New Mexico county defies U.S. government over cattle grazing

Reuters – by Joseph Kolb

A rural New Mexico county has voted to defy the federal government and give a rancher’s cattle access to a watering hole fenced off by the Forest Service in the latest dispute over federal control of public land in the U.S. West.

Commissioners in Otero County voted 2-0 on Monday night to authorize Sheriff Benny House to open a gate allowing nearly 200 head of cattle into the 23-acre area despite Forest Service restrictions. A third commissioner was out of town for the vote.  

“We are reacting to the infringement of the U.S. Forest Service on the water rights of our land-allotment owners,” Otero County Commissioner Tommie Herrell told Reuters. “People have been grazing there since 1956.”

But a U.S. Forest Service spokesman said the fence has also been there for decades, protecting a delicate ecosystem surrounding a natural spring as well as an endangered species of mouse from being trampled by cattle.

The dispute is the latest squabble between federal authorities and conservative states’ rights advocates in the West, who want to take back millions of acres of public land from central government agencies.

It comes in the wake of an armed standoff last month between supporters of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and federal land managers who sought unsuccessfully to seize his cattle over his longstanding refusal to pay grazing fees.

Bundy and his allies do not recognize federal authority over the land, which has been cleared of other ranchers’ livestock to protect the habitat of the desert tortoise.

In the New Mexico case, Forest Service spokesman Mark Chavez said an old barbed-wire fence had recently been upgraded in cooperation with the rancher, and allowed room for a watering canal for the cattle without disturbing protected land.

He said the fence allows calves in and out of the area and there were other watering holes on the rancher’s 28,850-acre grazing allotment some 45 miles southeast of Alamogordo.

Herrell said the rancher involved had complained repeatedly to the commission about the fence. The rancher was unavailable for comment on Tuesday afternoon

Chavez said the New Mexico meadow jumping mouse was expected to be listed as an endangered species in June, which would mean those 23 acres would be considered a critical habitat.

“I’ve never seen one of these mice, and the Forest Service claims they caught one last year,” Herrell said.

While Otero County commissioners had given the sheriff approval to obtain a court order lifting the restrictions, Herrell said that House would not act until after local officials meet with the U.S. attorney for New Mexico on Friday.

(Reporting by Joseph Kolb and Dan Whitcomb; Writing by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Jan Paschal)

26 thoughts on “New Mexico county defies U.S. government over cattle grazing

    1. I’m pretty sure thats how it works Bulldog – the Sheriff answers to the County Commisioners (sometimes they’re call Supervisors, etc.) Who, in turn [are supposed to] answer to the people of their Districts – At least that’s the way it was set up – and the DA is/was supposed to be “the peoples” attorney – but that has been corrupted to where they take the peoples money and act as the Executive Branch attorney.

      1. The sheriff is a commissioner. He is the chief commissioner. He, like the rest of the commissioners, are supposed to answer to and do the will of those who elected (hired) them, which includes protecting and defending the Bill of Rights as the absolute supreme law of this land per their oaths of office.

        1. With great respect, Henry – I don’t think so – there may have been times wherein; a Sheriff may have acted [in the capacity] like [or in lieu] as a commisioner – but the duties and possition of the Sheriff are difined and they are clearly differentiated from Commisioners.

          1. no way does a county sheriff need the county commissioners ok to do his job…
            nor the county attorney’s, nor the federal judgeship’s permission, nor any other authority, including all fed gov agencies…He The Sheriff of His county is the top law officer….Period

          2. STFB,
            With respect, I agree that the sheriff answers for his actions, however, as sheriff he was elected to uphold the law and the feds, by locking Americans out of property that they can legally use, have broken the law. The sheriff then has the authority, without consulting the county to ensure that the law isn’t broken. The sheriff wouldn’t consult the county prior to stopping a robbery was my point.

          3. Bulldog, you’re abslutely correct – your additional point specific to what’s happening [BLM. etc] is spot on – the Sheriff “has the duty” to protect, etc – which is his “prescribed” job.

