Hello, my name is Ken, and I am new to this site. I have a question pertaining to the authority of U.S. Marshal and deputy marshal during the 1880's. I believe that I read somewhere that the US marshal/deputy marshal had the authority to strip an elected town sheriff/marshal of his badge, if the sheriff was found incompetent or corrupted. However, I can find no other reference to this. Can anyone tell me if this is true or not? I would be interested in knowing the authority they had over more local small town lawmen.
A good question, and I am sure someone will come along with some references.
I know, watching old re-runs of Gunsmoke, that Matt Dillion spent a lot of time dealing with issues that were not in his jurisdiction.
But, they are great shows anyway.
I don't know what the U. S. Marshals could do about official corruption or incompetence. They probably could step in, in a territory, but certainly not in a state. However, here in Texas the Texas Rangers have that authority even now, if the attorney general orders them to do it.
Well, Thank you both for your replies. I found a U.S. Marshal's historian on the Federal web site and emailed him the same question, along with a few other questions. When I hear back from him, I will come here and share what he says.
US Marshals and their deputies were federal officers and could strip a local sheriff or town marshal of his badge only if that officer was breaking a federal law.
US Marshals had the same power of authority as sheriffs in executing the laws of the United States and many county sheriffs also served as deputy US marshals thus giving them dual power of authority for both local and federal crimes committed in their jurisdiction.