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Fresno Superior Court Calls Sheriff Liar

Today’s Fresno Bee headline — the paper version screamed “Sheriff’s Office under fire” on the front page above the fold — would have been funnier if it were about the Fresno Police Department. They’re the ones who are always shooting citizens.

At any rate, it’s about time the Fresno Superior Court recognized that the Sheriff’s Department is not above lying. I wonder if this will carry over to greater recognition of prevarication in the courtroom by individual officers? (Hahaha! Sometimes I make myself laugh!)

It’s not often you see the Fresno County Superior Court calling it like it is, so when the presiding judge is talking about the Sheriff and says the court should have been “certainly less trusting,” you know things are bad.

According to the Fresno Bee,

Court officials also say that the Sheriff’s Office falsified records once it became aware of not being in compliance with the contract.

The Bee is nothing if not fair and balanced in its reporting on local law enforcement, however, and gave the Sheriff’s Department the opportunity to respond.

[Assistant Sheriff Tom] Gattie said the complaint was investigated by the office’s internal affairs, which found no wrongdoing.

Imagine that. The Superior Court for the State of California, County of Fresno, complains that the Sheriff’s Department not only overbilled them by more than a million dollars, but falsified records to cover this up once it was discovered and when the Sheriff’s Department investigates itself, it finds “no wrongdoing.”

The reports were apparently created by the department’s new hands-off SFR system — the same one they use when writing up investigatory reports in crimes where accused people “consent” to unconstitutional searches of their homes and cars which turn up all kinds of illegal things.

“SFR,” of course, stands for Self-Falsification System. This is what allows internal affairs to investigate and find “no wrongdoing” whenever there appears to have been some wrongdoing. The SFR is not human; it’s just computers. Computers are not moral creatures. Hence, when they can blame the SFR, there is “no wrongdoing.”

Mark my words, next week a follow-up story will no doubt inform us the issue has been resolved: it was all a computer error.

At any rate, the Fresno County Superior Court may wish to take heed. Sheriffs’ Departments do not take kindly to criticism by mere judges.

And lest you wish to comment to tell me “Fresno is not Maricopa,” I can tell you that I was in court two weeks ago when a judge made a suggestion and the bailiff’s response was “No!,” followed by the only slightly less emphatic “That’s not how it’s done.”

Guess who backed down?

And guess who’s going to back down this time?

If nothing else, you’ve got to give Sheriff Mims credit for knowing how to both keep the judges in line and make up for her budget shortfall at the same time.

This “two birds with one shot” approach makes the Fresno Police Department’s need to use multiple bullets to kill one citizen look paltry in comparison.

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