  1. actually, my understanding is of a County Sheriff…he needs nobody’s authority to act………..any person against his actions has to prove in a court of law that he was wrong,,,,then, only then, will what he the sheriff did, be redacted….
    I could be wrong…the elected county sheriff’s have more authority than a sitting Gov…although, that squabble is rarely seen…’s like Henry says…that county sheriff is sworn to uphold the rights of the county citizens in total…and he is the law officer to do that…..the top law officer! Elected, no less!!!!

    1. rbeason – there now exists (in this discusion) a confusion [possibly of terms, knowledge of terms, and/or the actual confusing what may be practiced from what IS prescribed] – it is my position that:
      1. the County Sheriff is “answerable” to the commisioners [who have many powers, including soliciting the DA and Sheriff, and/or immediately enlisting a Private DA to charge the Sheriff, etc. etc. etc.] BUT, the Sheriff’s duties ARE PRESCRIBED.
      2. Moreover; The Sheriff derives “his authority” from his election (local voters) and the “duties prescribed therein”.
      3. He is not “the law” but an “enforcer of THE law” [aka keeper of the peace] that has ONLY the power to arrest [which is a technical transfer to the DA for charging] but not to “charge” [in the same sense as “indict” which is the sole purview of the DA] – many confuse the fact that they got a “ticket”, because, without understanding the legal proceedure, that it serves only as a suggestion to the DA until he approves it [which is usually automatic?]
      Nowhere in the above is any claim (by me) that; the Sheriff “needs” the “ok” of anyone – and for clarification – my statement “he is answerable to the commisioners”; means just that, with the limitations: in the event he were to go astray of his “prescribed duties” [including oath] – and also not eat any daisies.

  2. I do not have a problem with terms….
    an elected county sheriff within his county, is the top law officer, bar none of the county bounds, within which he serves…! Feds, State, or anyone else..
    Period…they are not above him………….can the courts become involved? Certainly….that’s not the discussion is it?

    1. No, rbeason, I agree, that was not the discussion –
      I believe the discussion originated from a confusion of my 1st statement: “the Sheriff answers to the County Commisioners (sometimes they’re call Supervisors, etc.) . . . – it resulted into your responce: “no way does a county sheriff need the county commissioners ok to do his job…”
      Which was not my intended meaning at all – I’ll conceed that it is difficult to express [or even add] legal concepts in this format – and that, I have made mistakes assuming others readily understand me –
      My original thoughts; were that the statement would be understood – and, that it was commonly understood that the Sheriff was the top cop, but, THAT WAS LIMITED TO HIS PRESCRIBED DUTIES – wherein, the Commisioners can move in many powerful directions; IF HE STEPS OUT OF THOSE PRESCRIBED DUTIES – hence “answerable”.
      I think eveyone here is on the same page and same side – and I do enjoy this cite and the folks herein – maybe my use of the word “answerable” [legal] could have been better understood in if were re-explained: “could be forced, and/or confined, to his prescribed duties”

      1. I agree….
        gosh, myself, did not want to add controversy…..
        Sheriff’s of a county are it….big cheese…and the law provides for dealing with their power….All i meant myself….thumbs up…..from me

      2. I’ll see if I can explain this for you.
        Constitutional government works the same at every level, from the local municipality to the federal level. The sheriff is a part of the judicial branch of the county government. He serves the papers of the court and keeps the peace. The commissioners are the legislative branch of the county government. They write and pass ordinances/wannabe laws. As the county is a subdivision of the state, the governor is the executive. He is supposed to enact the laws to be enforced by the people through the courts with the sheriff to keep the peace in the process.
        Of course this is all bullshit because no government, federal, state, county, or local, was supposed to have anything to do with we the people, as we are apart from any administration under the limited powers we grant for the administration of our property, hence our estate for our benefit.
        No government, agent can compel an American national to do anything, only another American national can do so, as only another American national has the constitutional authority to move an Article 3 court in the law of common, which is guaranteed within the body of the accumulation of our Bill of Rights.
        Even the mighty sheriff cannot do shit in reference to property without an order from the court in common, brought forth through an action initiated by an American national. Though the sheriff can act on his own initiative to keep the peace, hence prevent a violent act under his charge as peace keeper.
        As for the DA, this is yet another unconstitutional entity that cannot exist on the same plane as the people’s Bill of Rights.
        Hope this clears it up.

