WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - The Delaware Supreme Court has upheld a lower court ruling that sheriffs in Delaware do not have police powers.
In a 26-page opinion released Monday, the justices affirmed a March ruling by a Superior Court judge upholding the constitutionality of a bill passed by state lawmakers that bars sheriffs and their deputies from making arrests.
Sussex County sheriff Jeff Christopher argued that lawmakers exceeded their authority and that they could not limit the power of sheriffs in such a drastic fashion without passing a constitutional amendment.
But the Supreme Court said the sheriff's common law arrest power is not a fundamental or a core duty of his constitutional role as a "conservator of the peace," and that the arrest power could be modified or even eliminated by statute.
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)