The Last Great Battle Could Be in Delaware. And It's Happening Now.Submitted by Cowboy J on Mon, 05/07/2012 - 13:37
Everything we've fought so hard for hangs in the balance today. One key effort could be the most severe blow to our future. It's currently in the form of Delaware State House Bill 325. If it passes, you can be sure that YOUR states will be next.
As we move our fight to the local level and continue the revolution toward self-governance by asserting ourselves from the ground up, Delaware has been thrown into the forefront of what could be regarded as the most important battle of our country's future. And in perfect establishment media fashion, this item will get no media coverage: the removal of arresting powers from the County Sheriff.
From the time of the founding of our nation, the State Constitutions provided that the County Sheriff was to be the chief law enforcement officer in the nation. This guarded the People from unconstitutional actions by the State and Federal governments. The County Sheriffs could stand up to those unconstitutional measures and declare that unjust laws would not be enforced in their communities. Even better, the County Sheriff could declare that any state or federal law enforcement officers would be ARRESTED if they entered the county under unconstitutional authority.
The Delaware legislature has introduced bipartisan legislation to remove the powers vested in the County Sheriff by our State Constitution and Sussex County Sheriff, Jeff Christopher, a Ron Paul supporter, has raised his hand to fight that legislation. There has been quite a commotion about this legislation and the GOP legislators in Dover recently removed themselves from it due to the political fallout that has occurred in the grassroots community. However, the legislation continues to move forward undeterred and now Attorney General, Beau Biden, has inserted the powers of his office into the mix.
Sheriff Christopher's attorney's are set to file a lawsuit that will bring this to trial and settle this matter for many years to come. The outcome of this lawsuit will set the precedent for the rest of the country and determine the future of our republic. I never would have imagined that the southernmost county of our small state would be the spearhead of a battle that will effectively determine the future of our way of life in this nation. But it is. And Sheriff Christopher needs our help and the help of all Liberty Patriots.
Here is a letter from the Sheriff:
As you are aware, I have been drawn into a dispute with the Sussex County Council over the County's efforts to seriously limit the ability of the Sheriff's office to perform the duties entrusted to me and my deputies by the people of Sussex County and by the Delaware Constitution.
Although I have tried to seek a reasonable outcome, the response of those people who wish to suppress the ability of the Sheriff's office to do the people's will has been a failed legislative effort to statutorily neutralize the powers of my office. Further, Attorney General Biden recently has issued an opinion that, based on questionable authority, attempts to further strip the Sheriff's office of its Constitutionally granted power.
The time has come to take further action. The Legacy Foundation, an Iowa-based tax-exempt organization, has taken a strong interest in this matter and wishes to further support me in my efforts to solidify the role of the Sheriff's office in Sussex County.
If you wish to contribute to this effort, please visit the Legacy Foundation's dedicated webpage at http://legacyfoundation.us/sussex/ to make a charitable contribution via the internet. If you wish to send a check payable to The Legacy Foundation, please send it to my attorneys Niles, Barton & Wilmer, LLP, c/o Leslie J. Williams, 111 S. Calvert Street, Suite 1400, Baltimore MD 21202. Thank you, as always, for your support."
In your service,
Sheriff Jeff Christopher"
Sheriff Christopher is just a regular citizen like all the rest of our grassroots supporters. He has a wife and two children. His wife just recently lost her job. They're trying to make ends meet and, at the same time, he's remaining determined to fight this critical battle. To file this lawsuit and see it through, like everything else, funding is paramount. I'm going to be posting this information on all of the Liberty blogs associated with our revolution. The local Tea Party group are doing the same. We have allies in this battle and every one of them will be needed. Please donate anything you can to the fund set up at http://legacyfoundation.us/sussex/
And call your state legislators! Tell them that you are opposed to any effort to limit, further define, or strip the Sheriff's office of its Constitutionally granted powers, i.e. House Bill 325 (formerly HB 290).
Here is an internal email (with attached talking points) that we were able to intercept from the people trying to push this unconstitutional legislation through:
[Start of Email]
I'm not sure how much you've heard, but the role of the Sussex County sheriff has become an incredibly controversial issue. Now Republicans are trying to turn it into a polarized issue in Dover.
There was a bipartisan bill proposed in the House (primarily sponsored by Republican Rep. Danny Short), but Republicans have now withdrawn their support. The Sussex County Council (under Republican leadership) and Attorney General Beau Biden have both called for legislation in Dover that would clarify (and limit) the sheriff's responsibilities. Please see additional talking points below.
House Majority Leader Pete Schwartzkopf would like to hold a conference call to talk about the issue, what's going on in Dover, and what we can do to counteract many misconceptions flying around in Sussex County.
We will be holding the conference call this Monday at 7 pm. You must contact me (Sarah Rivin) to obtain the call-in information. We welcome anyone interested in participating, but we do want to know who joins.
Thanks for all you do!
House Bill 290 Talking Points
The issue of the Sussex County sheriff's authority and arrest powers (or lack thereof) has been an issue for several years.
A previous Sussex sheriff fought with the attorney general's office and state officials over whether he could put flashing lights on sheriff's cars.
The Republican attorney general, Brady, issued an opinion saying sheriffs do not have arrest powers.
Jeff Christopher was the deputy sheriff at the time.
Rep. Schwartzkopf tried to address the controversy several years ago, to no avail.
Now sheriff, Jeff Christopher has taken up the same mantle as his former boss, claiming the Delaware Constitution give him the authority to arrest citizens.
