Sheriffs call Cuomo’s COVID-1984 mandate unconstitutionally vague and not practically enforceable
November 19, 2020 – BUFFALO, N.Y. – Joining their colleagues in Erie, Fulton, Washington, and Saratoga Counties, the following Western New York officials have stated they have no intention of enforcing the unconstitutional executive order issued by Governor Cuomo limiting gatherings in private residences to 10 persons or less:
- Erie County Sheriff Tim Howard
- Steuben County Sheriff James Allard
- Ontario County District Attorney James Ritts
- Yates County Sheriff Ronald Spike
- Chautauqua County Sheriff James Quattrone
- Wayne County Sheriff Barry Virts
- Schuyler County Sheriff William Yessman
- Genesee County Sheriff William Sheron
- Niagara County Sheriff Michael Filicetti
- Niagara County District Attorney Caroline Wojtaszek
In an ongoing project conducted jointly by the Erie County Libertarian Party and 2ANYS, the sheriffs and district attorneys operating in all 17 counties of the Western District of New York were asked to advise if they will be immediately and explicitly stating that their respective offices will not be enforcing Cuomo’s 10-person cap executive order. Each enforcement official responded as follows:
“I have no plans to utilize my office’s resources or deputies to break up the great tradition of Thanksgiving dinner…this national holiday has created longstanding family traditions that are at the heart of America, and these traditions should not be stopped or interrupted by Governor (Andrew) Cuomo’s mandates.” – Erie County Sheriff Tim Howard (11.13.20)
“The men and women of the Steuben County Sheriff’s Office will not be peeking in your window or attempting to enter your property to count the number of persons at your table on Thanksgiving.” – Steuben County Sheriff James Allard (11.17.20)
“My understanding of the EO is that the remedy is a civil fine, and my office would not be involved in any way in enforcing the Executive Order.” – Ontario County District Attorney James Ritts (11.18.20)
“The Governor’s Executive Order 202.74 limiting gatherings in private homes to no more than 10 people raises many problematic issues for local law enforcement.
Having legal standing is suspect on this enforcement. It appears to be unconstitutionally vague, and not a criminal act, therefore we have no practical way to enforce. Also enforcement raises serious Constitutional questions. Serious issues about the right of people to privacy in their homes, the right to be free from warrantless searches, the right and freedom to assemble, the right to freedom of religious practice, the right to equal treatment under the law, and the right to have criminal conduct clearly defined by law are all implicated by the Executive Order.
Our deputies will not be counting vehicles in driveways, nor peeping into windows to count persons in order to break-up a home gathering.
However, given this pandemic period I encourage all citizens to be responsible, and use their own best judgment on large gatherings in one’s home, and especially on masking, social distancing, and sanitation to stay safe and healthy as they celebrate gathering traditions or not.” – Yates County Sheriff Ronald Spike (11.18.20)
“Thank you for the correspondence regarding one of the more recent edicts from our Governor. I will start by saying as the County Sheriff I took an oath to uphold the US and New York State Constitutions and intend to honor that oath. Therefore, we will not be enforcing the 10 person limit in private residences.
As my fellow Sheriffs have stated – this order would not be constitutional to enforce nor do there seem to be any enforcement measures included in the order. The Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office will not be going into private residences to enforce executive orders – a person’s home is their castle.
As a public servant I will continue to encourage our residents and visitors to recognize the potential dangers of COVID-19 and to practice reasonable measures to keep themselves, their family and loved ones as well as others they come in contact with safe and healthy.
We will continue to respect individual rights and remind people that with every right we have we also have a responsibility to respect other’s rights. We all have a right to be safe and secure, especially in our homes, and we should respect others same right. Now is not the time to be reckless in regards to the pandemic.” – Chautauqua County Sheriff James Quattrone (11.18.20)
“Thank you for contacting me regarding the state’s 10 person cap on gathering on private property. Please see below link: http://waynecosheriff.org/press-releases/sheriff-virts-on-thanksgiving-gatherings.” – Wayne County Sheriff Barry Virts (11.18.20)
“The Schuyler County Sheriff’s Office will not be spying on our citizens, nor counting cars in their driveways. At the present time, there is no crime that will be committed if you have more than 10 persons in your home, and we do not have the resources or the inclination to peek into your homes to see how many people are at the table. I do wish everyone would use common sense, stay home if they are sick, wash their hands frequently, use hand sanitizer and wear masks when appropriate. We wish everyone has a safe, healthy and happy Thanksgiving.” – Schuyler County Sheriff William Yessman (11.18.20)
“We are not encouraging people to have large gatherings in their homes. I want citizens to use their own best judgment and remain safe. We do not have the resources, nor the inclination, to peep into private residences to see how many people are at the dinner table.
