Sussex County Responds in Sheriff's Lawsuit Over Powers

Jun 25, 2012

In the fight over the powers of the County Sheriff in Delaware, Sussex County has responded to a lawsuit by its Sheriff Jeff Christopher who argues that he has the authority to make arrests and investigate crimes.

But the county countered in a four page filing that the Sheriff has not lined up the necessary parties behind his lawsuit to win noting that Christopher has not gotten the backing of federal state and local governments.

They said that since Christopher has claimed the authority to act without direction restriction or interference of any kind…he needs to have other entities to join his lawsuit.

Sussex County has warned Christopher against making arrests and investigating crimes citing liability issues.

Christopher has charged that the County Council and County Administrator Todd Lawson have undermined his office through personnel changes and budget decisions.

A hearing for the lawsuit is set for July 20th in Superior Court.

Governor Jack Markell says he is ready to sign legislation that would bar Christopher from making arrests and investigating crime.

But the Sheriff says the state constitution making him conservator of the peace preclude him from complying with the law.