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Florida sheriff says he'll jail 'rascal' Tim Cook

Technically Incorrect: Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd says that in his county, if Apple refused to obey a court order, he'd take very simple action.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


Sheriff Judd is ready to lock Apple's CEO in jail.

Fox 13 screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

American society has been infused with a slightly intemperate edge over the last few weeks and months.

Our tolerance levels are dangerously low. Our threat levels are shooting past orange.

While the forces of Trump gird themselves against sudden oncomers, Apple finds itself in a painful battle against the government over the phone issued to one of the San Bernardino terrorists.

The FBI wants Apple to hack it. Apple claims this will create a backdoor, through which many nefarious parties might enter.

Words between the two entities are getting ever meaner. And now a member of law enforcement has threatened to lock up Apple CEO Tim Cook because he's a rascal.

As Fox 13 reports, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd has already passed judgment on Apple's stance.

"You cannot create a business model to go, 'We're not paying attention to the federal judge or the state judge. You see, we're above the law,'" he said earlier this week in a press conference to discuss a recent murder case in which the suspects had taken photos of their victim on their phones.

"The CEO of Apple needs to know he's not above the law," he added.

The trouble, some might say, is that laws written before the motor car, the plane and the Tamagotchi were invented don't necessarily cover the nuances of rapidly developing technology.

Apple didn't respond to a request for comment.

For Judd, this situation is very clear.

"I can tell you, the first time we do have trouble getting into a cell phone, we're going to seek a court order from Apple," he said. "And when they deny us, I'm going to go lock the CEO of Apple up. I'll lock the rascal up."

I had rather thought that Florida has a certain respect for rascals. They're part of Floridian folklore. They're free spirits who do their thing regardless of the potential consequences.

Judd himself is, indeed, something of a folk hero.

He preaches from pulpits in uniform. When once asked why his officers had shot at a suspect 110 times, hitting him 68 times, he explained that it was "all the ammunition they had."

I fear, though, that locking up Apple's CEO may be slightly more complicated that Judd expects. Apple's lawyers are wily sorts.

Though President Barack Obama on Friday offered the view that no one should take an "absolutist" view on the legal ramifications of encryption, it seems that some think the law's view is both clear and absolute.

How odd, though, that a law enforcement official should think of Cook as a rascal. Compared to Apple's previous CEO, he's positively Rascal Flatts to Steve Jobs's Bob Dylan.