Judge rules in favor of County Clerk in Sublette County Sheriff case

(Pinedale, Wyo.) - A ruling was issued by Judge Jeffrey Donnell in Laramie concerning the civil matter filed by Sublette County Sheriff Stephen R. Haskell against County Clerk Mary Lankford on February 1, 2016. According to a release issued by the Sublette County Sheriff's Office today, Judge Donnell granted the Summary Judgement filed by attorneys for Lankford on Monday, stating that she was operating within her statutory parameters when she made discretionary changes to budget spending and personnel changes. “It is disappointing, but I respect the decision of the court,” said Sheriff Haskell. Since taking office last year, Sheriff Haskell has experienced ongoing difficulties in maintaining control of certain aspects of his office. “I have had budget items changed without my knowledge, I have had items removed from this office by the previous administration,” he said. “Even after a decision by the commissioners was made about law enforcement-specific grants last February, I still cannot get those files returned to my office. It is a very discouraging situation for everyone.” Attorneys for Lankford, wife of former sheriff Dave Lankford, who Haskell defeated in the last sheriff’s race, argued that she had been acting within her scope of statutory duties when she made personnel and budget changes, and decided how to administer law enforcement grants that had been traditionally held by and administered within the Sheriff’s Office. When asked whether he would pursue a different course of legal action concerning the Sublette County Clerk, Sheriff Haskell replied, “I intend to respect Judge Donnell’s decision in this matter. But I will continue to fight to gain control of the Sheriff’s Office and Sheriff’s Office operations, as I am mandated to do by state law as well as by my own commitment to my sworn duties.” In January, Sheriff Haskell was ordered to turn himself in to face criminal charges alleging that he violated state statutes when he ordered uniforms and equipment items prior to taking his oath of office, a matter that he believed to be settled when he agreed to pay for the items the agency had received by the date of his swearing in. Asked if he felt the criminal action was retaliation for the civil action he filed against Lankford, Sheriff Haskell declined to answer, stating instead, “The real losers in this matter are the citizens of Sublette County. I am confident that in voting Dave Lankford out, our citizens were registering a mandate for change. I will continue to make that change a reality and provide the best level of law enforcement services to the people of Sublette County.” *Feature Photo: Sheriff Stephen R. Haskell. h/t Sublette County Sheriff's Office / Pitchengine Communities * #buckrail #news