From Del. Rick Impallaria:
When a towing company, and this includes police-authorized tows, takes possession of a vehicle, they are required under Maryland State Law to return both the unattached personal property and the vehicle’s tags and registration to the vehicle owner upon request. Unfortunately, they are instead withholding the property and using the threat of fines by DMV over failing to return tags as a method of extorting money from the public. When this occurs, and the victims of these crimes call 911, and are referred to the Harford County Sheriff’s Department, not only does the Sheriff’s Dept. refuse to send an officer to assist, they falsely inform the victim that this is a civil case, and the Sheriff’s Department has no authority over it. This has been the policy of Sheriff Jesse L. Bane for at least two years, possibly longer. Due to his non-enforcement of the law, towing companies have become even more brazen in committing criminal acts against the public.
We will hold a press conference Thursday, December 15, 2011, at 11 am in front of the Harford County Circuit Court, directly across the street from the Sheriff’s Department
Despite all best efforts to compel the Sheriff Bane to uphold his oath of office to protect citizens from theft and extortion by towing companies, the Sheriff has steadfastly refused to enforce criminal theft and extortion law in Harford County.
The case will be tried in the Circuit Court for Harford County on Thursday, December 15, 2011, at 1:30 pm.
Sheriff Bane’s legal arguments as to why he cannot be compelled to enforce these laws are as follows. He is protected by “separation of powers”. The case is not justiciable, meaning that a judge has no power to compel him to enforce law. Victims of thefts allowed by his policy, citizens, and lawmakers have no standing to bring a case against him. He has the right to mislead and misinform the public that these are not criminal matters. He has no authority to regulate or control police towers. The advice and opinion of the Maryland Attorney General on the relevant law means nothing. He claims that he has discretion to blanketly nullify sections of the criminal code as he sees fit by non-enforcement policy.