sheriff. [Middle English shire reeve from Anglo-Saxon scirgerefa]

1. A county’s chief peace officer, usu. elected, who in most jurisdictions acts as custodian of the county jail, executes civil and criminal process, and carries out judicial mandates within the county.

— Also termed high sheriff; vice-comes. [Cases: Sheriffs and Constables

1. C.J.S. Sheriffs and Constables § 1.]

deputy sheriff. An officer who, acting under the direction of a sheriff, may perform most of the duties of the sheriff’s office. • Although undersheriff is broadly synonymous with deputy sheriff, writers have sometimes distinguished between the two, suggesting that a deputy is appointed for a special occasion or purpose, while an undersheriff is permanent.

— Also termed undersheriff; general deputy; vice-sheriff. [Cases: Sheriffs and Constables 16.]

2. Scots law. The chief judge at the county level, with limited criminal and unlimited civil jurisdiction. • A sheriff may not hear cases of murder or of some minor offenses. In medieval times, the sheriff was the king’s representative in the shires, having military, administrative, and judicial functions. The office was hereditary until the Heritable Jurisdictions Act of 1746.

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