duties included: executing court judgements, acting as a coroner, the transportation of prisoners, managing the gaols, and carrying out executions (through the employment of an anonymous hangman). Currently, no Australian State provides for capital punishment. A government department (usually called the Department of Corrections or similar) now runs the prison system and the Coroner’s Office handles coronal matters. The sheriff is now largely responsible for enforcing the civil orders and fines of the court (seizing and selling the property of judgement debtors who do not satisfy the debt), providing court security, enforcing arrest warrants, evictions, taking juveniles into custody and running the jury system. Some State Sheriffs can also apply a wide range of sanctions ranging from suspending drivers licences and car registration through to wheel clamping and arranging community service orders and finally as a last resort make arrests.

Canada

Various jurisdictions in Canada on provincial and sub-provincial levels operate sheriff's departments primarily concerned with court bailiff services such as courtroom security, post-arrest prisoner transfer, serving legal processes, and executing civil judgements. Sheriffs are defined under Section 2 of the Criminal Code of Canada as "peace officers". In other parts of Canada not covered by a sheriff's agency, bailiff functions are handled directly by the local, provincial police or Royal Canadian Mounted Police as appropriate.

Alberta

In 2006, the Province of Alberta expanded the duties[2] of the provincial sheriffs department to include tasks such as traffic enforcement, VIP protection, investigation and fugitive apprehension(FASST). As of June 2008, the provincial sheriffs department consists of 105 traffic sheriffs who are assigned to one of seven regions in the province. Sheriffs also assist various police services in Alberta with prisoner management. In October 2008, the Alberta Sheriffs will introduce the Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods Unit (SCAN).

British Columbia

BCSS responsibilities include the protection of the Provincial, Supreme and Appeal Courts of BC, planning high security trials, Intelligence Unit, assessing threats towards public officials and those employed in the Justice system, protection of Judges and Crown Prosecutors, managing detention cells, transport prisoners by ground and air, manage and provide protection for juries, serve court-related documents, execute court orders and warrants, and assist with coroner's court.

India

Among cities in India, only Mumbai (Bombay), and Kolkata (Calcutta) have a sheriff. The sheriff has an apolitical, non-executive role. Sheriffs preside over various city-related functions and conferences and welcome foreign guests. The post is second to the mayor in the protocol list.

Republic of Ireland

In the Republic of Ireland, a sheriff (Irish: sirriam) can be either:

In both cases sheriffs are charged with enforcing civil judgements against debtors within their bailiwick. Outside Dublin and Cork the County Registrar carries out the functions of the sheriff regarding judgements.

The Dublin and Cork sheriffs also perform all the duties of returning officers in elections (other than local elections) and some other duties concerning pounds. Sheriffs may appoint court messengers, subject to approval of the Minister for Justice, to assist them with their work.

Philippines

Manila

The Office of Sheriff of Manila was established on July 1, 1901. The first Sheriff of Manila was James Peterson.[3] The main duties of the sheriff and deputies is enforcing arrest warrants, evictions, civil orders, writs, subpoenas, notices, release orders, commitment orders, mittimus, and providing court security. The office has three divisions; administrative, criminal and civil.[4] The office of the sheriff is now located at Manila city hall. [5]

United Kingdom

England and Wales

The Sheriff of Oxford for the civic year 2008/2009, Cllr John Goddard, speaking shortly after his election as such, with Cllr Susanna Pressel, Lord Mayor of Oxford, next to him.

The High Sheriff of an English or Welsh county is an unpaid, partly ceremonial post appointed by The Crown through a Warrant from the Privy Council.

Cornwall

The first Duchy of Cornwall Charter of 1337 stated that the "Shrievalty of Cornwall" was vested in the Duke of Cornwall, such that the duke has the authority to appoint the High Sheriff in the county.[6] Two further charters dated March 18, 1337 and January 3, 1338 stated that no sheriff of the king shall enter Cornwall to execute the kings writ.

Historically, the court officers empowered to enforce High Court writs were called Sheriffs or Sheriff's Officers. In April 2004 they were replaced by High Court enforcement officers.

City of London

In the City of London, the position of sheriff is one of the officers of the Corporation. Two are elected by the liverymen of the City each year to assist the Lord Mayor, attend the Central Criminal Court at the Old Bailey, and present petitions to Parliament: usually one is an alderman and the other is not. The aldermanic sheriff is then likely to become Lord Mayor in due course.