        1. Again, with respect< Henry; your first sentence is correct, however, [@2] the Sheriff is actually [part of the extended] Executive branch (same as the DA) – and then, yes, the Board of Supervisers is "Legislative" – and [therefore] they have the power of oversight [hold answerable] just like our State or Fed [legis] would have great powers (if they wanted to use them) over the Sheriff, DA, AG, or anybody else, etc (which is/was limited to ministerial [lawfully "prescribed"] duties) – IF HE WERE ERRANT IN THOSE DUTIES [which equals over and/or under] – and as I previously Stated; the "legislative" County Board (or any other legislative body) can move by PDA or PAG [special prosecuter] AGAINST [someone in]THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH – this of course is limited to the will of the legislature (remember Ken Starr, etc., etc.) I believe case cites unnecesary at this point, because the rest of your letter seems to generally admonish where our County has gone – which I agree with)

          1. Wrong. The sheriff is a separate office, directly accountable to the people.
            The DA is an unconstitutional agent as it is presumed, according to your analysis, that he can act against an American national without the authority of another American national.
            You might recall, before the communist takeover, a citizen complaint was required before any action could be taken against an American national. The notion of a district attorney was the traitors’ first attempt to build a contractual bridge between the state and the citizen.
            If there was a corpus delicti and no one to sign a complaint for the murder, the sheriff, in his absolute independent status as an officer of the court of the common law, and as murder is a breach of the peace, could act as plaintiff and the court could hire a lawyer to prosecute the case.
            A DA is in the employee of the state, a state actor and has zero authority to have any intercourse in the name of the people as a collective, as the very notion is an affront to the standard set in the 4th Article of the Bill of Rights. The sheriff absolutely is not an extension of the executive.
            The sheriff is one of the people, and as such, stands apart from the rest of the government. It is the sheriff with the necessary group of sovereigns that has the absolute authority to arrest the president or any other government official for sedition and treason.
            You see, our founders set it up so that, by our law, our employees in our government could never touch us, but in the final equation, by our law, we could remove them from the government realm and bring them into the courts of common for prosecution for attempting to exercise any and all unconstitutional authority.
            And of course, no offense.

          2. Henry, I do now, take offense – I’m not sure why you’re doing this (twisting or switching your arguments – my conclusion from re-reading) – your 1st responce [erroniously] claimed that the Sheriff was a commisioner(?) – your 2nd responce [erroniously] claimed the Sheriff was part of the Judicial Branch – now, your claim is the Sheriff(‘s) office is separate and directly accountable to the people – which is true; but not germane to your old arguments or new [gravamen] claim that I am wrong – unless you’re holding on to your claim the Sheriff is not part of the executive branch either – and thats not up for argument; by me anyway, its a matter of [establish’able] fact.
            Further, this discussion did not previously address the Constitutionality of the “DA’s” office [including your related arguments]
            So, how could I be wrong on that??
            And, your last post seems to evade the entire body of Mal Prohibita law and how (you interpret(?) charges are “legally” brought before the Court – then you run to corpus delicti and how the Sheriff could(?) standin as an officer of the Court, as the “peoples” Plaintiff in Common law – That, Henry, is not correct – it is the very body of our foundational law (Common) that actually prohibits the Sheriff from standing in as the “peoples” plaintiff in your example – See; Constitutional prohibitions on “Bills of attainder”; wherein the English allowed just that.

            And I really meant with respect – which I really have for you and your website.

