Wyoming Sheriffs Told Federal BATF & IRS Agents To Abide By The Constitution Or Face Immediate Arrest. UPDATED!

Wyoming Sheriffs Put Feds In Their Place.

Immediately Below Is The Internet Embellishment

Followed By

How It Really Went Down!

wyflag.gifHere’s one the mainstream media isn’t going to tell you: County sheriffs in Wyoming are demanding that federal agents actually abide by the Constitution, or face arrest. Even better, a U.S. Federal District Court agreed.

The court decision was the result of a suit against both the BATF and the IRS by Mattis and other members of the Wyoming Sheriff’s Association. The suit in the Wyoming federal court district sought restoration of the protections enshrined in the United States Constitution and the Wyoming Constitution.

November 09, 2011

Guess what? The District Court ruled in favor of the sheriffs. In fact, they stated, Wyoming is a sovereign state and the duly elected sheriff of a county is the highest law enforcement official within a county and has law enforcement powers exceeding that of any other state or federal official.” Go back and re-read this quote.

The court confirms and asserts that “the duly elected sheriff of a county is the highest law enforcement official within a county and has law enforcement powers EXCEEDING that of any other state OR federal official.” And you thought the 10th Amendment was dead and buried — not in Wyoming, not yet.

Sheriff Dave Mattis

Bighorn County Sheriff Dave Mattis spoke at a press conference following a recent U.S. District Court decision

(Case No. 2:96-cv-099-J (2006)) and announced that all federal officials are forbidden to enter his county without his prior approval ……

“If a sheriff doesn’t want the Feds in his county he has the constitutional right and power to keep them out, or ask them to leave, or retain them in custody.”

Bighorn County Sheriff Dave Mattis comments:

“If a sheriff doesn’t want the Feds in his county he has the constitutional right and power to keep them out, or ask them to leave, or retain them in custody.”

“I am reacting in response to the actions of federal employees who have attempted to deprive citizens of my county of their privacy, their liberty, and their property without regard to constitutional safeguards.

I hope that more sheriffs all across America will join us in protecting their citizens from the illegal activities of the IRS, EPA, BATF, FBI, or any other federal agency that is operating outside the confines of constitutional law. Employees of the IRS and the EPA are no longer welcome in Bighorn County unless they intend to operate in conformance to constitutional law.”

The implications are huge:

But it gets even better. Since the judge stated that the sheriff “has law enforcement powers EXCEEDING that of any other state OR federal official,” the Wyoming sheriffs are flexing their muscles.

They are demanding access to all BATF files. Why? So as to verify that the agency is not violating provisions of Wyoming law that prohibits the registration of firearms or the keeping of a registry of firearm owners. 

It appears to me that one office where the Libertarian Party should focus it’s limited resources is County Sheriff. The change that could be made is nothing to laugh at. Meanwhile, there are still a bunch of nuts wasting valuable resources supporting those that seek offices that will never be won.

by disinter

How It Really Went Down!


United States District Court District of Wyoming

Our office has been receiving inquiries regarding the case of Castaneda v. United States, No. 96-CV-099.

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This was a civil case arising out of an alleged entry into an apartment by law enforcement officials in June of 1993. The Plaintiffs, who were staying in the apartment, alleged that the officials violated their civil rights. They filed an action against the United States, unnamed INS agents, Big Horn County, the County Sheriff, and unnamed Sheriff’s deputies.

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The complaint was filed in the Federal District Court for the District of Wyoming in May, 1996. The federal defendants were primarily represented by attorneys with the Constitutional Torts Branch of the Civil Division of the Department of Justice. The County defendants were represented by non-federal attorneys.

The case was settled following a settlement conference in 1997. The court did not rule on Plaintiffs’ claims or any other legal issues in the case.

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After the settlement conference, Big Horn County Sheriff, David M. Mattis, issued a “Policy.” In the “Policy,” the Sheriff purports to impose conditions upon federal law enforcement operations in the County.

We have learned that it has been reported, erroneously, that the court made a legal ruling in the Castaneda case regarding the authority of federal law enforcement officials to conduct operations in the County. There was no such ruling or decision.

Instead, the court simply granted a motion, submitted jointly by all the parties, to dismiss the case because the parties had settled.

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This Court has never issued an order which would serve to limit the lawful activities and duties of federal law enforcement officers and other federal employees in the District of Wyoming.

Furthermore, this Court has never made the comments attributed to it which purports to advise state officers they can prohibit federal law enforcement officers or agents from entering a Wyoming County. Those alleged quotations are utterly false.

Any person who interferes with federal officers in performance of their duties subjects themselves to the risk of criminal prosecution.

William F. Downes
Chief Judge, District of Wyoming 

So as I see it, This case was settled out of court and there was no ruling for or against the matter at hand. Further, if federal officers are in the performance of ‘legitimate duties’ then so be it. However, it is also clear that they must have the Sheriffs permission U.S. Supreme Court Ruling Printz v. U.S. (521 U.S. 898) June 27th, 1997.

