Clip courtesy 34th State District Court/YouTube

Judge denies temporary injunction of County Judge’s ‘Stay at Home Order;’ Samaniego releases statement

Judge William E. Moody denied the request of a temporary injunction of  County Judge Ricardo Samaniego’s ‘Stay at Home’ order Friday afternoon, via the 34th District Court’s YouTube channel.

The injunction had been requested by several local restaurants, and was joined by the Texas Attorney General’s Office, in opposition to the County Judge’s order, essentially shutting down in person dining, among other prohibitions within the County of El Paso.

During the brief, streamed proceeding, Judge Moody cited the original response of various Texas cities’ to 1918-19 Spanish Flu.  The Judge started the proceeding by complimenting all the attorneys working the case.

“First, I would like to commend all the attorneys in this case,” Judge Moody began.

“They have diligently researched the novel legal issues before this court; while they could not find any legal precedent to guide the court, they did find some historical precedent.”

Moody continued, as the attorney’s looked on, via their individual Zoom meeting windows.

“During one of the most deadly pandemics in human history, the Spanish Flu of 1918-1919, local Texas cities and counties responded to that similar crisis in various and different ways. Cities like Dallas and San Antonio developed their own unique responses to the deadly flu in the manner that their elected local officials felt was necessary to protect the health and financial interest of their individual communities. Those orders varied over time, depending on the severity of the spread of that deadly…flu.

I therefore issue this court’s order, denying the plaintiff’s and intervener’s request for a temporary injunction; Judge Samaniego’s order stays in effect.

Thank you and may God bless El Paso, God bless Texas and God bless our United States of America in combating this devastating pandemic.”

After a brief pause, Chris Hilton, on behalf of the Texas State Attorney General’s office simply stated that the state would appeal.

Friday evening, County Judge Ricardo Samaniego released the following statement:

Today, we had a significant moral and legal victory for our healthcare workers and first responders who are currently overwhelmed by the COVID-19 crisis. I am grateful for Judge William Moody with the 34th State District Court as he ruled in favor of the County’s Stay Home Order earlier this afternoon. I am also thankful to work alongside our County Attorney’s Office led by Joanne Bernal, along with her legal team, as they all truly care about the future of our community.
So what did today’s ruling mean? Today’s ruling means that the County’s Stay at Home Order remains in full force and is currently in effect. I understand that the State has appealed the Court’s decision, the appeals process will begin and the legal track will continue.
I call on each El Pasoan to take personal responsibility and do everything in your power to protect not only yourself, but your loved ones, your neighbors and your friends.
This is not a win unless our community rallies together! This is not about politics, it is a matter of how we come together as a community to save lives. I thank the City of El Paso for joining us as they will be enforcing the County’s Stay Home Order No. 13. I’d also like to thank our Mayors in our rural areas for all of their work to protect the health and safety of our community.
Our community has seen 48 deaths due to COVID-19 in the past 3 days, today’s hospital capacity of COVID-19 patients is 49%, and the Health Department has reported 1,300 new positive cases. For additional context, El Paso is currently at STAGE 1 in the COVID-19 Community Scorecard which is the worst scenario.
In response to this crisis, both the El Paso County Medical Society and the El Paso Pediatric Society have expressed support and endorsed restrictions on non-essential services until we can control COVID-19 in our community. The El Paso United Task Force has also expressed the importance of taking drastic measures to stop the spread of COVID-19.
As a reminder:
·     This order expires on Wednesday, November 11, 2020 at 11:59 PM MST, unless it is extended.
·     A curfew is in effect from 10:00PM to 5:00AM unless that person is out conducting an essential business or task.
·     All businesses that are non-essential must close:
    • Tattoo Parlors
    • Hair Salons
    • Nail Salons
    • Gyms
    • Massage businesses
    • In-person dining
All essential businesses can remain open:
    • Polling Sites
    • Schools that provide meal services
    • Childcare facilities
    • Grocery stores
    • Funeral services
    • All healthcare offices and facilities
    • Pharmacies
    • Government operations
    • Post offices
    • Retail-to-Go Services (and others listed in the Order)
The County Judge’s Order encompasses the County of El Paso which includes the the City of El Paso, the Town of Anthony, Town of Clint, Town of Horizon, City of San Elizario, City of Socorro, the Village of Vinton, as well as all unincorporated areas of the County.
To view the County’s Stay Home Order No. 13 please click here.