Sheriff Dave Mattis of Big Horn County, Wyoming, Boots Feds From His County

See actual Documentation here


Knoxville Journal, pA1 and A6
August 7-13, 1997

by Phil Hamby

Sheriff Dave Mattis of Big Horn County, Wyoming, said this week that as a result of Case #96-CV099-J, U.S. District Court, District of Wyoming, he now has a written policy that forbids federal officials from entering his county and exercising authority over county residents unless he is notified first of their intentions.

After explaining their mission, Mattis said he grants them permission to proceed if he is convinced they are operating within the legal parameters and authority limitations set forth in the U.S. Constitution.

The sheriff grants permission on a case-by-case basis only. When asked what, if any, repercussions he had gotten from the Feds, he quickly and confidently replied, "None whatsoever." He explained by saying, "They know they do not have jurisdiction in my county unless I grant it to them."

Mattis clarified his position by saying the federal court had ruled then state of Wyoming is a sovereign state and the state constitution plainly states that a county sheriff is the top law enforcement official in the county.

Additionally, Sheriff Mattis contends that the U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 8, clearly defines the geographic territories where the federal government has jurisdiction. Amendment X, he said, states that "the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

Therefore, Mattis thoroughly believes the Feds have very limited powers in any state unless the local high-sheriff allows them to exercise power beyond that which the Constitution provides.

"Put another way," Mattis said, "if the sheriff doesn't want the Feds in his county, he has the constitutional power and right to keep them out or ask them to leave."

Accompanied with other legal interpretations Mattis stands on the definition of the world "sovereign," which is defined by Webster's as "paramount, supreme. Having supreme rank or power. Independent: a sovereign State."

Mattis said he grew weary of the Feds coming into his county and running rough-shod over county residents: i.e., illegally searching, seizing property, confiscating bank accounts, restricting the free use of private lands and other abuses, without a valid warrant and without first following due process of law as guaranteed by the Constitution to every citizen.

As long as Mattis remains sheriff he says he will continue to see to it that the citizens of his county get their day in court.

Mattis went on to say that, to his knowledge, even the IRS has not attempted to seize any citizen's real property, bank account or any other private-owned possessions since he ran the Feds out of his county.

Sheriff Mattis emphasized that he is not a radical man. He said he is only dedicated to protecting the constitutional rights of the citizens of his county.

He added that ordinary citizens are not the only ones bound by and expected to obey laws. Elected officials and government employees at all levels of government are also bound by and should be expected to obey certain laws.

As long as Sheriff Mattis is the high-sheriff of Big Horn County, he seems determined to make sure private citizens and government officials alike act within the law and their designated powers.

Sheriff Mattis came across as a soft-spoken, polite man whose only interest is protecting the citizens he was elected to serve. That being the case, he might be the sheriff for as long as he wants to be.

Sheriff Mattis is hopeful that other sheriffs will assume the same stance.

c. 1997 The Knoxville Journal