According to the Constitution, sheriffs in Delaware are "conservators of the peace", but that remains an undefined term.
Additionally, the Constitution says the chancellor, judges, and the attorney general are also conservators of the peace throughout the state. Does that mean Attorney General Biden or any judge should be granted arrest powers? Given what we know of their legal roles, being a 'conservator of the peace' does not equate with the possession of arrest powers.
As Sheriff, Jeff Christopher has been stopping cars and acting as a law enforcement officer. But that is in direct conflict with state law and the AG's opinion, which say the sheriff's "power to arrest is no greater than that shared by any citizen." Sheriff Christopher has said he will continue to defy that opinion, prompting clarifying legislation.
If the Sheriff's actions are challenged in court, Sussex County could find itself in the midst of a serious lawsuit.
Because the sheriff and deputy sheriffs are forbidden by state law to be trained as cops, they have not undergone police training. That poses a significant liability issue for Sussex County.
What is House Bill 290?
Under its Republican leadership, the Sussex County Council has pushed for legislation clearly establishing the sheriff's role - which is NOT a law enforcement officer. That legislation is now known as House Bill 290.
There have been a number of misconceptions about this important legislation.
The bill was fast-tracked to get it through the legislature.
The proposal has actually been circulating at the county level for months and was delayed in the House for a week.
The bill would change the Constitution.
The bill would not change the Constitution. It would simply codify the specifics of the sheriff's role under state law.
The bill would remove Sheriff Christopher from office.
The bill would not remove Sheriff Christopher from office. The bill would, however, clearly establish the parameters of his legal responsibility.
Republicans Now Withdrawing Support
As opponents of HB 290 became vocal in Sussex County, many Republicans began withdrawing support for the bill. But in reality, those who are strongly against the bill comprise a small minority of citizens. Very few individuals turned out to a rally against the bill.
Although a dozen or so folks showed up to the Sussex County Council meeting to discuss the sheriff's powers, those vocal opponents do not represent Sussex County voters on the whole.
Rep. Danny Short was the prime sponsor of the bill, but he now wants to table the bill. By withdrawing support for the bill, Republican legislators are caving under pressure to a loud, but small, minority in Sussex County. Not only is that not the will of the people, but it also means the dispute over the sheriff's powers will continue.
This past Wednesday (April 25th)an hour and half before the committee meeting Rep. Short spoke on the House floor to say Democrats are trying to pass this bill as a political ploy. But this is not a partisan issue. He went on to strike HB 290 from the record.
Our Representatives have a responsibility to uphold the Constitution and to protect our citizens. Rep. Short has abandoned Sussex County. Republican and Democratic leaders alike agree the sheriff should not have arrest powers."
[End of Email]
As you can see, the establishment is turning up the propaganda machine in full force as they always do with big atrocities like this.
Folks, we need to rally behind Sheriff Christopher now. The County Sheriff is our last line of defense against a total police state. His lawsuit and the legislation being pursued in the Delaware State House of Representatives will set the stage for which direction the rest of the country will go. Everything we stand for, everything we've been fighting for and all that we want to achieve in the future hangs on this decision. Without this, there will be no last line of defense against the FDA, the EPA, the DHS, the IRS, Health Care Mandates, the Patriot Act, the NDAA, etc.
Please donate to this cause; the keystone of our revolution's success: http://legacyfoundation.us/sussex/. Anything will help. Just $5, $10, or any other amount. Together, it all adds up.
Please help in this fight. I will keep you all informed on this in the days, weeks, and months ahead.
HB 290 was tabled and withdrawn. A new bill has been introduced by the House Majority Leader (House Bill 325.)
"For the second time this year, a bill that seeks to clarify that Delaware's county sheriffs and their deputies do not have arrest powers has been introduced in the State House of Representatives.
House Bill 325, sponsored by House Majority Leader Pete Schwartzkopf, D-Rehoboth, is similar to a bill stricken last week by State Rep. Dan Short, R-Seaford.
Whether or not county sheriffs have full police powers has been debated for many years. This year's flurry of legislative action on the topic was sparked by a unanimous request from Sussex County Council asking the General Assembly to resolve the unsettled matter.
Council members grew concerned after sheriff's deputies started conducting police-like operations late last year, including making traffic stops and arrests. Two separate opinions from the state attorney general's office, under different administrations, have stated that county sheriffs are not authorized to conduct such work.
A recently released 64-page county council report says that by improperly acting as police officers, sheriff's office personnel could be exposing taxpayers to legal action and large liability awards. To see that report,click here.
Supporters of the Sussex County Sheriff's actions say Delaware's State Constitution describes county sheriffs as "conservators of the peace," granting the office arrest powers.
Both Reps. Schwartzkopf and Short agree that the Sussex County Sheriff and his deputies are acting outside their scope of authority, but differ on the best way to meet county council's request for resolution of the matter.
Rep. Short says that working House Bill 325 is premature. Earlier this week, he filed House Concurrent Resolution 42, which seeks to ask the Delaware Supreme Court to issue an advisory opinion on whether county sheriffs have arrest authority under the state constitution.
Lawyers advising the General Assembly note that the legislature has the ability to seek opinions from the High Court -- authority it has exercised on several occasions over the last three decades.
Rep. Schwartzkopf, who chairs the House Administration Committee, has scheduled both House Bill 325 and House Concurrent Resolution 42 for a hearing before his committee on Wednesday, May 9th at 3 p.m."