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)

Cases: 1608825

Reported Deaths: 27176
CountyCasesDeaths
Cook61448710970
DuPage1040741359
Will874621090
Lake772361061
Kane65993851
Winnebago39106545
Madison38249578
St. Clair35065570
McHenry33116316
Peoria26021362
Champaign25923183
Sangamon24663271
McLean21935208
Tazewell19792326
Rock Island17877346
Kankakee16821235
Kendall15501107
Macon14525244
LaSalle14520275
Vermilion13288190
Adams12718148
DeKalb11695129
Williamson11483159
Whiteside7925176
Jackson772889
Boone761282
Coles7381113
Ogle715787
Grundy702881
Franklin691399
Clinton682098
Knox6677164
Marion6559138
Macoupin649399
Henry624074
Jefferson6086132
Effingham608582
Livingston572896
Woodford555191
Stephenson548889
Randolph530297
Monroe509199
Christian493980
Fulton489670
Morgan488196
Logan478674
Montgomery469276
Lee459558
Bureau428388
Perry415871
Saline411764
Fayette401358
Iroquois395873
McDonough356256
Jersey323153
Shelby315643
Douglas307336
Crawford306030
Lawrence301931
Union297147
Wayne274657
White266830
Richland263255
Hancock258434
Pike256856
Clark251938
Cass251528
Bond244424
Clay240747
Edgar236345
Ford235656
Warren226061
Carroll225837
Johnson214424
Moultrie212431
Jo Daviess206926
Washington206227
Wabash201616
Greene200939
Mason200151
Massac199544
De Witt196330
Piatt191414
Mercer191234
Cumberland179325
Menard159812
Jasper153118
Marshall134921
Hamilton129521
Brown10198
Pulaski98711
Schuyler9728
Edwards96615
Stark77027
Gallatin7496
Scott6975
Alexander67811
Henderson65614
Calhoun6452
Hardin56114
Putnam5454
Pope4845
Unassigned1892432
Out of IL80

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Cases: 944708

Reported Deaths: 15343
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1287051987
Lake634321097
Allen53759760
Hamilton43980448
St. Joseph42010590
Elkhart33651491
Vanderburgh30486449
Tippecanoe26872250
Johnson23685417
Hendricks22354341
Porter21799347
Clark17493231
Madison17439384
Vigo16209284
Monroe14515191
LaPorte14350239
Delaware14134222
Howard13921273
Kosciusko11448135
Hancock10886166
Warrick10715177
Bartholomew10589169
Floyd10471206
Wayne10020226
Grant9165204
Morgan8895160
Boone8417111
Dubois7748123
Dearborn764990
Henry7648130
Noble7435101
Marshall7384128
Cass7209117
Lawrence6999153
Shelby6616111
Jackson659186
Gibson6177107
Harrison606286
Huntington603195
Montgomery5830105
DeKalb578391
Knox5506104
Miami545788
Putnam540568
Clinton535965
Whitley526553
Steuben499768
Wabash486292
Jasper481860
Jefferson472892
Ripley456077
Adams445568
Daviess4209108
Scott407965
White392957
Clay392857
Greene390592
Wells388784
Decatur385996
Fayette377278
Posey361541
Jennings354356
Washington333747
LaGrange323575
Spencer319536
Fountain317955
Randolph314889
Sullivan308449
Owen284863
Starke281464
Fulton280054
Orange276859
Jay256338
Perry252552
Carroll244929
Franklin240538
Rush235630
Vermillion234450
Parke221020
Tipton210555
Pike209539
Blackford169634
Pulaski165551
Crawford146718
Newton145245
Benton143516
Brown135546
Martin129317
Switzerland126210
Warren115516
Union97711
Ohio80111
Unassigned0479