A coroner for each county shall be elected by the qualified voters thereof and shall hold office for four years from the first Monday after the second Tuesday in January next after his election and until his successor is elected and qualified.
The judge of probate has authority to appoint a special coroner:
(1) When the coroner has not qualified or the office is vacant and the emergency requires such officer;
(2) When the coroner is absent from the county, having no deputy therein;
(3) When the coroner is imprisoned; or,
(4) When the sheriff and coroner are both parties or both interested.
A special coroner must discharge the duties of the sheriff in such cases as the coroner is required and also when the sheriff and coroner are imprisoned and, on the direction of the judge of probate, when they are both parties or both interested.
For the failure to perform any duty or the improper or neglectful performance of such duty or for any wrongful act committed under color of office by the coroner or the special coroner while discharging the duties of sheriff, such coroner and his sureties and such special coroner are liable to the same penalties, forfeitures and judgments given by law against sheriffs in like cases to and upon the same proceedings and remedies as are given by law against sheriffs and their sureties.
The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to any county in which the coroner or other person performing the duties of coroner is governed by a local law or a law, the application of which is determined by the population of the county, insofar as the same are in conflict herewith.
Vacancies in the office of coroner shall be filled by appointment of the governor and the person appointed shall hold office for the unexpired term and until his successor is elected and qualified.
Before entering on the duties of his office the coroner must give bond as required by law.
The official bond of the coroner shall in no case be less than $1,000.00.
It is the general duty of the coroner to hold inquests and perform other duties as required by law.
The coroner must discharge the duties of the sheriff:
(1) When the office of sheriff is vacant and until his successor is qualified;
(2) When the sheriff is incompetent to act;
(3) When the sheriff is imprisoned;
(4) In cases to which the sheriff is a party; and
(5) In such cases as he is directed by the judge of probate.
The coroner shall be keeper of the jail when the sheriff is imprisoned.
When the sheriff is interested in any cause or proceeding, such interest not appearing on the face thereof, the judge of probate may on a proper showing by affidavit direct the coroner to execute the summons, writ or other process in such cause or proceeding.
The validity of the coroner's official acts cannot be questioned upon the ground that the process is directed to any sheriff or that it does not show a necessity for the coroner to act or other ground going to the form of the process.
When the coroner is required to discharge the duties of sheriff, the judge of probate may in his discretion require him to give an additional bond. If the coroner fails within 10 days after such requisition to give such additional bond, his office shall be vacated, and the judge of probate must certify the vacancy to the governor.