Libertarian Sheriff

Restoring the Constitution - Taking Back our Police

Vote Libertarian for Tioga County Sheriff This November 5th

Platform and Political Ramblings

Tioga County, and most every other county are facing a drug epidemic that is destroying lives and bankrupting governments. While there is substantial rhetoric regarding the war on drugs and cracking down on heroin and methamphetamine, there rather seems to be an interest in maintaining the highly profitable industry, while giving the false impression that the government is actively combating heroin and meth production, transport, and sale. This false impression can be seen, when cars filled with youths or other “suspicious” individuals are targeted by police and have their civil rights violated in a search for drugs. These users will fill our jail, clog up our courts, and through taxation, local property owners will eventually find themselves paying the living expenses of these unemployable drug convicts.

At the very same time, there are a select number of individuals and locations that are allowed to openly sell drugs for years, often never being busted. Entire neighborhoods can plead to police and prosecutors, and these individuals will acknowledge that there is suspected drug activity at the location and that it is being “investigated.” Unfortunately, many of these investigations seem to be used to protect certain drug dealers as opposed to convicting them. Why are we allowing our neighborhoods to be used as crime incubators for larger police agencies at the state and federal level, in the name of making huge busts on “big players” in the hopes of seizing huge amounts of civil forfeiture funds. We should be preventing these big players from becoming big in the first place, instead of allowing State and Federal police agencies to “farm” them for capital gain and big press. The County Sheriff needs to prevent these types of abuses from happening to Tioga County residents.

So the first step in stopping the heroin and meth crisis is to place enforcement efforts less on the individual users, and more on the dealers. It is also important that as soon as enough evidence to arrest an individual for a serious offense is gathered, that individual should be immediately arrested. We should not be allowing individuals, often of low intelligence, to believe themselves invincible as they get away with more and more brazen criminal activity. While it might look exciting in the newspaper to report on an endless list of serious crimes, it is a practice highly destructive to our communities, and fills our jails and prisons with people that are sentenced to incredibly long periods of incarcerations, when it all could have been avoided through earlier intervention.

It seems evident that there is an effort to concentrate drug money wealth into as few individuals as possible, where it can more easily be extorted, or stolen through traditional theft or through civil and criminal forfeiture. The County Sheriff needs to protect the citizens from these types of immoral behaviors that have become all too commonplace, due to the introduction of large sums of drug money that has had a profound effect on the morality of many of our governing institutions and those who hold positions of power within them.

The answer seems obvious to many, and that would be to legalize these drugs and take away the profit motive that drives the epidemic. Legalization of drugs, and an end to other prohibitions, would bankrupt international criminal cartels, causing them to implode almost overnight. Unfortunately, legalization would have to be done on the federal and state level before it could be incorporated on a more local level. We do not want to be encouraging drug users to move into the county, as due to unfunded mandates, they are an expensive liability on local taxpayers. We should be encouraging drug users not to move into the county, and we should be encouraging residents who want to abuse hard drugs, to move to a different county. This drug epidemic is literally crippling entire generations at much higher rates than polio ever did. The healthcare costs are incredible, and growing at an exponential rate. Unfortunately we have a medical industry that is all too eager to capitalize on this epidemic at the expense of taxpayers and will never offer a solution that will put an end to the money train, rather, they engage in activities that lead to more addiction and higher profits.

Another practice among law enforcement, that does not serve a public good, is using drug dealers facing serious charges to conduct multiple buys on other drug dealers. In theory, this sounds like a good thing, let one dealer go and get three in jail. The problem is that the three people that go to jail are all too often users who were tricked by their very own dealer into making a sale. The three users serve serious jailtime, and the large level drug dealer is allowed to continue to operate. These actions by police are incredibly costly to taxpayers, and they ruin lives. Being a drug dealer, and being a user duped into making a sale are two extremely different things, but the courts will treat them the same. There is a much better way.

Police need to focus on catching real dealers, not trying to manipulate drug users into making a sale to an informant. Drug houses in residential areas need to be shut down as quickly as possible while still respecting the Constitution, and the rights of the accused.