          3. Well here is some more offense for you. You do not understand the system you live in, as there are two systems running parallel. The government has a judicial system, topped off by the Supreme Court. The only authority within this system was for government to judge the actions of government, in reference to the limited powers we the people allotted to them. The government has absolutely no authority to make laws for the people. Our laws were already there.
            You think my argument is wandering and it is because it must in order to clarify. The Bill of Rights are the chains that bind and the locks to those chains exist where the government comes in contact with the people, hence the sheriff, who in their world they would like to have as their commissioner, but he is not, though this is the illusion they have created.
            When I say the sheriff is the officer of the court, he absolutely is, but not of their court, not of the government court, but rather of the common law court, the people’s court, wherein we the people settle all matters of law between ourselves, apart from the government that serves us and is allowed no power over us.
            Under Article 3 of the Constitution, we are provided a building that we pay for in common. From amongst ourselves we elect a sheriff. His office is independent and traditionally he also served as a justice of the peace.
            You do remember the Andy Griffith Show, don’t you?
            Via the 4th Article of the Bill of Rights, through a civil complaint, is the only way the people’s court can be moved. No government agent acting as such can do so. However, the sheriff in his capacity as justice of the peace, can move that court in the absence of a complaint in enforcing the peace. The District Attorney does not exist in the people’s court.
            The last common law courts we had in this country were our justice courts wherein no attorney, hence no foreign agent, hence no DA, could participate. The people’s courts were corrupted and captured. And just like the rest of this sedition, it is the corrupt sheriff/justice of the peace that allowed it. We are SELF-GOVERNING, which means WE GOVERN OURSELVES! When we say government in reference to our employees, it is a misnomer as any pretended authority over the individual by the collective we call government cannot exist. The government is not allowed in our world. In fact it is forbidden. WE ARE SEPARATE AND APART FROM THOSE THAT SERVE US, yet we retain the absolute power to drag any individual from the government into our courts for prosecution for violations of our Bill of Rights, hence the chains that bind, hence the procedures. Article 4 through Article 8 of the people’s Bill of Rights are the procedures for the people’s courts and hence are the common law and are absolutely separate and apart from the government except to exist as the absolute limit to their authority.
            I’m sorry if I confused you, but it is a difficult task to argue with someone beginning in the government’s world in an attempt to bring them to the facts which exist in the people’s world.
            The f#@king DA and no other son of a bitch has any power to decide whose among the people’s complaints will reach the courts. If the 4th Article is satisfied the court moves and the jury is impaneled. The people’s court is the apparatus we use to charge our sheriff who is the officer of the people’s court to enforce the orders of the court, hence the people’s orders as affirmed by the jury of the people.
            You see that’s the difference between a 12 person lynch mob and a 12 person jury who has convicted and then been deputized to enforce their own verdict. It is the procedure, which is the Bill of Rights, which ensures justice and which existed along with the people’s will before the Constitution or any f#@king government.

          4. Henry, the first Attorney General was (I believe) E. Randolf (1789 or thereabouts) he was put there with all his duties “prescribed” and funding, etc., etc. by the very guys that wrote the Constitution – this includes all of his “Districts” etc. AND each of the States did the same thing – with all of their “Districts” (I know it usually is a County, but thats not how it started, etc.) – I’ve never even heard of your argument that a Sheriff could have simultaneously been or was a “Justice of the Peace”
            and yes, I’ve seen Andy Griffith – even the episode where Barney cites the town drunk and bungles the case in front of the “Justice” who wasn’t Andy. I’ve also seen Micah Torrence (Rifleman series) drag desparados in front of the “Judge” and “present” “the incriminating evidence” – I’ve also studied legal cases from the early 1800’s = including some “Territorial law” which gets really convoluted but was held to be Constitutional.
            I’m sorry Henry, but I don’t understand some of your argument.

