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Thursday, Jan 09 2014 11:59 AM

'First Look': Sheriff Youngblood talks about state, federal law conflicts

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    Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood discusses conflicts between state and federal law and other topics on "First Look with Scott Cox."

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On Oct. 5, 2013, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill into California law that prohibits law enforcement agencies from detaining people for deportation if they are arrested, except in cases when the suspects are accused of certain major crimes.

The bill -- The Trust Act -- was introduced by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco.

Thursday on "First Look with Scott Cox," Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood talked about the difficult position the state law puts local law enforcement in because it conflicts with federal law.

When a person is arrested, Youngblood said, the person's fingerprints and other information is sent to U.S. officials so they can determine whether the person in custody is wanted for any other crimes or is in the country illegally.

If immigration officials determine the suspect is in the country illegally, they can ask police to hold the suspect for up to 48 hours until U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement can bring them into custody.

"We've been in close communications with ICE a lot more than we were before by phone ... we are trying to comply but if I get pushed against the wall I am going to comply with the (federal) law," Youngblood said.

Simulcast host Scott Cox said he couldn't understand why the governor would put law enforcement in this bind, because most people know that "federal law is the law of the land."

Youngblood said he is working closely with the office of county counsel, trying to come up with a resolution to prevent the department from getting sued.

"It's frustrating," he said.

Touching on a different subject, Youngblood briefly talked about the anti-panhandling ordinance downtown Bakersfield businesses want to get approved. The idea is to ban aggressive solicitation around businesses.

Instead of handing over $1 to a panhandler, Youngblood said buying them a meal is a better choice.

"These folks are making a living out of this," he said.

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