There needs to be a new approach to dealing with drug users. Our jail and courts are clogged with users who don’t need to be there. Some individuals may be a danger to themselves or others, or may be suspected of more serious crimes, but most of these individuals are safe to be released on the street. When an officer discovers drugs in the possession of an individual, the drugs should be confiscated and I would institute a policy whereby, with officer discretion, users who had their drugs confiscated would, in exchange for not being arrested, sign a document acknowledging that an item was confiscated and that the police believe it to be drugs. In the vast majority of cases, the statute of limitations should be allowed to expire on the potential charge. If a person becomes a risk to themselves or others, or they are believed to be involved in other criminal activity, the substances confiscated can be tested, and if found to be illicit, a warrant could be issued for the individual’s arrest.

These confiscation acknowledgments could also be used as evidence before a judge, to secure search warrants on suspected drug houses. Individuals who find themselves accumulating multiple confiscations could be forced to either seek rehabilitation, move out of the county, engage in volunteer work, or face criminal prosecution on one or all of the potential possession charges.

Dealers will either become better neighbors, or quickly move to Broome and Tompkins counties when they realize that public complaints, combined with having known drug users on the property, can lead to immediate police action.

At the same time that we enforce the law and arrest those people who break the law and profit off the drug trade, we must show some humanity and understand the power of addiction and greed. We should work to help change these individuals for the better, not paying to lock them up for half their life. We should offer small time dealers the opportunity to stop selling drugs before we invest money and resources into catching them. If users understand that the book is not going to be thrown at their dealer, they will be more likely to make statements to police against them. The important thing should be reducing harm and addiction, not locking people up for as long as possible.

While the drug epidemic seems to get the most press and attention, the greatest threat facing Tioga County is sex trafficking and underage sexual abuse. The saddest part, is that this epidemic runs hand in hand with the drug epidemic; with generational sexual and drug abuse running rampant throughout the county, with extreme concentrations in certain low income neighborhoods. The Sheriff’s Office does not seem to focus on these issues and on at least one occasion, they openly supported an individual who was running a Christian youth group that was, in reality, a location of truancy, drug use and sales, extortion, theft, check scamming, nonprofit fundraising fraud, and child sex trafficking. It was not until I posted the entire story on Craigslist rants and raves and it went viral, that his organization was shut down. This was done openly and intentionally with full support of the Tioga County Sheriff’s Department who actually assisted this individual in running his criminal enterprise, preventing Owego Police from charging him with crimes, and as it turned out, they were using him as an informant; even while knowing that he was far more dangerous than any of the small time dealers he was setting up.

There is a culture of corruption in Tioga County, and it is hard to miss when you’ve been here long enough. Unfortunately, corruption begets corruption, and we have reached a point where the entire Tioga County has been corrupted by dark criminal elements which not only profit off the drug and sex trade, as well as nearly every other racket ever conceived, they profit off of and become a part of the enforcement against them. They also exploit their power and influence in the highest and lowest places in society and cause mischief and worse on those who they perceive as challenging their position. I found myself the victim of “the machine” when I took an unpopular stance at a Village of Owego board meeting, and later wrote a letter to the editor that was critical of a proposed water deal between the Village of Owego and the natural gas industry, not on the merits of the deal, but on the fact that the board was actually voting to give the Mayor and Village Attorney the power to sign any deal they wanted, they were not actually voting on a specific deal. I was repeatedly arrested on fabricated charges, faced tens of thousands of dollars in fines for a false asbestos “incidental disturbance” charges on a property I owned, and faced years of the scariest, and craziest abuses imaginable, I have filled a book with the harassment that I faced for speaking out to power. If I wasn’t a paralegal and able to represent myself in court and in other proceedings, as well as having the truth on my side, I would have lost everything and likely would have a criminal record. I was shocked how many people approached me, telling me that they also suffered at the hands of the very same people who were terrorizing me.

