The River Cities’ Reader asked the two candidates for Scott County Sheriff to answer 12 questions in advance of the November 3 election. The background information, questions, and answers for incumbent Republican County Sheriff Tim Lane and his Democratic challenger Scott County Sheriff's Deputy Pete Bawden are printed below. Responses are presented in full but have been lightly edited for spelling, punctuation, and grammar. Please see these additional introductory remarks on Why Local County Elections Matter.
COVID-19 Pandemic, Vaccinations & Testing
Background: Congress passed and President Reagan signed into law The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (NCVIA) of 1986 (42 U.S.C. §§ 300aa-1 to 300aa-34). (RCReader.com/y/ncvia) This law shielded vaccine makers from being sued and set up a fund that has paid out over $4 billion to families whose children have been harmed or killed by a vaccine they took. This law was challenged and upheld in the Supreme Court in 2011. (RCReader.com/y/ncvia2)
Meanwhile, global foundations, thought leaders in the vaccine industry and federal health officials have advocated for the concept of a COVID-19 vaccine passport or certificate that proves one has been vaccinated in order to continue employment, access public and private services and businesses, and in order for one's children to attend a public or private school.
Given the blanket immunity that vaccine manufacturers enjoy, and the urgency currently sweeping the nation for a COVID-19 vaccine please answer the following:
Question 1: If local, state or federal health officials decree that Americans must comply with mandatory vaccinations, would you support or oppose such a mandate?
Tim Lane: I would oppose a mandate on a COVID-19 vaccination.
Pete Bawden: No. I do believe it is best for people to be vaccinated, however that is their choice. If schools or employers force vaccinations then that is out of the Sheriff’s hands. If a county wide vaccination rule came out, I would not instruct my deputies to enforce it, but to not enforce it. Passing a law or regulation that requires a person to get a vaccination or any other medical care I believe to go against our rights. Once again, I do believe people should get vaccinated for things like polio and small pox thus far, however that is up to them, not the Sheriff to enforce.
Question 2: If you do support a mandatory vaccination for all or any specific segment of the American populace, for which Scott County citizens qualify, for any reason or under a specified health crisis, please share the source for such constitutional and/or administrative authority (e.g. county, state, federal) to enforce such a mandate, and please include under what type of order or directive (e.g. county board policy, state health department declaration, federal agency guideline) would you require in order to enforce any restrictions of citizens' lawful activities, commerce, education or travel in Scott County, Iowa who do not comply with being vaccinated?
Lane: I would not direct the Sheriff’s Office to enforce such a mandate.
Bawden: I believe the previous answer covers this.
Question 3: Please apply the same specifications from question 2 to a requirement that Scott County citizens must participate in a specific biological test in order to continue their same lawful activities.
Lane: I would oppose mandatory biological testing and would not direct the Sheriff’s Office to enforce biological testing.
Bawden: This is an issue that I do not see the Sheriff having much control over. If for instance, the Davenport Community Schools require all persons in their building to be vaccinated before returning to work that is a policy for their Union or each employee to take up with their employer. If the Sheriff was asked by the Board of Supervisors to make sure people were vaccinated, and it was just a mandate, then no, absolutely not. If the Board of Supervisors passed a Scott County Ordinance and the Scott County Attorney signed warrants for people who were not tested or vaccinated, then I must say I would be having long hard conversations with the Scott County Attorney about the Constitution and see where we end up. An easy answer would be no. I am against mandatory biological testing or any other type of forced medical procedures by the government.
County Sheriff's Authority
Question 4: What office comprises the chief law enforcement officer (LEO) in Scott County, and why?
Lane: The county sheriff of each county represents the chief law enforcement officer of their respective county. This is based on the fact that they are elected by the people to the executive branch of county government, legal history, and origins of the office of sheriff. The county sheriff is also frequently considered the most influential county elected office holder. The origin of the office of sheriff is English common law which was adopted in the United States. There is no known specific court ruling that determines that the sheriff is the chief law enforcement officer but there are court rulings such as the one you provided that are directed towards the authority of the sheriff in their law enforcement capacity. If the sheriff had a superior law enforcement authority, then the decision would be directed to that office. The amount of influence the sheriff has is outside your question but is my opinion based on the National Sheriff’s Association. But, one must also take into account that it is an opinion that is also determined by the location in the country since some locations do not have sheriffs and some have had their duties diminished over time.
Bawden: In accordance with the Iowa Constitution's Distribution of Powers in Article 3, the County Attorney is the chief law enforcement officer in Scott County. The Sheriff is second. That being said, I would work incredibly close with Mike Walton and his successor in making sure the residents of Scott County are properly represented. The Iowa Constitution Article 3 with Distribution of Powers states, “General assembly. SECTION 1. The legislative authority of this state shall be vested in a general assembly, which shall consist of a senate and house of representatives: and the style of every law shall be. "Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Iowa."” This implies that powers to government are by state statutes. Instead of other politicians claiming the “State Code says so,” I believe it is from the State of Iowa Constitution. From there I go to the following state statutes: “331.659 (sic) 331.653 Duties of Sheriff” and “331.756 Duties of County Attorney.” Both were passed by the Iowa General Assembly. I see the law enforcement officer of the County of Scott as including the County Attorney. If one of my deputies files a charge with the court the County Attorney can deny to prosecute. If the County Attorney decides to file a charge, as Sheriff I am required by code to carry the arrest out. This is by code and the State of Iowa Constitution is what sets the precedence. That this is how the powers of prosecution go. The true authority on crime in a county in Iowa is given to the county attorney, not the Sheriff. Now, if your definition of "Chief LEO" of the County is only regarding officers with the ability to arrest, then I would say it is the Sheriff of said county. Chiefs of Police have to answer to municipalities and not the voters. The Sheriff is the only LEO who the people of the community choose. With that standard, then the Sheriff would be the head LEO of the community answering directly to the people.
