Ethics: Advisory Opinion No. 2000-18

Advisory Opinion No. 2000-18
Advisory Opinion No. 2000-18

Deputy Sheriff Serving Process May Not Simultaneously Hold Position
As Courthouse Special Deputy

Caroline Mackray is a deputy sheriff serving process in Windham County, where she also works one day a week as a courthouse special deputy sheriff. She has asked whether, under the Code of Ethics for Public Officials, Conn. Gen. Stat. 1-79 et seq., it is a conflict of interest for her to hold both positions simultaneously.

The State Ethics Commission has previously held that a special deputy sheriff may not accept outside employment that could involve the use of a badge, or other indicia of official position, for potential private gain. See Advisory Opinion No. 99-25 (Amended), "Application Of Outside Employment Restrictions To Special Deputy Sheriffs," 61 Conn. L. J. No.35, p. 5D (2/29/99). The Commission has also held that a Department of Corrections employee could not accept outside employment as a bail bondsman, in part because the employee would have access to potential clients as a result of his state position. See Advisory Opinion No. 98-31, "Department of Correction Employee May Not Accept Outside Employment With Bail Bondsman," 60 Conn. L. J. No. 27, p. 8E (1/5/99).

Applying these rules to the facts presented, a special deputy sheriff assigned to a courthouse could be influenced by his or her own financial interests to serve process on individuals who have come to the courthouse on business. Also, the uniformed courthouse sheriff is instilled by reason of his or her official position with an authority that could be used, however inadvertently, for his or her own financial gain. Conn. Gen. Stat. 1-84(c). Although it is commendable that Ms. Makray would forego using her position in this manner, the law must be applied equally to all. Similarly, the fact that Ms. Makray only works in the courthouse one day a week does not alter the application of the law. Therefore, a deputy sheriff who serves process should not simultaneously serve as a special deputy sheriff in a courthouse.

By order of the Commission,

Rosemary Giuliano

Content Last Modified on 9/7/2005 8:03:24 AM