Three more New York sheriffs say they won’t enforce Cuomo’s Thanksgiving limit

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New York, NY- Law Enforcement Today recently reported that despite Governor Cuomo’s new lockdown polities, Fulton County’s Sheriff has said he will not enforce the lockdown. 

Governor Cuomo has limited indoor gatherings, specifically targeting New York, to ten people or less in order to try to control the spread of the Coronavirus. 

Recently, Fulton County’s Sheriff, Richard Giardino, said he will not be enforcing Governor Cuomo’s Thanksgiving order, and now three other Sheriff’s from upstate New York have joined Giardino in refusing to enforce the state’s gathering limit on Thanksgiving. 

Update 2

Someone just anonymously emailed and said of course the Executive order doesn’t apply to people who live in…

Posted by Fulton County Sheriff’s Office on Saturday, November 14, 2020

Giardino recently took to Facebook to express his disagreement with Cuomo, saying:

“Frankly, I am not sure it could sustain a Constitutional challenge in Court for several reasons including your house is your castle,” 

He continued to say:

“And as a Sheriff with a law degree I couldn’t in good faith attempt to defend it Court, so I won’t,”

Two days after Governor Cuomo announced his quarantine order, the first one to sound off in definance was Erie County Sheriff Tim Howard, who said his office would ignore the indoor gathering limit.

Another Sherriff to join the refusal, is Washington County Sheriff, Jeff Murphy. Murphy said there will be no Thanksgiving enforcement.

Saratoga County Sheriff Michael Zurlo also said he will not be enforcing Cuomo’s order. 

In a press release, Zurlo said:

“I can’t see how devoting our resources to counting cars in citizens’ driveways or investigating how much turkey and dressing they’ve purchased is for the public good,” 

In response to the Sherriff’s refusing to enforce Governor Cuomo’s orders, senior Cuomo adviser Richard Azzopardi said:

“Politicians acting like politicians and ignoring what the actual experts say has been fueling the spread of this virus [and] is what plunged this country in this continued public health crisis in the first place,” 

He continued:

“We urge everyone to continue to be smart and act responsibly. We know this makes people unhappy, but better unhappy than sick or worse.”

Here is more on Fulton County’s Sheriff, Richard Giardino’s original refusal to comply with Governor Cuomo’s orders.

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New York’s Governor Cuomo has laid down the law when it comes to regulations about how New York residents can celebrate the holidays, but one upstate Sheriff boldly states that his people won’t be enforcing these policies.

Governor Cuomo has mandated a 10-guest limit for private Thanksgiving gatherings.

Richard Giardino, Fulton County, New York Sheriff, gave the following statement:

“With regard to the Thanksgiving Executive Order, the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office will NOT be enforcing it against our County residents. 

Frankly, I am not sure it could sustain a Constitutional challenge in Court for several reasons including your house is your castle. And as a Sheriff with a law degree I couldn’t in good faith attempt to defend it in court, so I won’t.”

Sheriff Giardino has said that Governor Cuomo’s Thanksgiving executive order is overreach and is “scaring the hell out of people.” He also said that what “people do in their homes is private” and not in the purview of law enforcement.

In an excerpt from Giardino’s Facebook post, this caught our attention:

“So don’t feel a need to hide cars, cover with leaves or walk 3 blocks so your house doesn’t become a target of the Governors EO.”

And this:

“We have three patrols a shift for 500 square miles, monitoring Family Dinners aren’t our priority.”

Here’s the post in its entirety:

“I have received numerous calls, texts, messages, posts and emails inquiring about Governor Cuomo’s Thanksgiving Executive Order and whether the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office intends to enforce it.

First, an Executive Order applying directly to citizens for their private conduct is usually not a law in the sense that there are no penalties attached and you can’t be arrested.

Businesses are different.  An Executive Order can authorize the State Health Department, the State Liquor Authority, the State Department of Taxation and Finance and other similar Agencies with jurisdiction over businesses, to write up, suspend or revoke their licenses and\or fine a business for a violation.

With regard to the Thanksgiving Executive Order, the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office will NOT be enforcing it against our County residents. 

Frankly, I am not sure it could sustain a Constitutional challenge in Court for several reasons including your house is your castle. And, as a Sheriff with a law degree, I couldn’t, in good faith, attempt to defend it in court, so I won’t.

Who and how many people you invite into your home is your business, unlike outdoor gatherings which may receive a police response if disorderly or other violations of public nuisance laws occur.

We have limited resources and we have to set priorities, so obtaining a search warrant to enter your home to see how many turkey or tofu eaters are present is not a priority. 

We won’t be doing that.  The only way to enter your residence is if we have a warrant, we are invited in, or an exigent or emergency circumstance exists. We have three patrols a shift for 500 square miles, monitoring family dinners aren’t our priority. 

So don’t feel a need to hide cars, cover with leaves or walk 3 blocks so your house doesn’t become a target of the Governors EO.

I trust people in Fulton County to use their own judgement on who and how many people they invite.  Obviously, if you have high risk family members, you will weigh the risks to your loved ones versus the reward.  Thanksgiving is just that, a time to give thanks for what we have or have received over the year.

2020 has been the most chaotic year for so many people between the CV19, job furloughs, or loss of jobs, interference in education and every other activity. The riots and civil unrest which have cost millions of dollars and damaged or destroyed thousands of businesses and injured multiple people.

The constant barrage of Government Regulations and control over your daily lives has added to mass depression, the exacerbation of other medical conditions due to stress, and the disruption of your normal routine. 

Honestly, in 2020, we have had all the disasters of the 1900s.  A Pandemic (1918-19), a financial depression (1930s) and the civil unrest and riots of the 1960’s.  All this in the last 8 months.  With that said most people want a time to be thankful for the good things we have including family and friends. 

I urge you to use good judgement, wear masks, wash and disinfect frequently, and social distance.  The safety of your loved ones, family and friends should be the priority. 

I personally want to thank all the first responders, medical staff from maintenance thru CNAs to Nurses, Doctors and Admin for what they’ve done.  I want to thank teachers and administrators, store employees, the businesses who have tried to keep the people employed and their business operating.

There truly are a lot more essential services from DPW employees to Gas stations to repair shops.  I know I’m not listing every category, but you get the drift.

I want to thank all the employees in all Divisions of the FCSO for what they do every day.

Fulton County Sheriff Richard Giardino”

Sheriff Giardino added:

“People have enough anxiety in their life without thinking that the police are going to come to their door and check on how many people are there.  But they hear it on TV and think if they add in grandma, they are going to be arrested.”

Criticizing Governor Cuomo is not a new action for Sheriff Giardino.  Earlier this year, he attacked the Governor’s police defunding and bail reform efforts, explaining what they’ve cost New York residents:

“Between the CV19, job furloughs, or loss of jobs, interference in education and every other activity.  The riots and civil unrest which have cost millions of dollars and damaged or destroyed thousands of businesses and injured multiple people.”

Giardino has been accused of having a political battle with the Governor, since Giardino is a Republican and Cuomo is a Democrat.  He responded:

“I don’t view this as political, I view it as common sense.  People have common sense. They are not going to jeopardize family members. They are not going to jeopardize close friends.

Most people respect the masks. … Basically, as a lawyer, former DA and judge, if I got brought into court, I can’t justify it constitutionally. The threat is not so great that we should be limiting who they can have for Thanksgiving.”

Governor Cuomo has issued his orders for the holidays – but we can bet for sure there will be at least a couple of counties in the state where they won’t be enforced.

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