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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
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(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.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Keene's case was assigned to Lipsey and the Kalamazoo County Prosecutor's Office because of Keene's employment as a sheriff's deputy in Cass County.
The legal battle began in May when retired Contra Costa sheriff's Deputy Donna Irwin filed a petition for a restraining order in Contra Costa Superior Court to block a request for the data by a taxpayer group, The California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility.
Sheriff's Deputy was always prominent and he stayed on to be beaten three-and-a-half lengths by Crail ( a horse who looks reasonably unexposed.
A sheriff's deputy found the black-and-white rabbit, named Oreo, hopping around in the girl's living room in New Port Richey, according to the arrest report.
Lieutenant JOE CECILE of Syracuse, New York, a police spokesman, pointing out the flub that ended Jeremy Lepianka's two-year charade as an Onondaga County sheriff's deputy. When Lepianka pulled over a pickup truck that had run several red lights, the occupants fled.
Unett, who is based at Wolverhampton racecourse, won the Electrolux Maiden Auction Stakes with Urban Rose (100-30) and the BBT Financial Services Median Auction Maiden Stakes with Sheriff's Deputy (6-4).
The trainer, who is based at Wolverhampton racecourse, went on to land a near-10-1 double with Sheriff's Deputy (6-4) in the BBT Financial Services Median Auction Maiden Stakes.
There was a tremendous finish to the mile handicap, with Sam Hitchcott on the Mick Channon-trained Tusk getting the better of Sheriff's Deputy by an absolute whisker.
The teenager lunged at a sheriff's deputy before the taping began, Lt Irvine alleged.
The park is named after the Los Angeles Times reporter who was killed during that protest when a sheriff's deputy fired a tear gas canister at his face.
THE sheriff's deputy who was shot when he tried to evict a German's dying mother from her home settled his action for damages against the state yesterday.
Sheriff's deputy Bob Killeen confirmed they had chased and caught Sheen because "he was not able to care for himself".