— Volubrjotr


The SPOTLIGHT February 7, 2000 Gutsy Wyoming Sheriff Bucks Federal Government

A sherif in Wyoming has initiated new guidelines for federal officials visiting his county which put power back in the hands of the people.

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By James P. Tucker

For more than two years, all federal agents entering Bighorn County, Wyo., have been required to check in with sheriff Dave Mattis and state their intentions.

So far, the few who have ventured into the sparsely populated county have been “cleared” for non-invasive chores.

The requirement that federal bureaucrats need to explain their mission stems from the settlement of a federal lawsuit involving Wyoming citizens and the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS).

INS officials had entered Bighorn County and started a “round up” of what they believed were illegal aliens, the sheriff said. But all those caught in the roundup were American citizens.

After the settlement, “I issued a written policy – that if hey have actions in Bighorn County they must tell me what they are doing,” Mattis told The SPOTLIGHT.

So far, the few who have entered have “not asked to take real actions,” Mattis said.

When asked if he would object to any federal missions, Mattis responded: “I would take it on a case-by-case basis and discuss it.”

While this is a significant precedent for local governments protecting their citizens from heavy-handed bureaucrats, Internet reports calling it a “court decision” and quoting the sheriff saying he can detain federal officials in custody are wrong, Mattis said. While an Internet report was being read to him for confirmation Mattis interrupted, saying: “I’ve seen that.”


A similar report emerged from Tennessee, Mattis said, and keeps surfacing, from people who “Write it the way they want it to be.” Mattis said he has “no idea where it came from” but it originated in Nashville in 1997.

The Wyoming Sheriff’s Association, contrary to Internet reports, is not involved, Mattis said, but “probably some sheriffs are sympathetic.”

But even without Internet embellishments, the Bighorn County action is an encouraging sign that states are reclaiming their traditional roles in our government. Cities, towns and counties are mere political subdivisions of States.

The Supreme Court recently handed down decisions reinforcing states’ rights, such as telling Congress that it has no role in deciding local schools’ “drug-free zones” or requiring state governments to bow to federal age-discrimination laws.

More such states’ rights cases are pending, including whether the federal government can restrict laws against abortions in which the court may reverse its own 1973 “Roe” ruling and the usage of medicinal marijuana.

Meanwhile, congress is talking about “returning power to the states” and passed “unfunded mandates” legislation prohibiting itself from imposing financial burdens and duties on states – such as requiring local governments to pay for federal gun “background checks” on gun owners.*

The Latest Sheriff vs Federal Agents Showdown

Sheriffs Put Feds In Their Place.




A new bill has been introduced in the Montana State Legislature which require the County Sheriff be notified before any federal agents are allowed to enter the state with the intention of carrying out law enforcement actions. The bill provides not only for pre-notification, but the Sheriff must also give consent before federal agents may proceed.


U.S. Supreme Court Justice Scalia


The “supremacy clause” is dealt with in Mack/Printz, in which the U.S. Supreme Court stated once and for all, that the only thing “supreme” is the Constitution itself. Where by the powers, the Sheriff reigns supreme above the president.

On June 27th, 1997, the sheriffs won; in Printz v. U.S. (521 U.S. 898) the U.S. Supreme Court struck Brady down. Associate Justice Antonin Scalia wrote the ruling for the Court, in which he explained our system of government at length. The justly revered system of checks and balances is the key:

“. . . The great innovation of this design was that ‘our citizens would have two political capacities, one state and one federal, each protected from incursion by the other’” – “a legal system unprecedented in form and design, establishing two orders of government, each with its own direct relationship, its own privity, its own set of mutual rights and obligations to the people who sustain it and are governed by it.” (P. 920)

Scalia quotes President James Madison, “father” of the Constitution: “[T]he local or municipal authorities form distinct and independent portions of the supremacy, no more subject, within their respective spheres, to the general authority than the general authority is subject to them, within its own sphere.” The Federalist, No. 39 at 245.


Date: Monday, 4 July 2005, 10:38 p.m.

THE COURTS HAVE SPOKEN! “Any legislation including the Patriot Acts which attempts to compel State Officers to execute Federal Law is unconstitutional. Further, any federal investigational liberties can be forbidden by the States’ highest law enforcement officer. Finally, any attempts by a federal agency to coerce compliance to such liberties can be grounds for arrest of any of their agents who do not comply with the directions of that officer.”



[A quote from the Supreme Court Case below:
“‘[T]he 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.’”]

Case Numbers, links and important ‘snippets’ are all below. Thanks to Adam Selene for his research and for recreating this for us in this most important time:

Attached as appendix “A” is a copy of one of the many newspaper reports citing the case law from the Federal District Court for Wyoming stating that the States top law enforcement officers (Sheriffs) there hold the authority to disallow Federal agents to operate in their counties. The Sovereign right and the top law enforcement officers of any of the other 49 Sovereign States, hold the same authority. This has never been challenged in any higher court, because no grounds will ever be found whereby a challenge by the Federal government can be made.