Background: In the 1977 Printz-Mack v U.S. case, the Supreme Court ruled that the two Sheriffs petitioning the court had standing, and were constitutionally compliant in their refusal to enforce or administer a Federal directive. (RCReader.com/y/mack)
“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.”
Question 5: Given this 1997 ruling, what agreements currently exist between the Scott County Sheriff's office and any of its vendors, suppliers, consultants, grantors, and/or state or federal agencies that waives, or suspends temporarily or in perpetuity, the County Sheriff's authority as a State officer upheld in Printz-Mack v US cited above? (For example, conditions contained in “Certified Assurances” or requirements for obtaining a Homeland Security grant.)
Lane: The Scott County Sheriff’s Office receives grants for the purpose of enforcing state traffic and drug laws from the State of Iowa and the federal government. However, the certified assurances within these contracts do not suspend the Sheriff’s authority in any way. These contracts are reviewed and renewed annually for the amount of the contract and the specific language. A 2019 federal court ruling [City of Chicago v. Barr] barred the federal government from withholding federal funding for failure to cooperate with federal enforcement by local agencies. (RCReader.com/y/sheriff1)
Bawden: Unfortunately, I am only able to get what you have from public records. I do not know the dealings that lead us to where we are with our vendors. I would like to add that I am not a supporter of getting “free” stuff from the federal government. Everything comes with a price even if the price is a deal. I believe Scott County needs to separate itself from commitments to the Federal Government regardless of grants and gifts.
Question 6: Under what circumstances, if any, would you consider ceding the County Sheriff's authority to a state or federal agency appropriate and/or justified?
Lane: I would not consider ceding the authority of the Office of Sheriff to any state or federal agency.
Bawden: Almost none. I will say that if me or one of my Deputies committed a crime and I could not go forward with prosecution I would turn the case over to the State Department of Criminal Investigations to not have any bias in the prosecution.
Scott County Grand Jury
Background: Iowa Rules of Criminal Procedure Chapter 2, section 2.3(4)j(3) requires the Scott County Grand Jury to inquire into “The unlawful misconduct in office in the county of public of officers and employees.” (RCReader.com/y/gj1)
Question 7: When a duly sworn Scott County Grand Jury contacts the Scott County Sheriff for assistance in investigating alleged crimes, and this investigation is independent of the Scott County Attorney's initiative or participation, will you as County Sheriff assist the Grand Jury with such matters as serving and enforcing subpoenas for the Grand Jury's investigation? (2020 Grand Jury list attached.)
Lane: The Sheriff’s office would serve and enforce those subpoenas.
Question 8: If no, why not? If yes, and the Grand Jury's subsequent investigation results in probable cause for an indictment and due process for the accused, will you also enforce the Grand Jury's indictment or True Bill, and arrest and incarcerate the accused, so that due process can ensue?
Lane: If the grand jury comes back with an indictment a warrant would then be issued and served by the sheriff’s office.
Property Rights & Privacy
Question 9: Do you consider an individual's body his/her own private property?
Lane: I consider an individual’s body to be legally the same as their life or person which is constitutionally protected.
Question 10: What is the probable cause standard for obtaining a warrant to search constitutionally protected private property of a resident of Scott County, Iowa, as defined by the US and Iowa Constitutions?
Lane: The constitution protects citizens from unreasonable searches and requires probable cause for the issuance of a warrant. Probable cause for the search is the reasonable belief that a crime has been committed and a specific property contains the evidence or the accused.
Bawden: Probable cause is what is needed to bring a defendant before the courts, and does not mean someone is guilty. It shows that there is reason enough for someone to be a defendant and answer to the courts. The probable cause for a warrant is the information law enforcement has to show a judge who signs the warrant. This information needs to be truthful, current, and sworn under oath before a warrant is signed. Any violation of these requirements will lead to charges under my administration.
Question 11: Under what circumstances is it appropriate and legal to conduct warrantless surveillances or searches, whether physically or virtually upon a Scott County citizen's private property?
Lane: Exigent circumstances such as protecting a person from physical harm.
Bawden: Felony Arrest in a Public Place, Searches Directly Related to a Lawful Arrest, Exigent Circumstances of an arrest. K9 alerts so long as the defendant has not been detained longer than reasonable and the K9 has legitimately kept up on training and K9 certifications.
Question 12: Approximately what dollar amount of the County Sheriff Office's annual budget is allocated to deputies serving notification to employers to enforce court orders for garnishment of wages, specifically associated with unsecured credit card debt collection?
Lane: A rough estimate without a thorough financial audit would be about $10,000 annually. The sheriff’s office collects a fee to serve garnishments to offset the cost to the tax payer.
Bawden: I wish I knew. As a candidate, and not the Sheriff, I am only allowed the same information you have as public record. I will say that as Sheriff the Deputies that carry out this assignment will not be in uniform disrupting business, but in plain clothes and in unmarked cars to not disrupt business as usual. Currently the Deputies in this position are in fully marked patrol vehicles, full Patrol Uniforms, and enter into businesses as agents of the law when this is a Civil issue not a criminal issue. I will have those deputies assigned to this duty back in civilian clothes and civilian cars since this is a CIVIL not criminal arm of the Sheriff's Office.