The Sheriff is an important and unique elected position in Louisiana politics. One is selected from each parish and serve four-year terms. The Sheriff is the Chief Law Enforcement Officer of the Parish, “Keeper of the Jail” and Ex-Officio Tax Collector. He is a Constitutional Officer, accountable only to the people of the Parish he is elected from and not beholden to the state or federal bureaucracies.
It is the immense power and influence which for decades led people to look to the Sheriff as ‘a God like figure,’ an unchecked power that could be wielded, both for good and evil. It has been commonly thought and taught in police academies in Louisiana that the Sheriff is only subject to arrest by the Coroner. However, in recent years as the reach of federal authorities has increased we have seen local Sheriffs face trial for federal criminal offenses.
Protecting your Rights
The primary function of government is to protect the rights of its citizens. At the very basic level of government is citizens joining into a union for mutual protection and benefit. If that association doesn’t produce those benefits it fails to serve its purpose and thus becomes a drain on the resources of the group.
Sheriffs across America are uniquely in the best position to protect the rights of its citizens. This was best illustrated in the case of Sheriff/Coroner Jay Printz of Montana and Sheriff Richard Mack of Arizona who sued the Federal Government under the Clinton Administration, won and lived to talk about it. At issue in the case was whether federal authorities could commandeer state and local resources for the enforcement of federal laws, specifically gun control measures. The Supreme Court said that state and local officials could not be compelled by the Federal Government to do its bidding under the Tenth Amendment.
Now instead of being told what to do by the federal leviathan, local Sheriffs accept bribes from the central authority, enter into secret agreements and act in contradiction to the individual rights and liberties of the citizens of their parish. This insanity has allowed the federal government to develop the largest surveillance state in the history of the world spying 24/7 on the activities of law-abiding citizens. It is playing out in almost every urban area across the state and nation, rapidly expanding into rural areas as well.
Following the landmark Supreme Court case Sheriff Richard Mack has led a political movement to educate local Sheriffs and police officials that federal and state government authorities are subordinate to the local authority of the Sheriff. Mack has been labeled by the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center as ‘anti-Semitic’, ‘racist’, ‘extremist’, etc. You know, the character assassination and doxing which is typical of left-wing nuts. The ADL actually spends money to run Google ads for keywords like “Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association” to spread their smear campaign.
The Case of a Local Sheriff
A case in Washington Parish which caught the watchful eye of Citizens for a New Louisiana was decided last year. At issue was the collection of taxes by Sheriff Randy “Country” Seal. In a Petition filed with the 22nd Judicial District Court in October of 2021. Seal claimed that Jason Smith, Nathan Smith, Ellen Donaldson, Walter W. Smith, Dianne W. Smith and Walter Smith Family Farm, LLC were delinquent in paying sales and use taxes totaling $38,609.92 for the period of December 2016 through August 2021. Jason Smith, et al disagreed.
“The gross proceeds derived from the sale in this state of livestock, poultry, and other farm products direct from the farm are exempted from the tax levied by taxing authorities, provided that such sales are made directly by the producers. When sales of livestock, poultry, and other farm products are made to consumers by any person other than the producer, they are not exempted from the tax imposed by taxing authorities.
Sheriff Seal took the position that the term “livestock” is not the equivalent of ground meat or other meat sold directly from the farm. Because the term “livestock products” was not used in the sale, the exemption was not applicable. Jason Smith, et al took the position that the use of the term “farm products” can be found in both Black’s Legal Dictionary and LARS 3:3652, both of which define “farm products” as both “livestock” or a “product of such… livestock in its unmanufactured state, such as… meat”
The Court agreed with the Smith defendants denying the petition of Sheriff Seal!
What can you do?
Situations like these play out across our state daily. Whether it be illegal land grabs or concealment of public records, it is imperative that people in positions of public service, particularly someone who yields such broad discretion and authority as a Sheriff, never lose sight that their fundamental role is to protect the rights of its citizens, NOT INFRINGE UPON THEM!
State Representative Larry Frieman (9/10), keenly aware of this role, made a public statement that had the ruling of Judge Alan Zaunbrecher been counter to the position of the Smith defendants, he intended to introduce legislation clarifying the statutory exemptions which applied to the Smith farm operation. But not all representatives are as proactive as Frieman and willing to take a stand to protect individuals liberties. This is why involvement in politics on a local level is so important and should never be overlooked or underestimated. Seal is a locally elected Sheriff and individuals in Washington Parish have taken notice of that fact, particularly Jason Smith.
Jason Smith, a 22 year veteran of the United States Marine Corps, announced he will be running for Sheriff of Washington Parish. Although Smith has stated he is ‘more qualified’ than Seal it is not known whether he was considering a run for public office prior to being the target of the Sheriff. What the story does illustrate is that anyone can make a difference by standing up to government overreach. Upstanding citizens don’t have to wait for the fire to threaten their underside before standing up and qualifying to run for public office. If you wait too long, you might get burned!