The Sheriff needs to prevent the County from becoming corrupted. If a Village in the county is years behind in filing its financial records and there is a clear judgement that the accounting methods used do not prevent fraud and the clerk/treasurer will not cooperate with auditors; then law enforcement needs to investigate. The Village of Owego government under the Kevin Millar regime, with Rodney Marchewka who remains Clerk/Treasurer, forged documents in order to cause mischief for me by saddling me with legal fees. Despite showing Investigator Hogan proof that Rodney Marchewka had forged documents involving a property I owned, it was decided that no charges would be pressed against Marchewka because there was no financial gain; despite financial gain not being necessary to secure a charge of fraud or official misconduct. I was upset and later learned that Rodney Marchewka was neighbors and close friends with Sheriff Gary Howard and that it had been decided between them, Judge Boland, Village attorney Robert McKertich, and likely others, that no charges should be filed. It was part of a much larger campaign against me. Marchewka, Millar, and Mckertich would never make a formal motion declaring the property unsafe, which left it in legal limbo, and when I requested audio recordings, they dragged their feet, and in a stunning move, after I got permission from 2 other individuals for copies of their recordings, one of whom was a private citizen, Village Attorney Mckertich and Mayor Millar then demanded that they not give me copies and instead send them to the Village Attorney, where I could then FOIL request them and pay. It would be a month before I got any recordings, and the only one I was given was doctored. It was mindblowing, I sought legal help, and no one would help me; Robert Mckertich, Kevin Millar, and Rodney Marchewka confiscated all of the evidence needed to prove what had happened, and used all of their connections and resources to prevent me from seeking justice. I realized there was nowhere to turn, and I soon found myself victim of even more severe harassment.

It is nearly impossible to be a landlord of multiple properties when you are being targeted by code enforcement, vandals, police, being trolled online and in person, they will even target your tenants. Over the years, the harassment lessened, but it is still a concern, and I made a promise to myself, that I would do whatever I could to right the wrong that was enacted against me, and against so many others as well.

It is so important to have independent, liberty minded people in positions of power within the government. No position is more suited for a libertarian with an axe to grind, than County Sheriff. It is an opportunity to put a check on the Good Ole Boys club that is profiting at the expense of everyone else.

As Sheriff, I would immediately change the focuses of the department, focusing first on victim complaints of real crime, and then focusing on sex and drug trafficking. Sex trafficking can be solved by flooding popular apps, websites, as well as sites on the dark web, with fake ads for child sex, arresting individuals who arrive to try and have sex with the child. Tioga county would soon get a reputation as a place not to solicit kids, eventually other municipalities would catch on, and the online sex trafficking can largely be ended. We should also devote resources to catching minors who attempt to solicit themselves online, we need to simultaneously be prepared to have interviewers who can assess these children and determine their needs and if they are being trafficked or abused. When we encounter legal age prostitutes, we should not press charges on them, rather, we should determine if they are victims of trafficking and use them to help identify potential child victims, as well as keeping investigators abreast to the newest tools and methods that sex traffickers and pedophiles are using to find victims. Encourage the illegal sex trade to help regulate itself and keep minors safe.

There would be an end to the double standard policing. No example is more suitable than the beating of a jail inmate by top officer Monell. Just like with Marchewka, friends of Gary Howard and the rest of the club, are not subject to the same laws; they operate above the law. It took federal intervention for Monell to see a courtroom or a cell; as far as the county was concerned, he was untouchable.

The Sheriff should be rooting out corruption, not covering it up, not protecting it, and certainly not rewarding it.

Fiscal

Focus should be on reducing costs, and reducing the number of county inmates, when safe to do so. We should be encouraging empty space to be filled by federal inmates and other inmate arrangements that increase revenues.

There needs to be an honest assessment of the needs of the county, to determine how many officers we need in the jail and on the streets, while keeping officers, inmates, and the public safe.

Prisoner Treatment

Tioga County has long had a problem with physical abuse of inmates, especially male inmates. The major scandal involving Lieutenant Monell was only the tip of the iceberg. I have spoken with many former prisoners, and the majority of male inmates have either been abused or witnessed physical abuse on another inmate. This is unacceptable behavior which undermines our entire legal system. Most of these individuals have not been convicted and are awaiting trial, they should not be physically abused or threatened with abuse. It seems that a large percentage of the population believes that those convicted of crimes deserve to be physically and sexually abused as part of their rehabilitation; and while I strongly disagree, even those who feel this way must admit that this physical and sexual abuse should certainly not happen before a person has been convicted. Simply being accused of a crime should never merit physical and sexual abuse.

