A message from Sheriff Bob Davis
July 30, 2012 - 10:50am — J. Noedel-Publisher
On 7-21-2012 a deputy was dispatched to a motel on the interstate. A man returning from the fair was very intoxicated and the manager wanted him removed. The man was turned over to the care of his wife.
On 07-22-2012 at 3:30 in the morning a deputy was dispatched to the intersection of Hwy E and Hwy V, in reference to a male subject lying in the roadway. The deputy and EMS were able to wake the man who said he was walking home from the fair and just wanted to sleep. The intoxicated man was taken to the county jail until a sober responsible party could pick him up.
On 7-26-2012 a deputy was dispatched to the eastbound rest area on Interstate 70, in reference to a man who was leaning against a tree, and rocking as if he were in pain.
Deputies found the man who said he had been smoking potpourri. On the ground was a soda can with holes poked in it and burnt residue on the top. Beside that was a bag labeled “Scooby Snax Potpourri”. It contains a synthetic illegal controlled substance. The man was issued two citations for Possession of a Controlled Substance, and Possession of Paraphernalia. The suspect refused medical treatment and was released with the citations.
Every day people who are upset about someone or something contact us. Sometimes it’s not criminal in nature but civil. To better understand the law, it is important to first understand the distinction between criminal law and civil law. There are two different types of legal cases: civil cases and criminal cases. In criminal cases, the conflict is generally between the state and a person or persons. In civil cases, the conflict is generally between two or more private parties. In short, criminal cases are "state versus person," while civil cases are generally "person versus person." The usual justification for the civil-criminal distinction is that criminal wrongs (such as murder and stealing) are offenses against public order or the people as a whole, whereas civil wrongs (such as breach of contract) are offenses against private individuals. Civil law protects your individual rights while criminal law protects the rights of society as a whole.
The reason I talk about this is that when a citizen comes into our office wanting to file a complaint about a person they entered into a contract with (verbal or written) we can’t help them, as those types of situations are civil issues. We as law enforcement are restricted from entering into civil litigation. That must be done through a private attorney.
If you enter into an agreement to buy something, have something fixed, or have something built and you are not happy with the result, that would be an example of a civil issue. The conflict is between you and the person(s) you dealt with. If a husband and wife separate without an agreement through the court and one party takes something acquired during marriage, such as a car, and both parties’ name is on the title, that would be a civil matter. However, if someone offered to sell you an item then took your money and never intended to deliver the product it would be a criminal matter. We would investigate and present our findings to the prosecutor for criminal action. Keep in mind we cannot investigate something that occurred in another country and it becomes more difficult once outside our own state. The FBI does have jurisdiction over intrastate commerce but it is very unlikely they will get involved if you don’t receive a toaster you bought on EBay.
A legitimate seller will give you all the details about the products, the total price, the delivery time, the refund and cancellation policies, and the terms of any warranty. This information should be available even if you are buying over the Internet. Remember the saying "buyer beware." If you see a plasma TV that lists for 6,000.00 at the bargain basement price of 800.00 online, it’s not a bargain if you get nothing in return and have no recourse to retrieve your money.
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