Keep It Simple

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Good faith efforts to ensure the integrity of the judicial process in matters not directly related to the sheriff’s duties can become a very slippery slope. The sheriff’s office may find itself dragged into a quagmire of confusion and controversy among the parties, the clerk’s office, or the attorneys. The good news is the sheriff is not responsible for guaranteeing that the system work as it should. Read the process and follow the order to the sheriff contained thereon unless the order is illegal, too ambiguous to understand, or obviously erroneous. In those cases, the attorneys or clerk can be asked for clarification or a corrected order.

The sheriff “must look alone to the mandate in his hands. If the judgment awarding such mandate is void, that is a matter to be taken advantage of by the defendant in the execution, and it is no part of the duty of the sheriff to protect [the plaintiff].” Perdue v. Dodd, et als., 69 Tenn. 710 (Tenn. 1878). See also McCoy v. Dail, 65 Tenn. 137 (Tenn. 1873); State, to Use of Josiah Grigsby v. Manly et al., 79 Tenn. 636 (Tenn. 1883); and Shaw v. Holmes, 51 Tenn. 692 (Tenn. 871). In other words, the sheriff has no dog in the judicial hunt, and “cannot know, nor is it his province to inquire, what arrangements have been made between the principal and his securities.”