Hinds County Sheriff Tyrone Lewis is challenging an order from Circuit Judge Tomie Green that he argues takes away his constitutional and statutory right to appoint and assign bailiffs and to decide how much they will be paid.
Photo by Trip Burns.
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Hinds County Sheriff Tyrone Lewis is asking the Mississippi Supreme Court to uphold his authority to hire and assign bailiffs to the local courts.
The case is on the Supreme Court's docket for November and December. The court will not hear oral argument in the case.
Lewis is challenging an order from Circuit Judge Tomie Green that he argues takes away his constitutional and statutory right to appoint and assign bailiffs and to decide how much they will be paid.
In 2012, Green reaffirmed an order issued first in 1996 giving the circuit court authority to hire bailiffs, set their salaries and schedule when they would work. The order has been supported by other judges on the court.
In court documents, Lewis argues the bailiffs act in the absence of the sheriff and he is responsible for them.
"There is no evidence the Legislature intended to subject the sheriff's authority over his bailiffs to the approval of the circuit court," sheriff's department attorney Dana P. Sims wrote in court documents.
Sims said the order of the circuit court also infringed on the Legislature's rule making authority.
Anna Marie Livingston, the attorney for the circuit court, said the judges and the sheriff have worked together since the dispute began on the assignment of bailiffs.
However, Livingston said the Supreme Court should find that the sheriff cannot remove bailiffs from the courthouse for non-judiciary related tasks and once a bailiff has been assigned to a judge, the bailiff cannot not be fired or transferred without the judge's consent.