IF THE SHERIFF'S OF OKLAHOMA FAIL
TO FOLLOW THE LAW HOW CAN THEY JUSTIFY ENFORCING IT
We often look at our County Sheriff's as being well versed in the laws of the state. Sadly, they seem to feel that the office affords them some special privileges. What brought our attention to this story was a recent ruling made by the Oklahoma Attorney General that you can find in this article.
This is alleged to be a private organization that uses some tax payer's dollars to help fund themselves and didn't believe they fell under Oklahoma's Open Meetings Act. The Attorney General's decision was that due to the use of some tax payer's dollars they do in fact fall under the guidelines of the open meetings act.
We next paid a visit to the Association's web site here in this article. The first item they bring to the attention of the public is "The office of the Sheriff is the only law enforcement office directly accountable to the people, the ultimate authority in a democracy. It is an elected position that makes them unique among other law enforcement. With the position of Sheriff comes a tremendous amount of responsibility that many citizens of Oklahoma do not realize. In many cases they will have to operate their office and the jail on a budget that is not fully funded by the taxes of the county. They will have to supplement their budget by civil service processes, seeking grants for equipment and vehicles. They will have to protect hundreds of square miles with a minimal amount of deputies and patrol vehicles. The Sheriff will have to deal with overcrowded and some cases of antiquated jails. The Sheriff must be a professional law enforcement officer with a deep desire to serve those citizens in his county." There is one item that is glaringly missing from their statement. That missing item is that they must have a working knowledge of all of the Oklahoma laws not just the ones that they decide to enforce.
The next article we found was this from wikipedia . This page hasn't been updated in a while. The last update was dated in January of 2017. The information that it contains is questionable.
Then we found this report about a lawsuit naming all of the county sheriff's. Basically, what these people are doing is surrendering a portion of the fines and fees they would collect to a debt collection agency which is adding more penalties on the debt to make a higher profit. Since when has the Sheriff's of Oklahoma been on the payroll of the collection agencies. They bring dishonor to the badge of Sheriff by doing this. Sure, there job is tough, and they have a tight budget, but it is their job not the collection agencies to see that those fines are paid.
This next article takes the cake. Those who claim to be unable to make it on the budgets the counties give them are giving a good portion of the fines and fees owed away to a company that was once mired in scandal. You must open this link and read this article. To make matters worse the report indicates that the Sheriff's Association made a nice profit of $4 million dollars in the process. For what? They didn't even so much as lift a finger to collect a penny from these people. This makes them on the side of the criminals instead of the law-abiding citizens.
Then we found that the alleged extortion of citizens by county sheriff's had the support of the bench this article . There is no recourse for the citizens of this state. It has gotten to a point where the justice system in Oklahoma has completely broken down. It is no longer existent. It is truly no surprise that new companies do not care to locate here in Oklahoma.
This next article here is shameful we do support the Sheriff's Association in this matter. The politicians in Oklahoma City, from the Governor to the newest elected Representative, are all guilty of one major crime against the citizens of Oklahoma and the inmates at the various Oklahoma Correction's Department facilities. That is the lack of initiative. The overcrowding and lack of reform is not something that has occurred over the last decade. It has been going on since the 1950's that the oldest member of our staff can remember, yet no one wanted to put a new prison in their backyard until the private prison system came along.
The Department of Corrections has a good part of their funding, $92 million dollars a year, that goes to maintain beds at those facilities in the state. That fee is paid even if the bed is empty. Those private prisons get to select the healthiest, youngest and least violent of these offenders. Doing that alone means the majority of the elderly and ill inmates remain in the Department of Correction's facilities raising the cost. That leaves very little to no money to actually train the inmates who have a chance of getting out a skill that they can use in civilian life. It would be a lot less expensive and a better use of the taxpayer's dollar to train these people in skills they can use. They could start by building additions to the existing facilities. Those extensions would teach the inmate a job skill and possibly a license that they might need to support their family as a lawful citizen. It would also cut down on recidivism rates in the judicial system.
Another problem our elected officials and county sheriffs seem to have is in regards to civil asset forfeiture. Now here is the part where both sides of the argument are going to get mad at us. According to this link ?63-2-503.1., Civil Asset Forfeiture is legal in the state of Oklahoma. We would encourage you to open the link and read it for yourself. Where the problem is, law enforcement has not been in compliance with the state statute which can be found here. It has become so bad in Oklahoma that some states will not allow their state employees to travel through Oklahoma. It is so bad in the Nation that Canada is warning their citizens. How much worse can it get. You are fixing to find out.
This next article we found was this article is very indicative of the high standards of work that Oklahoma Watch org does. It does make the sheriff's and District Attorney's look like they think that we citizens not in the law enforcement community are ignorant. The claim that forfeiture without a conviction just doesn't hold water. We all know that it can be held as evidence until such time as the individual goes to trial. The only ignorance we see here is on the part of law enforcement and legislators buying into this sob story they are being fed. Neither the Sheriff's or the District Attorney's are in compliance with the Oklahoma State Laws when they violate Sec. 63-2-506. Seizure of property. Now if this sounds a little confusing to you claim to be legal experts, you can find what you can and cannot seize here
Now admittedly the money is split between the Sheriff's Department and the District Attorney. However, when a judge orders a property to be sold, by law that sheriff and DA are required to sell it. We ask you to open this link. How in the world did a Deputy District Attorney live in a seized home and have is utilities paid for five years after the Judge ordered it sold? He should be disbarred for that. How in the world did another Deputy District Attorney use seized assets to pay off his student loans? Are we now sending our children off to college to learn how to rip off the tax payers? Where is the money that the tax payers are owed? That is a national disgrace.
This next article must have been a bitter pill for the sheriff's association to swallow. They lost a round as you can see in this link. It's far from being enough. Maybe those people who claim to be legislators need to be reminded that the forfeiture laws are not being followed just like the legislature and Governor are not following the State Constitution. A mandate of every 20 years to hold a State Constitutional Convention has been ignored since 1994. We look to the government as being an unconstitutional body since that time.
In conclusion we can only guess that the corruption of elected officials has now seeped down to the Sheriff's of our state. To them we say clean it up or get out. Do your job and protect the citizens of this state. It's plain to see that a slim few at the State Capital do.and District Attorney's look like they think that we citizens not in the law enforcement community are ignorant. The claim that forfeiture without a conviction just doesn't hold water. We all know that it can be held as evidence until such time as the individual goes to trial. The only ignorance we see here is on the part of law enforcement and legislators buying into this sob story they are being fed. Neither the Sheriff's or the District Attorney's are in compliance with the Oklahoma State Laws when they violate Sec.63-2-506. Seizure of property. Now if this sounds a little confusing to you claim to be legal experts, you can find what you can and cannot seize here