Sheriff's office was legally required to hold the funds until the Claim of Exemption was heard and decided against you. Stop dealing with rude clerks and demand to see a supervisor. Have a certified copy of order on claim of exemption with you. Let them know if money is not refunded you will go back to court and get an order compelling sheriff to refund garnished amount.
The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. Attorney is licensed to practice law only in the State of California. Responses are based solely on California law unless stated otherwise.
You could bring an action to get the funds back in State court but the funds may also be held and credited against future witholding.
Disclaimer: This answer does not constitute legal advice. I am admitted in the States of New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts only and make no attempt to opine on matters of law that are not relevant to those three States. This advice is based on general principles of law that may or may not relate to your specific situation. Facts and laws change and these possible changes will affect the advice provided here. Consult an attorney in your locale before you act on any of this advice. You should not rely on this advice alone and nothing in these communications creates an attorney client relationship.