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Dorr claims Osceola County Sheriff's Department can be sued

SIBLEY, Iowa -- In the civil suit between Sibley native Paul Dorr and son against Osceola County, Sheriff Doug Weber, his successors and the Sheriff's Department regarding denial of concealed weapons permits, the Dorrs have filed a brief and some letters in opposition to the defendants' motion to dismiss the case.

The plaintiffs, the Dorrs, refute the defendants' assertion that an Iowa sheriff's department is not a suable entity, claiming there are facts which suggest the department possessed and exercised the authority to grant or deny the permits. Since the defendants denied Osceola County is responsible for designating Weber as the issuing officer and denied the county is responsible for the implementation of state statutes such as the issuance of the permits, the brief states, "...there is at least the possibility that they have denied the authority because the authority resides in the Sheriff's Department."

The brief also refers to a July 10 correspondence from Sibley attorney Daniel DeKoter to Dorr, which states, "I have been retained by the Osceola Public Safety Commission to give legal advice on the issuance of concealed weapon permits...I have advised my client there should be a written permit criteria for the issuance or renewal of concealed weapon permits."

In a letter to Dorr dated July 21, DeKoter states the sheriff will decide what regulations he will issue in light of advice he receives -- that there was never an intention for the Commission to issue regulations.

"Most of your letter seems to be addressed to the point that the Commission cannot issue gun permit regulations, but you are arguing against a straw man," the letter states.

On the meantime, the letter continues, Dorr's application for a permit to carry will be held in abeyance.

The letter Dorr sent to Dekoter, referred to in the July 21 correspondence, was not filed by the plaintiffs.

The brief also brings up the question of who retained DeKoter and is or was paying the fee.

"Presumably Mr. DeKoter was not offering his services for free," it states.

A letter between Dorr and Osceola County Public Safety Commission Chair Jerry Johnson states, "Sheriff Doug Weber advised the Commission that he had retained Mr. (Daniel) DeKoter."

While the defendants argue that Weber's successors cannot be bound by the results of the litigation, the plaintiffs believe any successor should be required to honor it, claiming Weber could simply negate any ruling by resigning.

As of Dec. 23, the defendants have not responded to the latest plaintiff filings.