The Executive Order raises serious Constitutional questions. Serious issues about the right of people to privacy in their homes, the right to be free from warrantless searches, the right to assemble, the right to freedom of religious practice, the right to equal treatment under the law, and the right to have criminal conduct clearly defined by law are all implicated by the Governor’s Executive Order.
I think that, rather than issuing orders, which are, at best, impossible to enforce, and, at worst, unconstitutional, the Governor would serve the People of New York better if he used his bully pulpit, not to do more bullying, but rather to encourage our citizens to be cautious, use good judgment in weighing risk factors, protect the vulnerable, and enjoy our families and our great gathering traditions only in ways that are safe, until we can get back to normal.” – Genesee County Sheriff William Sheron (11.18.20)
“I appreciate your concern. I have spoken with several media outlets regarding this topic. I will not be enforcing this mandate. Please see the below article from today’s paper with a few more specifics. Take care: https://www.lockportjournal.com/news/local_news/holiday-policing-not-in-the-works-in-niagara-county/article_9c71c97f-6e7e-5b36-8e4f-f114a11a60d1.html.” – Niagara County Sheriff Michael Filicetti (11.18.20)
“I support my Sheriff’s position on this matter. I believe we should all be diligent about masks and personal hygiene during these trying times. Be safe and have a wonderful Thanksgiving.” – Niagara County District Attorney Caroline Wojtaszek (11.18.20)
“It’s about time that county law enforcement leaders finally embrace their rightful function as a check against the governor and legislature, both of which have been overstepping the bounds of their power for decades,” 2ANYS Founder Steve Felano said. “In 2019, when I spoke with numerous sheriffs across the state about embracing public non-enforcement as a means of obstructing the domineering Cuomo regime, all were hesitant because the government money was still flowing to police paychecks and pensions, and George Floyd hysteria had yet to grip the state amid the COVID-1984 authoritarian lockdown.
2020 has dramatically shifted the Overton window regarding how far county law enforcement is willing to go with a public non-enforcement agenda, and I like what I’m seeing. George Floyd hysteria has demonstrated to county sheriffs that progressive legislators hate the police, and sheriffs are well aware that, with a budget hole tens of billions of dollars deep, the bankrupt New York State government will soon begin withholding paychecks and pension payments from officers because the tax-by-force government money train has ground to a halt.
These realities have emboldened county sheriffs to publicly embrace an anti-Cuomo non-enforcement agenda far more readily than they would have just one year ago. This Cuomo resistance among sheriffs will eventually make the jump to public non-enforcement declarations regarding the SAFE Act and many other components of the Albany Civilian Disarmament Agenda. I look forward to accelerating county law enforcement’s transition from COVID-1984 non-enforcement to gun control non-enforcement across New York State and beyond.”
Felano is one of several Western New York plaintiffs, including Erie County Libertarian Party Chair Duane Whitmer, driving a comprehensive lawsuit filed on May 15, 2020 against members of the Cuomo regime. The aggressive legal action cites a myriad of emergency power abuses amid the COVID-1984 pandemic. The lawsuit remains motionless in federal court while spineless judges continue to rubber stamp every instance of executive overreach perpetrated by the Cuomo regime.
2ANYS is New York State’s premier civilian rearmament enterprise securing maximal Second Amendment civil rights by, with, and through The People. At the tip of the spear in the fight against progressive gun control, their innovative strategies expand non-compliance with, and non-enforcement and repeal of, Albany’s imperial disarmament edicts. 2ANYS promotes a strong martial culture across New York State through firearms proficiency development, combat tactics training, and firearms industry events. The enterprise actively educates the public on the immense successes delivered by America’s Second Amendment, and the deplorable suffering imposed by governments that forcefully disarm their citizens. By, with, and through The People, 2ANYS will defeat Albany’s unconstitutional civilian disarmament industrial complex, and pass that victory on to the next generation to defend as their own. Learn more at WWW.2ANYS.COM.