Northern Ireland

High Sheriff is a largely ceremonial position in Northern Ireland, with some functional duties including deputising for Lord Mayor. There are eight High Sheriff positions throughout Northern Ireland: one for each of the counties and for the two major cities of Northern Ireland, there are the High Sheriff of Belfast and the High Sheriff of Londonderry City.

Scotland

In Scotland, a sheriff is analogous to a judge and sits in a second-tier court, called the Sheriff Court. The sheriff is legally qualified, in comparison with a lay Justice of the Peace who preside over the first-tier District Courts of Scotland.

The sheriff court is a court of first instance for the majority of both civil and criminal cases. However, the court's powers are limited, so that major crimes such as rape or murder and complex or high-value civil cases are dealt with in the High Court (for criminal matters) or the Court of Session (for civil matters).

There are six sheriffdoms in Scotland, each with a Sheriff Principal. Within each sheriffdom there are several Sheriff Courts; each court has at least one courtroom and at least one Sheriff (technically a Sheriff Depute). A Sheriff may sit at different courts throughout the sheriffdom. [1]

Sheriffs are usually advocates and, increasingly, solicitors with many years of legal experience. Until recently, they were appointed by the Scottish Executive, on the advice of the Lord Advocate. However, the Scotland Act 1998 introduced the European Convention of Human Rights into Scots law. A subsequent legal challenge to the impartiality of the sheriffs based on the provisions of the Convention led to the setting up of the Judicial Appointments Board for Scotland, which now makes recommendations to the First Minister, who nominates all judicial appointments in Scotland other than in the District Court. Nominations are made to the First Minister, who in turn makes the recommendation to the Queen.

United States

Deputy Sheriff in 1940 Mogollon, New Mexico

In the United States, a sheriff is generally, but not always, the highest law enforcement officer of a county. A sheriff is in most cases elected by the population of the county. In some states the sheriff is officially titled "High Sheriff", although the title is very rarely actually used.

The political election of a person to serve as a police leader is an almost uniquely American tradition. (The practice has been followed in the British Channel Island of Jersey since at least the 16th century.[7]) A sworn law enforcement officer working for a sheriff is called a "sheriff's deputy", "sheriff's officer", or something similar, and is authorized to perform the sheriff's duties. In many states the law enforcement officer are often called "county mounties" for the hat they generally wear as part of their usually two-tone brown uniform with a mountie-style hat. In some states, a sheriff may not be a sworn officer, but merely an elected official in charge of sworn officers. These officers may be subdivided into "general deputies" and "special deputies". In some places, the sheriff has the responsibility to recover any deceased persons within their county, in which case the full title is "sheriff-coroner". In some counties, the sheriff's principal deputy is the warden of the county jail or other local correctional institution.

A Dodge Durango belonging to the Sheriff of Todd County, South Dakota.

In some areas of the United States, the sheriff is also responsible for collecting the taxes and may have other titles such as tax collector or county treasurer. The sheriff may also be responsible for the county civil defense, emergency disaster service, rescue service, or emergency management.

In the U.S., the relationship between the sheriff and other police departments varies widely from state to state, and indeed in some states from county to county. In the northeastern U.S., the sheriff's duties have been greatly reduced with the advent of state-level law enforcement agencies, especially the state police and local agencies such as the county police. In Vermont, for instance, the elected sheriff is primarily an officer of the County Court, whose duties include running the county jail and serving papers in lawsuits and foreclosures.[clarification needed] Law enforcement patrol is performed as well, in support of State Police and in the absence of a municipal police agency in rural towns.

By contrast, in other municipalities, the sheriff's office may be merged with most or all city-level police departments within a county to form a consolidated city-county or metropolitan police force responsible for general law enforcement anywhere in the county. The sheriff in such cases serves simultaneously as sheriff and chief of the consolidated police department. Examples include the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and the Miami-Dade Police Department.

Sheriff offices may coexist with other county level law enforcement agencies such as county police, county park police, or county detectives.

In Virginia since 1871, cities have been completely independent jurisdictions which are not part of any county at all. In those cities, the sheriff of the county in which the city in located, handle jails, courtroom security and serves all civil process (subpoenas, evictions, etc). However, in some counties that have created separate county police departments the sheriff's office shares law enforcement duties.[citation needed]

The New York City Sheriff is appointed by the mayor. His jurisdiction is all five county-boroughs of New York City (King's County, Queen's County, Richmond County, Bronx County and New York County).

