Letter To The Editor: Is Mr. Lucero A ‘Constitutional Sheriff’? Why Not Ask Him?

By KHAL SPENCER
Los Alamos
 
Stephanie Nakhleh painted a grim picture of Sheriff Marco Lucero as being part of an anti-government “…dangerous group of radicals…” called the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association. Of course, most of what we learn from her letter is Ms. Nakhleh’s opinion of CSPOA, and we learn even less about Sheriff Lucero other than that his name appears on several web sites. This tactic to discredit the man is a form of ad hominem attack referred to as the “bad company fallacy” and is reminiscent of McCarthyism. Perhaps instead of inferring the sheriff’s politics, one should simply ask him. He lives here and has a phone number and email address. Not to mention, a stable on North Mesa.

As far as CSPOA, they do have a point, i.e., that there is a growing political movement that is asking whether the Federal government is overreaching its legitimate boundaries. An example of that philosophy in action was most recently seen when the Malheur Wildlife Refuge Liberation Front occupiers were exonerated, perhaps by jury nullification or at minimum, a realization that the charges were a legal stretch by the Feds. As Judge and Professor of Criminal Justice Steve Russell says in the links here, “… Take it from a judge that we have juries to protect us from both overbearing judges and crackpot legislators. When used in the limited circumstances that justify it, jury nullification is the conscience of the community.

As far as CSPOA founder Richard Mack’s philosophy of government? I don’t know enough about it to comment fully, nor am I a fan, but in at least one instance, he and fellow Sheriff Jay Printz had some strong allies. When the Federal Brady Bill was passed in its original form, sheriff’s were instructed to carry out Federally mandated background checks. Challenging the constitutionality of that requirement imposed on local law enforcement, the two sheriffs sued in Federal court. Their opinion, that this was a Federal mandate and could not be imposed on county officials, was upheld by the U.S, Supreme Court in Printz vs. United States. Thus, the idea that the sheriff was the highest ranking law enforcement officer when in the jurisdiction of the county was upheld, at least in that question.

As Carol Clark said in a recent admonishment to readers, let’s keep it civil from now until Election Day. Ad hominem attacks are not civil.

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