Score a Victory for States Rights!

County Sheriff Can Bust Big Brother: Wyoming Sheriffs Put Feds in Their Place

The duly elected sheriff of a county is the highest law enforcement official within a county. He has law enforcement powers that exceed that of any other state or federal official.

This is settled law that most people are not aware of.

County sheriffs in Wyoming have scored a big one for the 10th Amendment
and states rights. The sheriffs slapped a federal intrusion upside the
head and are insisting that all federal law enforcement officers and
personnel from federal regulatory agencies must clear all their activity
in a Wyoming County with the Sheriff’s Office. Deja vu for those who
remember big Richard Mack in Arizona.

Bighorn County Sheriff Dave Mattis spoke at a press conference following
a recent U.S. District Court decision (Case No. 2:96-cv-099-J (2006))
and announced that all federal officials are forbidden to enter his
county without his prior approval ......

"If a sheriff doesn’t want the Feds in his county he has the
constitutional right and power to keep them out, or ask them to leave,
or retain them in custody."

The court decision was the result of a suit against both the BATF and
the IRS by Mattis and other members of the Wyoming Sheriff’s
Association. The suit in the Wyoming federal court district sought
restoration of the protections enshrined in the United States
Constitution and the Wyoming Constitution.

Guess what? The District Court ruled in favor of the sheriffs. In fact,
they stated, Wyoming is a sovereign state and the duly elected sheriff
of a county is the highest law enforcement official within a county and
has law enforcement powers exceeding that of any other state or
federal official." Go back and re-read this quote.

The court confirms and asserts that "the duly elected sheriff of a
county is the highest law enforcement official within a county and has
law enforcement powers EXCEEDING that of any other state OR federal
official." And you thought the 10th Amendment was dead and buried — not
in Wyoming, not yet.

But it gets even better. Since the judge stated that the sheriff "has
law enforcement powers EXCEEDING that of any other state OR federal
official," the Wyoming sheriffs are flexing their muscles. They are
demanding access to all BATF files. Why? So as to verify that the agency
is not violating provisions of Wyoming law that prohibits the
registration of firearms or the keeping of a registry of firearm owners.
This would be wrong.

The sheriffs are also demanding that federal agencies immediately cease
the seizure of private property and the impoundment of private bank
accounts without regard to due process in Wyoming state courts.

Gosh, it makes one wish that the sheriffs of the counties relative to
Waco, Texas and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma regarding their jurisdictions
were drinking the same water these Wyoming sheriffs are.

Sheriff Mattis said, "I am reacting in response to the actions of
federal employees who have attempted to deprive citizens of my county of
their privacy, their liberty, and their property without regard to
constitutional safeguards. I hope that more sheriffs all across America
will join us in protecting their citizens from the illegal activities
of the IRS, EPA, BATF, FBI, or any other federal agency that is
operating outside the confines of constitutional law. Employees of the
IRS and the EPA are no longer welcome in Bighorn County unless they
intend to operate in conformance to constitutional law." [Amen].

However, the sad reality is that sheriffs are elected, and that means
they are required to be both law enforcement officials and politicians
as well. Unfortunately, Wyoming sheriffs are the exception rather than
the rule . . . but they shouldn’t be. Sheriffs have enormous power, if
or when they choose to use it. I share the hope of Sheriff Mattis that
"more sheriffs all across America will join us in protecting their

If Wyoming Sheriffs can follow in the steps of former Arizona Sheriff
Richard Mack and recognize both their power and authority, they could
become champions for the memory of Thomas Jefferson who died thinking
that he had won those "states’ rights" debates with Alexander Hamilton.

This case is not just some amusing mountain melodrama. This is a BIG
deal. This case is yet further evidence that the 10th Amendment is not
yet totally dead, or in a complete decay in the United States. It is
also significant in that it can, may, and hopefully will be interpreted
to mean that "political subdivisions of a State are included within the
meaning of the amendment, or that the powers exercised by a sheriff
are an extension of those common law powers which the 10th Amendment
explicitly reserves to the People, if they are not granted to the
federal government or specifically prohibited to the States."

Winston Churchill observed, "If you will not fight for right when you
can easily win without bloodshed; if you will not fight when your
victory is sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you
will have to fights with all the odds against you with only a
precarious chance of survival. There may be a worse case. You may have
to fight when there is not hope of victory at all, because it is better
to perish than to live as slaves."

Dave Robinson,
Brunswick, Maine


Anonymous said…
Mattis is no longer Sheriff of Big Horn County. This blog entry is based on a really old event.
Anonymous said…
Big Horn Co. Sheriff is currently Kenneth Blackburn:
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