The large portion of the inmates in the county jail who have not been convicted of a crime, and are therefore innocent, should be granted greater freedoms, especially when it comes to contact with the outside world. There are few things scarier than finding yourself alone in jail, unable to reach anyone who can help you. We should be encouraging new inmates to secure bail, not hindering.

The phone system the jail uses should be changed. The current system is overly expensive and inconvenient. This unfairly punishes poor families who want to maintain relationships with incarcerated mothers, fathers, husbands, wives, children, siblings, and close friends. A system can be modestly profitable for the county while still providing fair rates that encourages inmate contact with family.

It is the Sheriffs job to ensure that the jail is safe for inmates and staff, and that Constitutional protections are in place. As Sheriff, I will speak with not only all of our corrections staff, but also with any of the inmates who are willing to talk. I will ensure that Tioga County does not face an inmate rape scandal like Broome County and so many other jails have faced. I will be an independent judge, to ensure that inmates and guards are all being treated fairly, and that civil rights violations do not take place. If any officer, no matter what their last name, or position, without provocation, beats on a handcuffed inmate, they will be charged by my office. Resignation from your position in the Sheriff’s department is not a substitute for criminal prosecution; and Monell is not the only example of this occurring, he just happened to be publicly outed, and federally prosecuted due to a tape that was made public.

2nd Amendment Protections

It is exciting news that there has been growing numbers of legal gun owners in Tioga County and around upstate New York. I will encourage this trend, and will push to keep it affordable and as simple as legally possible to get a gun license in this county.

I commit to not enforcing any gun legislation that is in violation of the 2nd amendment, including the SAFE Act.

Civil Division

The importance of the civil division is often underappreciated by both the public, and the leadership of the Sheriff’s department. The office is entrusted with serving court documents, handling evictions, and many other legal functions. These functions bring in money as well as offer necessary services, some of which can only legally be executed by the Sheriff’s office. The civil department should be more flexible and more responsive to civil demands. Legal proceedings are already incredibly lengthy, without having to deal with a civil division that only offers evictions one day a week, or that take unnecessarily long to serve individuals who are not difficult to serve.

Constitutional Restraints on Policing Powers

It has become far too common for police officers to abuse their positions of authority and violate the Constitutional rights of the citizens who ironically are forced to pay for these violations under threat of violence or foreclosure on their property. The news tends to focus on the more egregious actions by police, such as shootings, rape, beatings, planting of drugs, tampering with evidence, and other major crimes, and these are serious issues that need to be immediately resolved, but there are also smaller Constitutional violations that are largely ignored. Police are unlawfully pulling over vehicles, and searching vehicles without probable cause. It has also become commonplace for officers to threaten arrest or even violence if a consent to search is not granted. If a citizen is minding their own business, and not committing a crime, there is no legal justification for pulling them over. If a car is pulled over for a specific violation, it should not be an opportunity for officers to use high pressure tactics to force a search, or demand that an individual make statements against themselves.

As Sheriff, I will ensure that the entire police force understands their Constitutional restraints and that they respect them.

Constitutional restraints need to also be respected when it comes to conducting surveillance on suspects. Just because certain technology like “stingray” devices which intercept cell phone traffic, may be widely used, they are illegal if their use is not accompanied by a warrant. If the police want to conduct that type of intrusive surveillance on a suspect, they need a warrant.

No Knock Raids

No Knock raids put officers and suspects’ lives at risk. Only in the most extreme situations, where evidence shows that a no knock raid is necessary for the safety of officer lives, should they ever be utilized. These military style raids should be reserved for only the most dangerous and well armed suspects who have proven themselves to be violent, dangerous and unwilling to be taken into custody.

