Monday, December 6, 2010

Jurisdiction Question

In Virginia, do County Sheriffs have jurisdiction for speed enforcement on the Federal Interstate highway system? How do I prove one way or the other?


OrangeNeck said...

I don't see why not. The local Sheriff's department took over highway patrol in Suffolk County from Suffolk County Police Dept. on I-495 (Long Island Expressway).

Brigid said...

YES. The office of sheriff is one of the oldest offices known to the common law jurisprudence. A clear statement of the significance of the office of sheriff within the county, both historically and under present statutes, is found in 1 Anderson on Sheriffs, Coroners and Constables, § 6, p. 5, as follows:

". . . In the exercise of executive and administrative functions, in conserving the public peace, in vindicating the law, and in preserving the rights of the government, he (the sheriff) represents the sovereignty of the State and he has no superior in his county. . . ."

In addition, Anderson states as follows:

". . . It is not only the power, but the duty, of sheriffs in their various jurisdictions to preserve the peace, enforce the laws and arrest and commit to jail felons and other infractors of statutory or common law, and to execute all process to him directed and attend upon the trial courts of record and to preserve peace and quiet, to execute and carry out the mandates, orders and directions of the courts.

The office of sheriff was created by § 5, Article XI, as amended by the Twelfth Amendment, which provides, in part, as follows:

" RCW 36.28.010 prescribes the general duties of the sheriff as follows:

"The sheriff is the chief executive officer and conservator of the peace of the county. In the execution of his office, he and his deputies:

"(1) Shall arrest and commit to prison all persons who break the peace, or attempt to break it, and all persons guilty of public offenses;

"(2) Shall defend the county against those who, by riot or otherwise, endanger the public peace or safety;

"(3) Shall execute the process and orders of the courts of justice or judicial officers, when delivered for that purpose, according to law;

"(4) Shall execute all warrants delivered for that purpose by other public officers, according to the provisions of particular statutes;

"(5) Shall attend the sessions of the courts of record held within the county, and obey their lawful orders or directions;

"(6) Shall make complaint of all violations of the criminal law which shall come to their knowledge within their jurisdiction;

"(7) May call to their aid such persons or power of their county as they deem necessary to keep and preserve the peace of the county and quiet and suppress all affrays, riots, unlawful assemblies, and insurrections, and to apprehend or secure any person for felony or breach of the peace.

OrangeNeck said...

Brigid, the government has rights??

Obsidian said...

It would appear that yes, local sheriffs have jurisdiction over the highway.

"Neither the creation of a district nor any other provision in this chapter shall affect the power, jurisdiction, or duties of the respective local governing bodies of any county or participating town; sheriffs; treasurers; commissioners of the revenue; circuit, district, or other courts; clerks of any court; magistrates; or any other local or state officer in regard to the area embraced in any district, nor restrict or prevent any county or its governing body, or participating town or its town council, from imposing and collecting taxes or assessments for public improvements as permitted by law." Va. Code Ann. § 33.1-438

Although the highway patrol has jurisdiction to enforce state law on the highways, in Virginia their jurisdiction it appears that this power is held concurrently with local law enforcement. Thus either one can nail ya.

Speaking from personal experience, PW county sheriffs are VERY good at getting people about a mile from the county's southern line.

Sorry, Newbius.

By the way, isn't this an interesting news story?

Anonymous said...

Many, if not all, interstate highways and US highways are co-marked as state, county and local roads to provide all levels of jurisdiction. Some, especially s=US, state and county highways even have local street names. As an example, Interstate 4 in Florida is co-marked as SR-400, allowing county and local law enforcement jurisdiction.