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Home » Valentine's Day » Cuomo says sheriffs don’t get to ‘pick and choose’ which laws to enforce, but they say it’s impossible

Cuomo says sheriffs don’t get to ‘pick and choose’ which laws to enforce, but they say it’s impossible

On Monday, Governor Andrew Cuomo continued his sharp criticism of sheriffs around the state who say they will not enforce executive orders limiting gatherings across New York.

“It sets a dangerous precedent,” he said during a press conference on Monday. “It’s not up to you. You don’t have that right.”

His executive order calls for gatherings at private homes to be limited to 10 people or less.

DiSanto Propane (Billboard)

Beyond that policy, the Governor also drew criticism when he appeared on a radio show – saying that his elderly mother and daughters would come to Albany for Thanksgiving. A spokesperson for the Governor later clarified, saying that his plans had changed.

The New York State Association of Sheriffs released the following statement:

“We do not know if the governor’s limit on home gatherings to ten individuals is the right number or not,” the organization’s statement read. “That is a decision for science, not us, to make. We do know, however, that the governor has attempted to foist upon local law enforcement an impossible task. How are officers to know, without violating citizens’ right to privacy and other Constitutional rights, how many people are in the home? How are they to determine if the family gathering is to be deemed “essential” or “nonessential”? If twelve people normally reside in the home, are the officers to order two of them to move out? If eleven individuals are found to be present in the home, who is to be charged with violating the order, all eleven or just the last guest to arrive? Or is it only the homeowner who is in violation? Are officers really supposed to arrest guests who don’t stay six feet apart or who fail to have on their face masks during dinner? All of those are serious questions which make it impossible for law enforcement to know how to legally enforce the governor’s order. They are questions that could have been addressed if we had a functioning State Legislature, creating clear and enforceable laws after input from those who would be impacted by them. Instead we are faced with an unenforceable dictate issued without any consultation with law enforcement or the public as to enforceability.”

Sheriffs say enforcement of COVID-19 gathering rules won’t include ‘checking’ on private residences over holiday