I am posting this open letter published by Sheriff Mike Herrington, Chaves County, NM because it beautifully and succinctly describes the role and duty of the Sheriff, not only during COVID but all the time. It is my desire that we share this letter as a way to educate others and ensure that our Sheriff's understand that it is their duty to protect our Rights, whether it be from criminals or an overreaching government. ~ KrisAnne Hall, JD
Posted by Sheriff Mike Herrington
Duty as Sheriff per the Constitution
May 9, 2020
Since before the birth of America the duty of the Sheriff has been to secure the Rights of the People. This is evidenced by the Sheriff's oath of Office as a promise to the people, to support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of New Mexico and defend them (these Rights of the People) against all enemies whatsoever.
The New Mexico Bill of Rights enshrines to every citizen of New Mexico the Right that all persons are born equally free, and have certain natural, inherent and inalienable rights, among which are the rights of enjoying and defending life and liberty, of acquiring, possessing and protecting property, and of seeking and obtaining safety and happiness; that No person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law; private property shall not be taken or damaged for public use without just compensation.
Every business in Chavez County is essential when the people are dependent upon that income to provide for themselves and their families. It is not the job of government to provide income to the people and New Mexico was built upon the principles of private property ownership, hard work, and self-reliance. To say otherwise is simply ridiculous.
As a Constitutional Officer it is my duty and obligation to defend the Rights of the people against every and all infringements.
The New Mexico Constitution establishes a strict separation of power to ensure the security of the rights of the people and that “The powers of the government of this state are divided into three distinct departments, the legislative, executive and judicial, and no person or collection of persons charged with the exercise of powers properly belonging to one of these departments, shall exercise any powers properly belonging to either of the others…” Furthermore the New Mexico Constitution delegates to the Legislative branch alone full legislative power. For the Governor to issues Orders with the expectation that they be enforced upon the people is in direct conflict with the Constitution of the State of New Mexico and the most violent defiance of the essential principle of separation of powers.
As a Constitutional Officer it is my duty and obligation to defend the Constitution of the State of New Mexico against all violations and abuses of power.
The Sheriff is not a hireling of the State. We do not work for the Governor or the County and we are not beholden to any one person for a paycheck. We are direct Constitutional representatives of the people, we work for the People, and therefore are the highest law enforcement authority in our County. All other law enforcement in the State is subject to the authority of the Sheriff within their county. That authority demands the highest respect for the Constitution and the Rights of the people; to which I intend to defend.
The question here today is whether we overturn 244 years of history and duty of the Sheriff for a new and radical ideology that replaces the duty of the Sheriff to protect the rights of the people and the Constitution of New Mexico with an unconstitutional and unchecked power exercised by a Governor that looks more like a monarch than a servant of the people. I will not stand idly by and watch the lives, liberties, and Rights of the people of Chavez County of New Mexico violated by unconstitutional and unjust pretended authorities.