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A person duly authorized by an officer to serve as his or her substitute by performing some or all of the officer's functions.

A deputy sheriff is designated to act on behalf of the sheriff in regard to official business.

A general deputy or undersheriff, pursuant to an appointment, has authority to execute all of the regular duties of the office of sheriff and serves process without any special authority from the sheriff.

A special deputy, who is an officer pro hac vice (Latin for "for this turn"), is appointed to render a special service. A special deputy acts under a specific, rather than a general, appointment and authority.


Service of Process.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

DEPUTY. One authorized by an officer to exercise the office or right which the officer possesses, for and in place of the latter.
     2. In general, ministerial officers can appoint deputies; Com. Dig. Officer, D 1; unless the office is to be exercised by the ministerial officer in person; and where the office partakes of a judicial and ministerial character, although a deputy may be made for the performance of ministerial acts, one cannot be made for the performance of a judicial act; a sheriff cannot therefore make a deputy to hold an inquisition, under a writ of inquiry, though he may appoint a deputy to serve a writ.,
     3. In general, a deputy has power to do every act which his principal might do but a deputy cannot make a deputy.
     4. A deputy should always act in the name of his principal. The principal is liable for the deputy's acts performed by him as such, and for the neglect of the deputy; Dane's Ab. vol. 3, c. 76, a. 2; and the deputy is liable himself to the person injured for his own tortious acts. Dane's Ab. Index, h.t.; Com. Dig. Officer, D; Viscount, B. Vide 7 Vin. Ab. 556 Arch. Civ. Pl. 68; 16 John. R. 108.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
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