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1. (in the US) the chief law-enforcement officer in a county: popularly elected, except in Rhode Island
2. (in England and Wales) the chief executive officer of the Crown in a county, having chiefly ceremonial duties
3. (in Scotland) a judge in any of the sheriff courts
4. (in Australia) an administrative officer of the Supreme Court, who enforces judgments and the execution of writs, empanels juries, etc.
5. (in New Zealand) an officer of the High Court



(Russian, sudebnyi ispolnitel’), the official responsible for the compulsory execution of court decisions, rulings, and decrees in civil cases and also for the execution of court settlements, sentences, rulings, and decrees in criminal cases to the extent that they involve property exactions.

In the USSR, sheriffs also execute the decisions of arbiters, comrades’ courts, commissions on labor disputes, and other such bodies. They are appointed by the ministers of justice of autonomous republics and the heads of judicial departments of executive committees of krai, oblast, and city soviets of people’s deputies. The requirements imposed by sheriffs for the execution of court decisions are binding on all state institutions, enterprises, kolkhozes, other cooperative and public organizations, officials, and citizens throughout the USSR.



an executive officer in a county (or sometimes another administrative-territorial unit) in Great Britain, Ireland, and the USA.

The legal status of sheriffs in Great Britain is defined by the norms of common law, by parliamentary statutes (since the 14th century), and, in particular, by the Sheriffs Act of 1877. A sheriff is appointed by a special commission that acts under royal authority and is headed by the lord lieutenant of the county. Sheriffs are chosen from among the landowners of the counties. Poor people, lords, priests, officers in active service, and practicing barristers and solicitors are among those who are not eligible for the office. Sheriffs are invested with administrative and judicial powers, such as the execution of sentences, the holding of elections, the selection of juries, and the supervision of jails.

In the USA, in all states except Rhode Island, a sheriff is elected by the residents of the county. His jurisdiction extends only to rural areas, and he fulfills mainly administrative and police functions. He maintains law and order, supervises jails, makes arrests, and checks the observance of state laws regulating such activities as traffic and the sale of alcohol.

References in periodicals archive ?
Sheriff-Elect Snyder served the citizens of Florida in that capacity for three terms before winning his bid to replace retiring Sheriff Robert Crowder as Martin County's 8th Sheriff.
The sheriff, even though he's an elected official, does not create his own budget.
Ramirez: After the incident with Deputy Chief Barker, Sheriff West was telling the other Texas sheriffs about my reaction during the Barker discussion, which was about as outraged as his own.
He shows photographs of white sheriffs to Meredith, who remarks, what ever happened to them?
Focusing on the Erie Canal itself, rather than studying a community in depth, Sheriff regards it both as a system with social and economic implications and as an emblem for broader changes in American society.
In 1988, through a letter of agreement, the chief and sheriff established a mutual aid arrangement.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is excited about the joint venture with Fox Reality in featuring our training academy," said Assistant Sheriff Doyle Campbell.
Bob Stern, president of the Center for Governmental Studies, said a similar situation occurred recently in Orange County, where a lieutenant who challenged Sheriff Mike Carona in the June election was subsequently disciplined.
This poll shows that Pennsylvanians believe their highly trained deputy sheriffs should be allowed to protect their communities," said Franklin County Sheriff Robert Wollyung.
BI(2) Technologies and Sheriff Pendergraph will officially roll-out and demonstrate the system during the North Carolina Sheriffs' Association meeting at the Westin Charlotte Hotel and Convention Center, 601 South College Street, Charlotte, North Carolina at a press conference on Monday, July 17, 2006 at 3:00PM.