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Arizona sheriff considers legal challenge to stay-at-home order

(Facebook Photo/Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb)

PHOENIX – An Arizona sheriff said enforcing Gov. Doug Ducey’s stay-at home order is unconstitutional and that he is looking into legally challenging the executive action.

“We’re looking at legal recourses. … I think it needs to be challenged,” Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Monday.

Lamb said Gov. Doug Ducey’s executive order, designed to slow the spread of the coronavirus outbreak, was too broad and “gives the governor — any [future Arizona] governor,” too much power.

The orders should be scaled back, Lamb said and that “I think there are a lot of legislators on board.”

Last week, Ducey modified and extended the stay-at-home order through May 15. It originally was set to end April 30.

The sheriff said his office wasn’t taking action against anyone breaking the mandate.

“We have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. … Part of life is going out and being able to work and provide for your family. That’s being inhibited right now,” Lamb said on KTAR News’ Arizona’s Morning News.

“I chose to enforce the Constitution.”

Lamb, who oversees law enforcement just south of Maricopa County, is one of three sheriffs who are not carrying out direction from the governor’s office to punish those ignoring social distancing guidelines.

ABC15 reported Gila and Mohave counties’ sheriff also said they were not implementing penalties.

“I hate to make criminals out of normal people,” Lamb said.

“I’m not in agreement with giving citations, fines or arresting people [who] are just honestly going out to support their families and get back to their normal life.”

Ducey already has laid out consequences for violating his stay-at-home order: a $2,500 fine and up to six months in jail.

Lamb said he had spoken with Ducey “since this whole thing started.”

But the sheriff has heard from the public about his stance.

“I’ve had plenty of hate messages,” he said.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Jeremy Foster and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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