Definitions for: Sheriff

[n] the principal law-enforcement officer in a county

Webster (1913) Definition: 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.
The chief officer of a shire or county, to whom is intrusted
the execution of the laws, the serving of judicial writs and
processes, and the preservation of the peace.

Note: In England, sheriffs are appointed by the king. In the
United States, sheriffs are elected by the legislature
or by the citizens, or appointed and commissioned by
the executive of the State. The office of sheriff in
England is judicial and ministerial. In the United
States, it is mainly ministerial. The sheriff, by
himself or his deputies, executes civil and criminal
process throughout the county, has charge of the jail
and prisoners, attends courts, and keeps the peace. His
judicial authority is generally confined to
ascertaining damages on writs of inquiry and the like.
Sheriff, in Scotland, called sheriff depute, is
properly a judge, having also certain ministerial
powers. Sheriff clerk is the clerk of the Sheriff's
Court in Scotland. Sheriff's Court in London is a
tribunal having cognizance of certain personal actions
in that city. --Wharton, Tomlins. Erskine.

See Also: law officer, lawman, peace officer

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