The sheriffs of Middlesex County and Suffolk County, Massachusetts have ceremonial duties at Harvard University commencement exercises. In a tradition dating to the 17th century, the Sheriffs lead the President's Procession, and the Sheriff of Middlesex County formally opens and adjourns the proceedings.[8][9][10]

There are also states in the US that do not have sheriffs, such as Connecticut. In Connecticut, where county government itself has been abolished, the state and local police have sole responsibility for law enforcement.

Missouri has a county that eliminated the position of elected sheriff in 1955; the St. Louis County Police Department has an appointed police chief that performs the duties of the sheriff. Colorado has two counties that have appointed sheriffs rather than elected officials like the other 62 counties. Denver and Broomfield are a city and county entities, which are required to have and/or perform a sheriff function. Denver's "sheriff" is the manager of safety, who is appointed by the mayor to oversee the fire, police and sheriff departments and is the ex officio sheriff. The position was created in 1916 to oversee the fire and police chiefs as well as the undersheriff who oversees the sheriff department. The Denver Sheriff Department is responsible for the operation of the correctional facilities as well as serving the courts per state law. Broomfield evolved from four counties in 2001. The Broomfield Police Department performs all "sheriff" functions under an appointed police chief, who acts as the sheriff per state law.[11]

See also

References

External links


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • sheriff — sher·iff n [Old English scīrgerēfa, from scīr shire + gerēfa reeve (king s agent)]: an official of a county or parish charged primarily with judicial duties (as executing the processes and orders of courts and judges) Merriam Webster’s Dictionary …   Law dictionary

  • SHERIFF — SHERI Fonctionnaire royal en Angleterre, dans les territoires dépendants et en Écosse. La fonction existe dès l’époque anglo saxonne et a été étendue, après la conquête, dans toute l’Angleterre; elle est ensuite créée en Irlande et au Pays de… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Sheriff — Sher iff, n. [OE. shereve, AS. sc[=i]r ger?fa; sc[=i]r a shire + ger?fa a reeve. See Shire, and {Reeve}, and cf. {Shrievalty}.] The chief officer of a shire or county, to whom is intrusted the execution of the laws, the serving of judicial writs… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Shériff — Sheriff (homonymie) Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom.  Pour l’article homophone, voir Chérif. Sheriff peut faire référence à La forme anglaise de Shérif, une fonction politique et… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Sheriff — Sm (ein hoher Verwaltungs bzw. Vollzugsbeamter) erw. exot. (20. Jh.) Entlehnung. Entlehnt aus ne. sheriff, dieses aus ae. scīrgerēfa Grafschaftsvogt , zu ae. scīr f. Verwaltungsbezirk und ae. gerēfa hoher Verwaltungsbeamter . Unter dem entlehnten …   Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen sprache

  • SHERIFF — is a telecom fraud detection and management system, originally developed by BT and MCI. SHERIFF is an acronym for Statistical Heuristic Engine to Reliably and Intelligently Fight Fraud …   Wikipedia

  • Sheriff — (engl., spr. schérrif, v. angelsächs. scirgerefa, »Hüter oder Richter der Grafschaft«), in England der von der Krone bestellte erste richterliche Beamte einer, Grafschaft. Jede Grafschaft hat einen S. (High S.); nur die City von London hat deren… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • sheriff — (ingl.; pronunc. [shérif]; pl. «sheriffs») m. En Estados Unidos, funcionario encargado de mantener la ley y el orden en un distrito. Las películas llamadas «del Oeste» (el Oeste de los Estados Unidos) han generalizado este término entre los… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • sheriff — Voz inglesa (pron. [shérif]) con que se designa al representante de la justicia que se encarga de hacer cumplir la ley en los Estados Unidos de América y en ciertas regiones y condados británicos: «La película arranca del hallazgo en el desierto… …   Diccionario panhispánico de dudas

  • sheriff — (n.) late O.E. scirgerefa representative of royal authority in a shire, from scir (see SHIRE (Cf. shire)) + gerefa chief, official, reeve (see REEVE (Cf. reeve)). In Anglo Saxon England, the representative of royal authority in a shire. As an… …   Etymology dictionary

  • sheriff — ► NOUN 1) (also high sheriff) (in England and Wales) the chief executive officer of the Crown in a county. 2) an honorary officer elected annually in some English towns. 3) (in Scotland) a judge. 4) US an elected officer in a county, responsible… …   English terms dictionary


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