- Oxford Eagle, Monday, November 24
- Sheriff Sheldon: "Same old, same
- If the tenure of former Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff
Charles "Chuck" Lamar seemed controversial to voters and
residents, it appears that the tenure of his successor,
former Chief Deputy Taylor Sheldon, will eclipse Lamar's
mismanagement track record in short time.
- County officials report a non-stop barrage of
telephone calls, mailings, and in-person visits from
county residents demanding that Sheldon be either
censured or demoted, or in some, cases, fired, for what
they call his "constant harassment." Other residents
claim that Sheldon is "trying to make a statement right
- What many citizens are referring to, complaint
records state, is Sheldon's insistence on arrests each
weekend night for public drunk, usually of a male or
female of college-age walking home at night alone after
the taverns have closed. When these individuals are
stopped they are questioned and invariably taken to the
Yoknapatawpha County Detention Center on Jackson Avenue,
where they are arrested and booked for public drunk. What
follows is a three week wait for a day in court, during
which time the suspect must forfeit his or her driver's
license and agree not to leave the county without
- These conditions are deemed harsh by almost all the
attorneys of Oxford we contacted, and one said he
believed that at the least some of the accused had
grounds for a civil rights violation suit against the
sheriff, for arresting them for being "drunk."
- Because it doesn't seem to matter if one is drunk or
not. This paper has learned that some of these
individuals were later found not guilty in court when
sheriff's department officials were unable to produce
results from a breathalyzer test. Sources from inside the
department say the tests would have shown no alcohol
blood level, and therefore, were conveniently misplaced.
The plan was for the officers to testify in court, but
their entire cases was blown by what they assumed would
be a minor point in the testimony.
- Instead, the traffic court judge, the Honorable
Raymond Wallace III, insisted on the sheriff having some
kind of physical evidence to back his claim that these
individuals were drunk. When Sheldon could not produce
such evidence, these cases were thrown out of court.
- Officials are also refusing to comment further on the
bust of an illegal card room last week. Many critics now
refer to the bust as a "set-up," and a "smokescreen,"
claiming that the entire incident was for show only, and
- Oxford residents have been aware for years of a score
of such small-scale gambling operations -- as well as one
of the largest sports bookmaking operations in the state,
located in a building downtown. The county and city also
have a predilection for drugs, since so many kinds seem
to pass through, due to the large out-of-town presence at
- What has Taylor Sheldon done about these problems?
Nothing. He has turned his head on both fronts, in a time
when crime and criminals consider Oxford and Yoknapatwha
County an easy target, whether your motive is kidnapping,
cults, drugs, murder, or escaping from custody.
- What this paper believes is that Oxford and
Yoknapatawpha County should have a top-to-bottom
shakedown of its law enforcement services-take out the
old, and bring in the new, preferably from out-of-town
and perhaps even from out-of-state. Only then will our
county and city get back to normal.
- It is not normal for our sheriff, who was not
elected, we remind you, to focus all of his energies on
"public drunk" arrests-he does not need to cruise the
Square for an hour each weekend night when he could be
focusing his energy on people driving drunk, or drug
dealers, who continually wheel through the city park
during the night, and the city cemetery, looking to make
- We will continue to monitor Sheriff Taylor Sheldon
and his tenure as Yoknapatawpha County's newest sheriff,
and report on his abuses of power. We believe that to do
so is our right, privilege, and obligation.