One issue should be taken into account when using this case as precedent. In this case the State of Wyoming had specific wording in their State Constitution about who was the supreme law enforcement officer of the districts known as “Counties”, that of course being the “Sheriff”. In some states their State Constitution may appoint a different person, and it is necessary to identify who it is. Such a shift of authority to that person does not alleviate the Federal government from the requirement to obey them, should they use their authority. It also does nothing to change or negate any State’s standing as Sovereign in any manner.


March 19, 1848 – January 13, 1929


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Gun Facts

Also attached as appendix “B” are excerpts from Printz ruling of Printz/Mack vs. US (BRADY BILL) Supreme Court of the United States, Case numbers 95-1503 and 95-1478, June 27, 1997.

This case was filed by two Sheriffs, one from Wyoming and one from Montana, when Federal authorities tried to require Sovereign State employees (including County Sheriffs) to uphold federal legislation, under the Brady Bill.

Through this challenge the Supremes ruled it unlawful and reminded the Federal government that previous rulings by the high court had previously forbidden this practice.

The attached excerpts are most appropriate to this matter, because a concentrated program of awarding County Sheriffs either active or honorary U.S. Marshall positions is currently underway, in an attempt to make them subject to federal direction. This is clearly forbidden in the cited ruling excerpts.

What this all boils down to is this:

Any legislation including the Patriot Acts which attempts to compel State Officers to execute Federal Law is unconstitutional. Further, any federal investigational liberties can be forbidden by the States’ highest law enforcement officer. Finally, any attempts by a federal agency to coerce compliance to such liberties can be grounds for arrest of any of their agents who do not comply with the directions of that officer.

Respectfully submitted,

Adam Selene

Freelance Legislative Researcher


Appendix “A”

Sheriff boots Feds from his county

By Phil Hamby

[See note below.]

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 the 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 word “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.

Copyright 1997 The Knoxville Journal


Appendix “B”

Excerpts with emphasis added from:

U.S. Supreme Court



certiorari to the united states court of appeals for the ninth circuit

No. 95-1478.

Argued December 3, 1996

Decided June 27, 1997

“The petitioners here object to being pressed into federal service, and contend that congressional action compelling state officers to execute federal laws is unconstitutional…”

“We have held, however, that state leglislatures are not subject to federal direction. New York v. United States, 505 U.S. 144 (1992). 5 “

“Although the States surrendered many of their powers to the new Federal Government, they retained “a residuary and inviolable sovereignty,” The Federalist No. 39, at 245 (J. Madison). This is reflected throughout the Constitution’s text, Lane County v. Oregon, 7 Wall. 71, 76 (1869); Texas v. White, 7 Wall. 700, 725 (1869)… Residual state sovereignty was also implicit, of course, in the Constitution’s conferral upon Congress of not all governmental powers,but only discrete, enumerated ones, Art. I, §8, which implication was rendered express by the Tenth Amendment’s assertion that ‘[T]he 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.’ “

“The Framers’ experience under the Articles of Confederation had persuaded them that using the States as the instruments of federal governance was both ineffectual and provocative of federal state conflict. See The Federalist No. 15.”

“Our citizens would have two political capacities, one state and one federal, each protected from incursion by the other…The Constitution thus contemplates that a State’s government will represent and remain accountable to its own citizens. See New York, supra, at 168-169; United States v. Lopez, 514 U.S. 549, 576 -577 (1995) (Kennedy, J., concurring). Cf. Edgar v. MITE Corp., 457 U.S. 624, 644 (1982) (‘the State has no legitimate interest in protecting nonresident[s]’). “

“This separation of the two spheres is one of the Constitution’s structural protections of liberty…Just as the separation and independence of the coordinate branches of the Federal Government serve to prevent the accumulation of excessive power in any one branch, a healthy balance of power between the States and the Federal Government will reduce the risk of tyranny and abuse from either front.” Gregory v. Ashcroft, 501 U.S. 452, 457 (1991)…”

“The dissent perceives a simple answer in that portion of Article VI which requires that ‘all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution,’ arguing that by virtue of the Supremacy Clause this makes ‘not only the Constitution, but every law enacted by Congress as well,’ binding on state officers, including laws requiring state officer enforcement…The Supremacy Clause, however, makes ‘Law of the Land’ only ‘Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance [of the Constitution’; so the Supremacy Clause merely brings us back to the question discussed earlier, whether laws conscripting state officers violate state sovereignty and are thus not in accord with the Constitution…”

“The Federal Government,” we held, “may not compel the States to enact or administer a federal regulatory program New York v. United States, 505 U.S. 188 (1992)… We held in New York that Congress cannot compel the States to enact or enforce a federal regulatory program. Today we hold that Congress cannot circumvent that prohibition by conscripting the State’s officers directly. The Federal Government may neither issue directives requiring the States to address particular problems, nor command the States’ officers, or those of their political subdivisions, to administer or enforce a federal regulatory program. It matters not whether policymaking is involved, and no case by case weighing of the burdens or benefits is necessary; such commands are fundamentally incompatible with our constitutional system of dual sovereignty. Accordingly, the judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit is reversed.

It is so ordered. ”

Link to full Syllabus:

[link to caselaw.lp.findlaw.com]

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