ILNews

Sheriff's deputies can hold elected office, court rules

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2007
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A sheriff's deputy has the right to hold an elected position and in doing so isn't violating state law against holding dual, lucrative offices, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today.

In Walter Thompson v. Mark Hays http://www.in.gov/judiciary/opinions/pdf/06060701mgr.pdf, 72A01-0607-CV-294, the court upheld a Scott County ruling last year dismissing a claim filed by local resident Walter Thompson, who filed a complaint against Mark Hays following the November 2002 general election. Thompson accused Hays of holding the dual offices and sought an order to remove him as a deputy sheriff and reimburse the county for pay he'd accepted since taking the elected commissioner's job.

The claim arose in March 2006, just before a primary election in which Hays was a candidate for re-election as a commissioner, according to a footnote in the court ruling. The trial court dismissed the complaint for failure to state a claim.

Appellate judges wrote that the decision today is consistent with existing caselaw and legislative intent, though they acknowledged the Indiana Attorney General once reached an opposite conclusion in 1962, which predated the statutes and court opinions.

The court has held previously that city police officers and deputy town marshals are employees, rather than "public officers." It also refers to Indiana Code Section 36-8-10-11c(1), which provides that a county police officer may "be a candidate for elective office and serve in that office if elected."
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  1. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  2. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  3. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  4. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  5. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

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