Add Lisa Smittcamp to the list of local law enforcement agencies planning to ignore a nationwide curfew due to go into effect Saturday night.
The Fresno County District Attorney joins Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims and other regional sheriffs in declaring they will not enforce the curfew.
"The order itself lacks instructions on methods, specific laws and enforcement criteria as to whether the governor intends to bring violations of this order to justice in criminal courts," Smittcamp said in a press release. "He does not cite any authority that would allow elected district attorneys to enforce this order if we are presented with a motion to prosecute a violation."
The curfew, announced by Governor Gavin Newsom through the California Department of Health, prohibits "all gatherings with members of other households and all off-residence, lodging or temporary accommodation with members of other households" between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. for "purple" animal counties – this is most of the state.
The curfew extends until December 21st. The order did not specify which gatherings might be illegal, nor did it provide any guidance on penalties.
In her press release, Smittcamp bluntly said that her office "will not bring criminal charges for violating this regulation for criminal offenses or misdemeanors if required by law."
Newsom was heavily criticized this week after it became known that he had attended a birthday dinner with lobbyists, which went against the spirit of his request not to hold such gatherings.
Mims says no
Mims said in a press conference on Thursday that she would not enforce the curfew.
"For example, I haven't seen any data showing that between 10:00 PM and 10:00 PM and 5:00 AM … which causes a large spread of COVID," Mims said. "We don't become criminals out of normally law-abiding citizens do."
The sheriff had not enforced any prior state instructions at home since the pandemic began.
Coincidentally, Mims, Smittcamp and Becerra attended the same press conference Friday morning to announce a major gang breakdown – although each was attending from different locations.
Becerra declined to comment during the press conference to comment on Mim's action. His office later sent an email to GV Wire℠ referring to a July Justice Department bulletin regarding an order for a face mask.
“It is important that all law enforcement agencies in the state adequately enforce state and local public health orders. Understanding that law enforcement has a high level of discretion in performing its duties, including issuing warnings or taking action that may not result in criminal prosecution, as well as a publicly stated, blanket refusal to comply with a lawful order, statute or law Enforcing another applicable law is an abuse of this discretion, ”the order says.
Instead, the state can charge fees
Earlier this year the state got involved in “strike” teams to enforce compliance. Restaurants cited for violating orders received quotes. Smittcamp refused to be prosecuted.
She says if the same thing happens this time, she'll let Becerra handle it.
"If the state of California has more & # 39; strike forces & # 39; "Established with state funds and filing for criminal charges in the County of Fresno, those cases will be referred to Xavier Becerra, the attorney general for the state of California, for review and prosecution," Smittcamp said.
Clovis Police as opposed to the Enforcer Order
The Clovis Police Department issued a statement indicating that they are unlikely to enforce the Order's tenants.
"We will continue to rely on state and regional agencies to enforce their health mandates except in tremendous cases where the state and county fail to act."
On Thursday, the city of Fresno said they would rather voluntarily comply than enforce.
"Given the surge in positive cases we are currently witnessing, and as with other COVID-19 ordinances aimed at protecting the most vulnerable members of our community, the City of Fresno urges our residents to voluntarily adhere to the state limited-stay-at-home Directive. Our law enforcement agency will focus on its regular duties to serve and protect the people of Fresno, ”said Mayor Lee Brand's office.