Now here is a lawman who recognizes the difference between serving his community and serving his masters. This lawman understands that it is possible to violate the spirit of the law and hurt a community when following laws to the letter.

With the economy soft and thousands of Philadelphians delinquent on their mortgages, Sheriff Green this spring refused to hold a court-ordered foreclosure auction. His move raised eyebrows on the bench and dropped jaws among lenders and their attorneys, who accuse him of shirking his duty to enforce legal contracts.

It also prompted a sweeping, court-endorsed deal, scheduled to go into effect next week, that aims to help homeowners avoid foreclosure. Even as Congress moves forward with a federal plan that could insure up to $300 billion in refinanced mortgages, Mr. Green’s unilateral approach has pushed Philadelphia to the leading edge of local responses to the national crisis.

“More of our neighbors, our families and our friends are falling behind on their mortgages and losing their homes” to foreclosure, the 60-year-old Mr. Green writes in a “Declaration of Neighborhood Stability” on his Web site, “My staff and I watch the suffering every day and witness the heart-wrenching scenes as families lose their primary means of wealth-building and face eviction.”

Look at this quote from the article –

People Are the Law

“It’s not the sheriff’s job to sell houses,” says Deputy Sheriff’s Officer Paris Washington, a veteran of the department and its head of training. “It’s the sheriff’s job to serve the people who elected him. Because he was elected by the people, he has to listen to the people. Aren’t the people the law?”

What a concept? The people are the law. In fact, that is the very heart of the Declaration of Independence, that governments exist and derive their just powers only at the consent of the governed. Now that some of the governed have withdrawn their consent the courts are now forced to work out a plan to aid the homeowners work out an arrangement with the lenders. All this because one lawman and some city council members resolved to hold a moratorium on foreclosure sales. Now these are people that really protect and serve their community. Hurrah!

(hat tip / janice)