Putting County Residents First

The Sheriff should be working, first and foremost, in the best interest of county residents and taxpayers. Like most counties, we currently have a Sheriff that puts the interests of the New York State Sheriffs Association before that of the residents. The Sheriffs Association pushes an expensive, Albany inspired agenda with many elements that run contrary to the interests of Tioga County residents. While the Association may have great resources for training and many other aspects of policing, the Sheriff must be very careful to ensure that County interests come before that of the State and Feds

Role of the Outsider Sheriff

A large part of the corruption problem is in the close relationships between those in power, and the lack of any outsider. It is nice to be able to help out a neighbor, friend, or relative. We all want to do what we can to help the people around us, and our elected officials are no different. Relationships grow stronger over time, and it has become customary for “well connected” individuals to not face criminal charges for certain criminal actions, while intrusive, over- enforcement continues on the general population, with specific “targeted” individuals and groups experiencing outright harassment.

Certain individuals have taken advantage of this natural human quality, and over time, they have taken advantage of their special privileges at the expense of their fellow citizenry. It is time for a much needed reset. Only an outsider can achieve this goal, and ensure that fairness returns to government and to law enforcement.

Setting the Example for All Law Enforcement Agencies

Tioga County is surrounded by one of the poorest examples of policing.

New York State Police, Troop C was caught up in the largest state police scandal in history. They were copying fingerprints that were supplied by suspects, and planting them at crime scenes. A commission determined that the corruption was rampant and open. While a handful of investigators went to prison for their actions, most who were likely involved, avoided prosecution. To this day, positions of power are filled by current and former officers who were trained in this atmosphere of corruption.

The corruption persists to this day. The New York State Police has become a political powerhouse that provides political and business interests with intelligence, protection, and harassment of opponents.

The Sheriff’s Office must stand independent from the New York State Police and Federal policing agencies. We will support their efforts when they are also in our best interest, and will reject them when they are not.

Protecting Vulnerable Populations

Resources pulled from long term narcotic investigations will be diverted to help vulnerable populations.

The Elderly

We need to have public outreach to our elderly residents residing both and home and in facilities. We need to protect them from fraud and abusive treatment. The Sheriff’s Department should provide education to the elderly about scams, safety concerns, and providing them access to law enforcement where they can report potential criminal activity against them or their peers.

Our Children

Our children, especially those in poorer communities, are at risk of abuse. We need to bridge the gap between the police and the youth, and that starts by police interacting with youth in a positive way, especially in the high school and middle school years. Tioga county should look into starting a Venture Scout Troop, or some other organization that can build connections. The Sheriff’s Office needs substantial outreach with the youth with a focus not on arresting children that break the laws, but intervening at early stages, and giving troubled youths an opportunity to learn from their mistakes without the stigma of an arrest. Often, a conversation with parents, a warning to the child, or some other intervention will solve the problem. Children who use and sell drugs are also a canary in the coalmine, and instead of punishing them so harshly, we should determine where the behavior is stemming from.

Ticketing

The Sheriff’s Department should no longer serve as a money generating tool for Albany. Inspection stickers, expired registrations, speed traps, the list goes on and on. The penalties for these offenses are obscenely high, and they unfairly target the poor. The Sheriff's Department has far more important things to be doing than to enforce inspections stickers, expired tags, and moving violations from safe drivers. The worst part about all the tickets issued, is that money is being taken from local citizens with a small amount going to local government, and the majority being wasted by politicians in Albany.

Another alternative is to create new laws at the county level which set fair penalties for traffic violations. These tickets would be more similar to parking tickets than moving violations, and just like with parking tickets, most of the money stays in the community instead of being diverted to Albany. Individuals could be issued these tickets and would then be able to pay the reasonable fine directly to the Sheriff’s Department, or the citation can be converted into a traffic violation if the ticketed individual so chose, and they could fight the ticket in court through the same process that exists today.

This would keep the streets safer, bring more money directly to the Sheriff’s despite fewer violators, and would prevent drivers from excessive fines and penalties such as those imposed by insurance companies. Keeping money in Tioga County is a top priority, and the current ticketing scheme is pulling money out of poorer communities such as Tioga County, and sending it to Albany where it can be wasted.

Much More to Come!!!!!

Do you have any suggestions or comments? I would love to hear them! Send me a message at JoeBreitwieser@yahoo.com

LEARN MORE ABOUT MY FRAUD COMPLAINT CLICK HERE

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