  3. STFB,
    No need to be apologetic. I enjoyed this exchange with you very much and I do appreciate the fact that you have taken time out of your life in attempting to understand what is the truth about our law. I myself spent ten years of my life in the same quest and what I found in summary was this:
    When the hammers fell on those muskets at Lexington and Concord all government in reference to the free men who fired ceased as the colonial governments were based in the British aristocracy. Some remained loyal to the King far into the conflict. And then in 1776, many of the aristocrats who had served as agents of the King, stepped up to proclaim leadership under the guise of conducting war. There had been no new vote by the people for any new government, formed apart from the British monarchy, there was just free men declaring their rights at the barrel of a gun.
    Then when the war ended, these same aristocrats proposed themselves as the new government. The people who had won the freedom at that point were absolutely free and had to answer to no one but each other. Patrick Henry saw the new aristocracy attempting to become a monarchy under old European contractual law. Of course the aristocracy were offering themselves as servants in taking care basically of the clerking work for a nation.
    The government was to be paper and nothing more, except in the instance of war and providing a currency for the people to conduct free enterprise. All authority in the realms of force ended where the tides ebbed and flowed, which fell under a federal system with a jurisdiction of admiralty to deal with foreign countries and those employed as soldiers serving in the government.
    The only other jurisdiction mentioned in the contract is the civil jurisdiction for the Article 3 courts, which were exclusively to be for the American nationals. Under the admiralty, any action proposed by the government was absolutely foreign to the people. The government could examine its own actions and the agents thereof, take one another to court to examine whether their actions fell within the very, very, very limited powers delegated by the people. And the ultimate decision FOR THE GOVERNMENT is the Supreme Court. The only legislation they could propose or pass had to fall in with their responsibilities in conducting themselves within their limited power within the government.
    Now, we the people had our Title 3 courts, the only government involvement being in the government taking in the tax monies to pay for them and making sure they exist. We elected the judge from among us and he was answerable to us under civil law and had nothing to do with the government and their admiralty.
    Those who would rule us as we put the chains on with the Bill of Rights, planted their own seed with the Commerce Clause, which stated that the government would have power to regulate commerce with foreign powers (sold to us as tariffs to protect us), and states, and Indian Tribes, NOT BETWEEN WE THE PEOPLE. We maintained our free enterprise system, which was outside the government’s control as we maintained the self-governess that we had won at the barrel of a gun.
    Now, as these international elitists always plan far into the future, we move to Franklin Delano Roosenfelt and his New Deal, which was an absolute attack on the people’s sovereignty and our right to be separate from our paper pushers. Now the Commerce Clause was enacted on we the people. And let’s face it, what part of life does not involve the exchange of goods? This is when the communists breached the original agreement and declared that our private contracts under civil law were now under their control under their admiralty jurisdiction, all of this following the confiscation of our gold and the takeover of our currency by foreigners, hence the Federal Reserve.
    Of course all of this was facilitated by the treasonous insertion of the unratified 14th Amendment, which declared by fiat that we the people were now subjects to the government’s will rather than the government being subject to our will.
    This is the point of the original usurpation of our Republic. This is when this war we are fighting today actually began. This is when these treasonous international dirt bags began removing our common law to replace it with commercial law and put us under a rule of admiralty, which is what the King of England was attempting to do when we shot the British out of here the first time around.
    In the simplest of terms, common law is public law for private purposes. Our English common law has been replaced by Roman civil law, which is private corporate collective policy being enforced as public law.
    So here we are again and when the next shot heard around the world goes off, we the people will once again stand free with no government, the only law being the Bill of Rights, which outlines our rights under the law and the procedures to achieve enforcement of those rights and thus justice, freedom, and liberty.
    When a state agent uses unconstitutional power to violate an American national’s rights, it is not a matter for the government and the admiralty. It is a civil issue between two individuals under the civil jurisdiction of the people who can prosecute as individuals for treason and sedition.
    The takeover and removal of our common law is a return to a status wherein we have no petition for our redress, thus we are right back to where we were in 1775.
    I know the law absolute and I can tell you real simply what it is….there is no law, we are at war.
    And yes, Andy Griffith was the justice of the peace. There were several episodes where he put on the robe and held court, right there in the sheriff’s office.
    Again, I have greatly enjoyed this exchange. There is nothing so refreshing as unearthing a treasure that has been so hidden away for so long.
    By the way, case law has never, nor will ever have a place in common law, as we are guaranteed a trial by our peers and no set of circumstances and no set of opinions can ever be the same in any two situations in the minds of 12 free thinking individuals.
    The country is ours as individuals. We are the authority; one of us standing next to a million has equal rights to any one or all put together. This is a Republic with an absolute emphasis on the rights of the individual as unalienable.

