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New York

NY Sheriff Refuses to Enforce Governor Cuomo’s Holiday Restrictions: ‘It’s Unconstitutional’

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AUTO RUSH TRANSCRIPT:

>> New York’s governor is not only fighting the virus but counties in his state, limiting private parties to ten people. The sheriff in Fulton county took to social media declaring he would not enforce it. And the sheriff is one of at least three New York state sheriffs now saying they’re not going to enforce the governor’s order. The sheriff joins me now to talk about this. I’m glad you’re with us. I imagine enforcing an order like this is something that would pose some challenges, but also you, of course, have critics saying you should be doing it. You say you’re not going to enforce the order limiting gathering to ten people. Tell us why?

>> I say I can’t enforce the order because I think it’s unconstitutional. To explain why takes a second to explain what he can do. The Constitution and Bill of Rights allows a balancing act for the safety of society and limiting individuals’ liberty. Example, can’t yell fire in a crowded movie theater if that’s not a fire. Government can limit your first Amendment freedom of speech rights. Under case law and the Constitution the governor absolutely has a right to limit how many people can go a bar or a restaurant, wearing a face mask in public buildings, private businesses. He can also limit what time they must close. That’s because he’s got administrative agencies like the state liquor authority, the — the health department. Those agencies issue licenses and have control over private and public institutions and businesses. So he’s allowed to do that especially with a Coronavirus, the cv-1 virus, don’t minimize the loss of people or those that get sick, but under the Constitution the order is vague. Ten or less the most you can have in your private residence. I don’t think that the Constitution allows for the infringement of your own number of, the number of people you have in your own home. I start at that position. So he has authority to do a lot, but not to tell us law enforcement to go into people’s houses and do a count. To get into a house you need probable cause, permission and emergency authorization. None existing. The government has authority under case law to quarantine individuals into their own homes if they don’t stay, get a court order to quarentine them at other locations. Lay out the land a little. My position as sheriff, I took the same oath the government did to support and defend the Constitution of the United States in the state of New York and to vigorously defend that constitution. I don’t take any issue with the governor’s intent. I believe the governor’s intent do what he thinks is best under the circumstances, but as a constitutionally, constitutional officer, I have an obligation to constituents of my count toy follow the law.

>> You feel earnest any about that. Playing devil’s advocate here.

>> Fine.

>> Someone looks at this and will say you have a lot of people in a home, then you’re causing community spread beyond that home. You wouldn’t expect if you were in your home and harming somebody to be able to get legal protection? You know what would you say to an argument like that? You’re not allowed, not permitted because the in your home to harm someone or do a number of things causing danger beyond your home?

>> I like your argument, but you have to remember a couple things going on. First of all, limited to ten or fewer people. A lot of people in various countries and in our state, areas of the country, that may have an extended family living with them. Grandparents. Daughters and sons, boyfriends and girlfriends, parents. What if you have a household with 11 people who live their year round? You have to kick one of those people out, Brianna? Makes no sense logically and indefensible in court. The other component you mention interesting is this — pick a number of ten. What’s the difference between ten and 11? One person? Does one more person make it anymore deadly, the virus? For instance, if there’s 11 people and nobody has if and nobody’s asymptomatic, they’re not going to spread it. Four people, one has it, he or she may spread it to the other three. The numbers are arbitrary and random. What I’m saying is, that I think that it sends a chill to the public and people in my community, they think law enforcement’s going to knock on their door. Count the number of family members and arrest them. We don’t have arrest authority under the executive order. So I think that, have to tell you why I posted it. I bumped into a veteran. Veteran baseball cap and and said to me outside a convenience store, sheriff, my wife and I are arguing about going to the familydinner at my son’s house. 14 of us. My wife is afraid police will come to the house and arrest us. Not going to that. I don’t have authority fining or arresting people with more than 10 in your home. It makes it heavy-handed instead of asking people to comply.

>> But you’re not taking issue with the fact you start getting multiple units, look I don’t think that the spirit of the law is to tackle families where there are 11 people living under a roof. Right? Ar larger groups of people gathering from multiple households. Look, sheriff, I really, really appreciate the conversation.

Rusty Weiss

Rusty Weiss is a freelance journalist focusing on the conservative movement and its political agenda. He has been writing conservatively charged articles for several years in the upstate New York area, and his writings have appeared in the Daily Caller, American Thinker, FoxNews.com, Big Government, the Times Union, and the Troy Record. He is also Editor of one of the top conservative blogs of 2012, the Mental Recession.

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