Missouri State Senator Jim Lembke has introduced SB 600. The act would amend chapter 544, RSMo by adding one new section relating to the service of warrants by agents of the federal government, requiring them to notify the county sheriff prior to service.
This Bill is identical to SB 85, introduced in 2011 by Senator Lembke. The Bill was referred to the Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee on Jan. 26.
The Bill would add a new section to chapter 544 reading as follows:
For any warrant that is issued by a court of the United States that is to be served within the boundaries of this state, the federal agent responsible for serving the warrant shall, prior to such service, notify the sheriff of the county where the warrant is to be served. Such notification shall be made in person at the office of the county sheriff and shall identify the person subject to the warrant.
Locally, elected sheriffs are accountable to the people who elected them and are supposed to be the chief law enforcement officers of the county, without exception. The primary duties of the sheriff are to keep the peace in the county and to secure and protect the liberties and security of the residents of the county. As a constitutional law enforcement officer, it is her or his responsibility to ensure the liberties of the citizens in the county remain protected. Sheriffs have the authority to “stand in the gap” and interpose when the federal government attempts to enforce unconstitutional acts.
While the bill falls short of sheriffs first legislation introduced in some other states, which would make it a crime for any federal agent to make an arrest, conduct searches or make seizures without first getting written permission for the elected sheriff of the county where the action will take place, it is a step in the right direction. It lacks the teeth of true sheriffs first legislation, but it does establish the primacy of the local sheriff and lays a foundation for further action in the future.
Tennessee and New Hampshire legislatures will consider similar bills in the 2012 legislative session, and the Tenth Amendment Center expects other states to follow suit.
You can track Sheriffs First legislation across the U.S. HERE.