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El Paso County Constables & Sheriff say judge’s virus shutdown order is legal, will be enforced

El Paso County Sheriff's Office vehicle
File/Getty Images
An El Paso County Sheriff's Office vehicle is seen in this file photo.

EL PASO, Texas -- The El Paso County Constable's and Sheriff's Offices on Saturday declared that Judge Ricardo Samaniego's order shutting down non-essential businesses due to a massive coronavirus outbreak would be enforced by their agencies effective immediately in both the county and city.

"The El Paso County Constable’s Office would like to emphasize that the order is valid and enforceable," it said in a statement issued Saturday.

In a separate statement, a spokesperson for the sheriff said, "it is clear that the County Judge’s order is in fact legal and enforceable. As such, the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office will be enforcing all the provisions in the new order."

Both announcements followed a memo from El Paso County Attorney JoAnne Bernal outlining her legal view that Texas state law grants the judge disaster declaration powers, which she said the governor cannot take away.

Samaniego said he imposed his order due to soaring Covid-19 infections, which rose significantly again Saturday morning as county health officials announced a new daily case record of 1,643 as well as an all-time high of El Pasoans hospitalized on ventilators. It was a fact not lost on the Sheriff's Office.

"Covid infections are out of control and continue to skyrocket with no end in sight. We are hopeful that the citizens of El Paso will understand the seriousness of this issue and voluntarily comply with the Judge’s order.  Otherwise enforcement action will be taken," the sheriff's statement said.

The announcements by the Constable's and Sheriff's Offices came a day after the El Paso Police Department had refused to enforce the judge's order, citing an advice letter from the state attorney general questioning the legality of the order. It was unclear how the differing views might impact cooperation between the three law enforcement agencies.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton felt strongly enough in his view that he joined a group of ten El Paso businesses suing the judge over the order, claiming the judge's edict isn't valid because it didn't have the governor's support. Samaniego has said only a court has the authority to overturn his directive, which he doesn't believe will occur.

El Paso Mayor Dee Margo on Friday had encouraged local businesses to stay open and said he wouldn't direct the city police to enforce the judge's order, citing the AG's letter which he had requested. However, the county attorney's legal opinion said Margo is required to follow the judge's directive under state law which makes clear that the mayor is outranked by the judge.

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Jim Parker

Jim Parker is the Director of Digital Content for ABC-7.

Comments

63 Comments

      1. I’ve answered this once before but everything goes on as a normal and just deal with it. You know like every other virus including bird, swine, flu and on and on and on….

        This pandemic is exactly like the muslim fear mongers…’oh my god the big bad muslim boogie man is gonna get us’

        Geeezus man up USA and grow a pair.

          1. Steve’s point is right on. Religious hypocrites using their beliefs to justify their means is counter to the religions original intent. Prime example of Religious hypocrites are the Evilgelical bunch who want a Pussygrabber for president, again!!!

  1. Go, Sheriff Wiles!! Put lives before Politics just like any Sane person would. Fuck Margo and his rich supporters. Mayor Margo is Judge Samaniego’s bitch and will have to follow his orders, and Margo will have to like it!!!!!!

  2. What is surprising is that the state’s attorney is supposed to know the law. Our county attorney had to point it out to him. Paxton has always been a piece of human garbage, but you would think he would have a copy of the Texas Government Code and be able to read it.

    1. Paxton doesn’t know shit about the Law. Main reason why his staff at the AG are trying to get him locked up. Whoever heard of a smart Crook. Trump thinks HE is one. But wait until early next year when his problems REALLY begin.

  3. Totally political.

    Sheriff Gay Blade is unopposed for reelection, he’s a bootlicking (and other stuff) DEMOCRAT, so there you go.

    Smart, honest business owners will simply IGNORE this DEMOCRAT POWER GRAB.

    1. The Peanut Gallery(jamesben)has spoken. Smart business owners will shut their business and stop the spread of Covid19, otherwise Sheriff Wiles will smack them upside the head and knock some sense into their greedy plans.

        1. It makes no difference if the business is open or shut. If all you employees and customers are sick or dead from covid and/or they are afraid to come to work of shop and eat. The pandemic will have to be contained BEFORE businesses can reopen successfully.

          1. ‘If all you employees and customers are sick or dead from covid’

            Good point because all the businesses that are open all the employees are dead and sick.
            WOW….or like Joe would say….Cmon Maaaaaaaaaaan

        1. I seriously doubt the county would come into the city with the intent to hassle businesses. I rarely see a sheriff car in El Paco city. This has to be resolved in court and then if the Judge wins the city will enforce within the city.
          Yes everything is still open.

          1. Really? Oh i forgot, you are hiding in your basement, you wouldnt know whats going on outside

  4. Jamesben/K1DPR/madmike etc are good for thing. Teach the rest of the world what old/bigots/low IQ/ LAZY WHITE MEN sound and look like. Stay at home senoritas with gaping mouths. Shut up and follow orders!

    1. The Racist All Stars are good for something, I just can’t think of what ?????? These guys are the leftover garbage from the 50s when White men were in charge, and the Sheep were nervous.

        1. Mexico is one, Dumbass. And they are not called Third World anymore. That is a Cold War term. They are called Developing countries, or the Global South. You just proved my point about Racist White men by believing all Developing countries are run by people of color. Go back to Mississippi where all others look, think, and speak like you so you can renew your KKK membership.

          1. HUH? Mexico is 3rd world and run by whites?
            They are ranked 15th in in economy, large oil producer and large industrial leader. NOT 3rd world by any stretch of the imagination.

  5. Ux2, Right on!! These Trumptard morons are a bunch of early retirees who spend their free time posting BS on KVIA forums, stuffing their fat faces, and posting it on social media. You’re all pathetic – get a life!!

  6. Madmike/Jamesben/ Jeff Allen/ K1DPR are texting from under the cotton bridge. Tent maggots. Lol. All their family members.kids/grandkids. Meth heads. All white.

    1. Good job. Thanks for the Report. Glad the Sheriff’s Department are doing EPPD’s job. Now get out there and report some more. Oh, and be sure to wear a face mask and keep social distance.

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