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Appeals court orders injunction to halt El Paso County’s shutdown order; AG calls Samaniego ‘a tyrant’

El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego.

EL PASO, Texas -- A state appeals court late Friday found that a lower court erred when it declined to grant a temporary injunction halting El Paso County's shutdown order for non-essential businesses.

The Eighth Court of Appeals sent the case back to the lower court, directing District Court Judge William Moody to impose the injunction.

That means County Judge Ricardo Samaniego's recent orders imposing a shutdown of non-essential businesses and imposing a curfew to slow the spread of Covid-19 cannot be enforced.

A group of restaurant owners and the state of Texas had sued Samaniego and the county, claiming that he overstepped his authority by issuing mandates that conflicted with Gov. Greg Abbott's less-restrictive directives.

In their 2-1 decision, the appeals judges wrote of the conflict, "we conclude the Governor’s order would prevail."

"Pick whatever type of disaster you might, from toxic chemical releases, earthquakes, oil pipelines leaks, to pandemics--and there could be good faith differences of opinion on the proper response," the ruling said. "Because there must be a final decision-maker, the Legislature inserted a tie breaker and gave it to the governor in that his or her declarations have the force of law."

State Attorney General Ken Paxton issued a statement applauding what he called "an outstanding decision" by the appeals court decision and referring to Samaniego as "a tyrant."

Samaniego replied a short time later, saying it was unfortunate that Paxton "finds the opportunity to gloat instead of coming to El Paso to walk along side me by the mobile morgues with 144 El Pasoans; or send his condolences to the families of his 741 constituents who died of Covid-19."

Samaniego said he didn't "believe it would be fruitful" to appeal the case to the Texas Supreme Court, but he vowed "to use my legal authority to do everything possible to protect our community."

While the appeals court struck down the closure of non-essential businesses and the nightly curfew, it left intact the following restrictions which can still be enforced:

  • Business occupancy limits are set at 50%
  • All restaurants must cease all dine-in services by 9 p.m.
  • Gatherings remain limited to no more than 10 people
  • Bars must remain closed
  • Masks remain mandatory in public

You can read the court's full ruling and the statements from Samaniego and Paxton below.

Jim Parker

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



        1. Unlike you alberto, I have two federal retirements and social security, not to mention my federal Thrift Savings Plan has over $900,000, not counting IRA’s and investments. Where as you, are a peasant, living off of welfare and a small social security allowance.

        2. Your idea of a big outing is Taco Bell, because that is all a loser POS like you can afford. You destroyed your future in the early 1970’s, when you got caught using drugs and being a cross-dresser in the Navy.

    1. Oh fero2a aka DanLAnders aka AlbertVelarde (not him) please don’t use God with all your hateful opinions. Just shows your hypocrisy and although I wish you would catch Covid 19 and die, it is just a passing emotion.

    1. Say goodbye to the House and welcome a super majority to the Senate in less than 2 years if Biden even attempts nationwide shutdown. And get ready for Trump..or 2024

    2. From Governor Abbott, today – #COVID19 antibody therapy medicine will be distributed next week to hospitals across Texas.
      It has been shown to prevent hospitalizations in some patients when used before they become very sick, and there will be no cost to patients.

    1. sam the diego is a tired old senile man just like lying biden. They need to be in a rest home for the mentally challenged. Just like alberto pedo muerto and it 25 sick personalities.

  1. Support your local businesses. Dine in, take out, whatever. Then don’t visit the vulnerable or have them visit you for holidays. Stop inviting 12 people over to watch the Cowboys lose because you don’t know where they’ve been. A little common freakin sense goes a long way.

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