Sussex County issues statement regarding sheriff litigation
Georgetown, Del., May 10, 2012:
Sussex County has issued the following statement in response to a civil complaint by Sheriff Jeffrey S. Christopher, filed in the Delaware Superior Court for Sussex County on Wednesday, May 9, 2012:
Sheriff Christopher has chosen to pursue litigation in trying to resolve the matter of the office’s authority under Delaware law. Sussex County stands firm in its belief, based on numerous State Attorneys General opinions and decades of tradition, that sheriffs and their deputies in Delaware are not law enforcement officers, nor does the County believe they are empowered with arrest authority.
This lawsuit is not litigation in the conventional sense, in which one party is suing another for monetary damages. It is a request for declaratory judgment. In the request for declaratory judgment, the sheriff has asked the court to determine what his authority is. The County intends to assert its position and protect the interests of Sussex County’s citizens.
At this time, the County has not been served. Once the County has received the lawsuit officially, legal counsel will review it and put together the appropriate legal response.