Parsing Executive Order Enforcement Not Easy For McLean County | WGLT

Parsing Executive Order Enforcement Not Easy For McLean County

May 11, 2020

The McLean County state’s attorney and sheriff said it’s not so easy to say how they will enforce executive orders from Gov. JB Pritzker.

A joint statement from prosecutor Don Knapp and Sheriff Jon Sandage said a number of citizens have asked about the "enforceability" of the orders.

The document notes the one thing most agree on is that the orders do not create new criminal offenses or violations of the criminal code.

Knapp and Sandage said, however, there are other factors that prevent them from making "grandiose generalized statements regarding enforcement of all things COVID-19."

“The Sheriff’s Department cannot simply ignore the community caretaking calls it receives in addition to its law enforcement calls and will prioritize those calls appropriately. Similarly, the State’s Attorney’s Office must review all reports forwarded to it from every law enforcement entity to screen for appropriate charges, if any, on a case-by-case basis without prejudging any given circumstance,” said Knapp and Sandage.

The two said some prosecutors have noted there is a fear that ignoring social distancing might lead to a violation of a criminal statute. For instance, a business could ask a patron to leave and a refusal might constitute trespassing.

Sandage and Knapp also speculate disagreements over social distancing, or use of personal protective equipment, might lead to a physical confrontation that would be chargeable.

“We ask that all citizens respect each other’s views and do your best to keep yourself and your loved ones safe during these unprecedented times,” said Knapp and Sandage.

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