    1. Starting @ para 6: (your statement) “The only other jurisdiction mentioned in the contract is the civil jurisdiction for the Article 3 courts, . . ” – you begin to lose me; I believe the original title; “Civil” @ Art 3 [See; intent argument clause w/cites from authors] – included (as it always had) Common, Equity, and Penal [Criminal = Mala in se; enter the AG in here] – later (but not much) reduced, clarified & Codified into Common, Civil and Penal [Criminal] – with all its variations of Civil included therein [Equity, Tort, etc. (even an inclusion for “administrative” added later = another story).
      Then between para 9 & 10 – you skip past a myrid [most] of the Admiralty [include Marshall & administrative law] transgressions during and the 65+yrs after the Civil War [insert; BAR, collapse of Common law Courts, etc., etc. here].
      Those Common law Courts were being abused beyond all recognition (which may have been planned) wherein, the unwashed “ran” to the master for the fix to what may have been created.
      Henry, I agree with quite a bit of what you’ve said, but on certian points I think you’ve jumped to conclusions. – I’ve only been a USFF guy since 1992 (was very very close to R. Quigley until his death in ’07) – before that, had quite a bit of experience [study time] on this subject, but since 1992 I’ve been personally involved [legal cases].
      Many times I’ve run across people citing something that happened (TV, personal experience, etc. etc.) as having “legal” foundation in original law – it doesn’t always work that way – sometimes [See: in re Tommy Tong 1888] it is at the very last Court, and after the “final” decision that the Court is forced back to reality – that they couldn’t even go there; no matter that it has been done that way since before ____. Hell, even Rosa Parks’ case went [on ALL points] against her throughout the Alabama Courts, until the Fed Appellate.
      I agree that our system (legal and otherwise) as been usurped into an “illegal” (maybe even un-fixable) mess.

      1. Now to the matter at hand. You are right, the courts of common law were there to handle every issue that could come up between two American nationals, but it took an American national via a civil complaint for damages or a petition for relief or to prosecute a civil crime, which all crime would fall under.
        No government agent acting as a government agent could move these courts in any way. They created their own administrative courts (which they could do). The difference between a united States court for the district and a United States district court is that the former is common law Title 3 court. The latter is an administrative court, designed to administer a correct contractual decision in reference to the government’s actions in coalition and within the bounds of the limited authority we granted in the contract and with a complete prohibition of any infringements to the smallest degree.
        The Bill of Rights is the representation of we the people in the contract and establishes our absolute and complete authority over the contract. Only we can change the contract. The government officials, acting as government officials, absolutely cannot.
        And as our rights are unalienable, by definition of the word, we cannot even give them away if we wanted to. We are guaranteed our independence and freedom as individuals. When the government took it upon itself to start changing the contract in open infringement on our rights, by breach their powers in the contract ceased to exist and they became illegitimate as did their fraudulent courts, right up to “their” fraudulent Supreme Court.
        What we have is an enemy in occupation, complete with an army they created inside our borders. And we are left with our Bill of Rights and our common law which gives us the right to prosecute justice. We can, by right, charge, issue warrants, arrest, convict, and punish those who, in blatantly breaching the contract, committed unquestionable prima facie treason, sedition, and espionage, resulting in the deaths of united States nationals. These murders have been premeditated, and thus carry the death penalty as would every other charge levied.

        1. I later thought I should have put this (below) in as a reply – directly to you – ’cause this thread is getting old now.

  4. I lost my internet yesterday with the fire here and didn’t know you’d responded (wish I would have opted for that when I signed on this cite – don’t know how to do it now)
    Anyway – Your first paragraph’s explainatory example is exactly correct for most (90%?) of the applied law at the time (given the parameters of an “actual grievance” claimant [corpus delecti]). However, it gets convoluted when the “claimant” is remote (or dead) – this goes back to the Magna Carta’s initial problems – not trying to bring in the Sheriff of Nottingham (which actually acted like your Mayberry example on steroids) – but our law [1780+] was founded on English law [1580+] with a very severe restriction of the “King’s solicitors” [kinda the “general” position of the AG/DA Gov’ment attys’ etc., NOW – but NOT as it was intended or codified in 1780+] who were “prescribed” the [limited] authority to move on those enumerated “grievances” of the people in specific or general (or those unable to stand for themselves [listed crimes, i.e. “criminal law”]- an extreme example of YOUR theory; might have no one to enter a “complaint” for my murder [one of the enumerated things] or to stand in as “agent” for the “propia persona” [me – the dead guy] – allowing the villian to go free –
    no [one to claim] harm = no foul.

    Now if you were to agree with that – we’re on track to enter what appears to be our mutial claims(?) that; nefarious folks phuc’d it up from there – the hows and whys being the only thing at issue.

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