Judge rules Pritzker’s stay-at-home order an overreach

A judge in southern Illinois ruled Monday that Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s stay-at-home order to stem the spread of the coronavirus exceeds his emergency authority and violates individual civil rights.

Posted: Apr 28, 2020 12:43 PM

CHICAGO (AP) — A judge in southern Illinois ruled Monday that Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s stay-at-home order to stem the spread of the coronavirus exceeds his emergency authority and violates individual civil rights.

Clay County Circuit Judge Michael McHaney sided with Republican Rep. Darren Bailey, who sought a temporary restraining order against the Democratic governor’s far-reaching executive decree. Pritzker has relied on an April 2 statewide disaster declaration as authority to close schools, shut down nonessential businesses and limit movement by individuals from their homes because of the potentially deadly COVID-19.

Pritzker accused Bailey, a Xenia resident, of being “blindly devoted to ideology and the pursuit of personal celebrity.”

“It’s insulting. It’s dangerous and people’s safety and health have now been put at risk,” Pritzker said. “There may be people who contract coronavirus as a result of what Darren Bailey has done.”

Bailey said he’s trying to protect civil liberties and rejected Pritzker’s criticism. He said state law gives the governor emergency authority for 30 days, but Pritzker last week extended through May what is now a 37-day order. The state’s own pandemic response plan indicates the job now belongs to county health departments, Bailey said.

Pritzker promised “swift” action to overturn the judge’s order, which applies only to Bailey but allows other individuals and groups to challenge the movement restrictions while the highly contagious illness circulates. Bailey said he considered inviting a group of taxpayers to join him but his lawyer suggested a decision would come more quickly if he acted alone.

“We continue now to do what we do best: Live safely, respectfully and ... to take certain precautions, but not to be limited by government,” Bailey said outside the courthouse.

The ruling came the same day House Republicans attacked Pritzker on another front, renewing demands for details on state prison inmates released early because of COVID-19 fears.

Pritzker signed an order earlier this month allowing furloughs for elderly inmates or those with health conditions, who are considered “medically vulnerable” to contracting and spreading COVID-19. Roughly 36,000 people are incarcerated in Illinois facilities and civil rights advocates have raised concerns about inmate welfare.

GOP lawmakers contended their requests for details on how release decisions are made and who’s been freed have been ignored.

“Our concern is that the governor and IDOC are using this pandemic as a way to push their political agenda of releasing inmates, rather than actually looking out for the public safety,” said Rep. Avery Bourne of Morrisonville.

State officials have not been specific on the numbers.

Illinois’ prison population has been reduced by about 1,300 inmates, Pritzker said Monday, but he didn’t specify a timeline or breakdown. He said he would gladly provide the necessary numbers and his spokeswoman suggested contacting IDOC for the information.

But in response to an Associated Press public records request for the names of inmates released because of the pandemic, IDOC provided a link to an online document showing all inmates released since March 1. The list of roughly 3,900 inmates doesn’t include the reasons for their release.

An IDOC spokeswoman didn’t return a message seeking comment Monday.

There have been coronavirus outbreaks at the state’s correctional facilities. State data show 153 inmates have tested positive for COVID-19, with the vast majority at Stateville Correction Center in Crest Hill, where there have been 10 deaths. Overall, 147 corrections employees have also tested positive, with 74 at Stateville.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or modest symptoms, such as fever and cough, that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe life-threatening illness, including pneumonia.

Illinois officials reported 50 new deaths related to COVID-19 Monday, bringing the total statewide death toll to 1,983. The Illinois Department of Public Health also reported 1,980 new cases, for a total of 45,883 in Illinois.

___

O’Connor reported from Springfield, Illinois.

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Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Confirmed Cases: 290373

Reported Deaths: 8845
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook1436345210
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Lake16892487
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Kane13092326
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Winnebago5959149
Madison5698136
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Rock Island299576
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Sangamon241145
Kendall200925
Tazewell177425
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DeKalb157938
Macon154444
Coles146430
Williamson140145
Jackson126124
Clinton116920
Boone112523
Adams112310
Randolph93911
Effingham8702
Vermilion7704
Whiteside74320
Ogle7106
Monroe67416
Knox6703
Grundy6695
Henry6665
Morgan66123
Bureau64111
Jefferson61138
Marion5540
Macoupin5447
Christian53911
Franklin5393
Stephenson5236
Union51524
McDonough48015
Logan4641
Crawford4503
Woodford4246
Fayette4183
Cass39811
Livingston3956
Jersey39215
Shelby3904
Montgomery37213
Lee3711
Iroquois36519
Perry35015
Saline3404
Warren3322
Bond3285
Douglas3127
Wayne2805
Jo Daviess2632
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Carroll2305
Greene22711
Cumberland2175
Hancock2173
Moultrie2143
Jasper2119
Washington2111
Richland2095
Pulaski1801
Fulton1760
Clark1732
White1680
Johnson1560
Clay1540
Wabash1543
Mason1471
Piatt1400
Mercer1395
Pike1281
Menard1251
De Witt1221
Edgar1138
Massac1122
Ford1065
Marshall1040
Alexander811
Scott780
Gallatin732
Hamilton682
Henderson660
Edwards630
Brown610
Calhoun600
Putnam570
Stark552
Schuyler500
Hardin400
Pope291
Out of IL20

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 117450

Reported Deaths: 3580
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion21403766
Lake10618323
Elkhart6667111
St. Joseph6576110
Allen6292203
Hamilton4909109
Vanderburgh371931
Hendricks2747123
Monroe262736
Tippecanoe252313
Johnson2338124
Clark223657
Porter217647
Delaware198562
Cass19549
Vigo184327
Madison168975
LaPorte147441
Floyd138963
Warrick134440
Howard131863
Kosciusko124817
Bartholomew117957
Marshall101224
Dubois99119
Boone98646
Grant93334
Hancock93243
Noble92532
Henry80926
Jackson7689
Wayne76814
Morgan72938
Daviess67728
Shelby67729
Dearborn66528
LaGrange63911
Clinton60914
Harrison58724
Putnam58112
Gibson5305
Knox5259
Lawrence51529
Montgomery51121
DeKalb48711
White48614
Decatur45839
Miami4383
Greene42735
Fayette42313
Jasper3992
Steuben3877
Scott38111
Posey3400
Sullivan33812
Jennings31612
Franklin31125
Ripley3038
Clay3025
Orange28824
Whitley2796
Carroll27713
Adams2743
Wabash2718
Washington2691
Starke2677
Wells2654
Spencer2593
Jefferson2483
Huntington2453
Fulton2412
Tipton22822
Perry22113
Randolph2207
Jay1880
Newton17311
Owen1711
Martin1680
Pike1621
Rush1574
Vermillion1300
Fountain1282
Blackford1203
Pulaski1131
Crawford1080
Brown1043
Parke1032
Benton870
Ohio797
Union790
Switzerland690
Warren401
Unassigned0226