I’m just a bit confused as to why more legal questions aren’t being raised at the state and even local level about the appropriateness of the Sheriff’s Department enforcing certain federal drug laws and not honoring the laws of the state of California instead (Re: “Why Worry,” July 24, 2008).
The issue of state sovereignty and rights versus federal jurisdiction has always been an issue and is a proper area of clarification for the courts, but isn’t Sheriff Hedges an employee of the county, which is under the jurisdiction of the state of California? Wouldn’t that make him primarily responsible for the laws of our state rather than the federal government? I understand that it’s been claimed that they are afraid of federal repercussions to themselves, but if they are that afraid to back the laws of the state that they pledged to serve, maybe they need to be replaced with elected officials that will honor the state voters who elected them. They seem to act as if they are a law unto themselves.
Sorting out state and federal laws and their effects is the venue of the courts, not the Sheriff’s Department. It seems the sheriff and his department has a problem discerning what laws should be followed and where they should direct their efforts, even in their own house. With all the press about suspicious and seemingly unnecessary deaths at the hands of department employees over the years, and current possible improprieties in the Sheriff’s own office itself, it would seem clear where their efforts should go. Instead they seem to be more worried that some federal officer will question whether or not they have enforced a federal law, which is in direct contradiction to the laws of California.
Where there’s smoke there’s fire, only the fire is in the Sheriff’s own office this time, not some medical marijuana dispensary.