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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
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    How illegal is the San Juan County sheriff's action?

    https://durangoherald.com/articles/3...tion-to-locals

    To wit: anyone parked along any road in the county whose car is not registered in San Juan County will be ticketed and towed, which bans access to public lands for anyone not "from" that county. Seems arbitrary and ripe for a lawsuit.

    Curious to hear legal opinions.

    Edit to clarify: San Juan County is home to Silverton, Red Mountain Pass, Coal Bank Pass, Molas Pass, etc.

  2. #2
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    The issue is whether the county may impose such restrictions under its police power, i.e., the power to exercise control over persons within and/or seeking to enter its jurisdictional territory in the interest of the general safety, health and welfare of county residents. Historically, local governments have had very broad police powers to control movement of people to restrict the spread of an epidemic. If the emergency declaration is supported by adequate findings, my guess is that it will pass constitutional muster. A more confident answer would require a few hours of legal research.

  3. #3
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    My thought is the same as Steve's, probably legal but would take research to confirm.
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  4. #4
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    As for parking specific, they'd have to modify their county code to reflect the changes specific to ticket and tow - as there is not currently a provision for residency of registered owner, falling under the model traffic code MTC in CO. However, title 42 (vehicles and traffic) doesn't require intent in CO.

    As for the 'stranger danger' statute .. I guess I'd want to know more about official decree .. was it? Not sure if the BOCC or Sheriff have gone through the proper channels or not - but it hints that they have. I'm not sure who has the juice to issue such an order .. If indeed it was a 'public health order' .. CO is addressing violations of public health orders as such:


    C.R.S. 25-1-516
    (1) It is unlawful for any person, association, or corporation and the officers thereof to:
    (a) Willfully violate, disobey, or disregard the provisions of the public health laws or the terms of any lawful notice, order, standard, or rule;
    (3) Any person, association, or corporation, or the officers thereof, who violates any provision of this section is guilty of a class 1 misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished pursuant to the provisions of section 18-1.3-501, C.R.S. In addition to the fine or imprisonment, the person, association, or corporation shall be liable for any expense incurred by health authorities in removing any nuisance, source of filth, or cause of sickness. Conviction under the penalty provisions of this part 5 or any other public health law shall not relieve any person from any civil action in damages that may exist for an injury resulting from any violation of the public health laws.
    In charging a violation of C.R.S. 25-1-516 ANY peace officer in Colorado may issue a summons according to their normal procedure for the charging of a misdemeanor in this state. The source of the order (state, county, or municipal) does not limit the jurisdiction of a peace officer to enforce this statute, meaning, so long as the order applies to the location of the offense any Colorado law enforcement officer may respond to, investigate, or charge this offense.

    Not much case law on it yet. I'd imagine that 'willfully' is going to be the sticking point, among other issues which will be subject to interpretation should the matter proceed that far.

    County Sheriff's in CO are under statutory obligation to facilitate search and rescue, so I guess this county is trying to control what they can, to limit their exposure on what they can't.

  5. #5
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    Down In A Hole, Up in the Sky
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    I imagine it’s this sort of thing that is prompting Barr/DOJ to request suspending some basic civil rights during (?) this crisis.
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
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    Suckramento
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    How illegal is the San Juan County sheriff's action?

    What public lands? State or fed? If fed, it is illegal. States cannot limit access to/from federal land. They probably could enforce parking bans.

    If the statute allows access to residents of one state, but prohibits access by residents of another, it likely violates the Commerce Clause.


    Edit...also, a potential Equal Protection Clause claim, and possibly a Due Process Clause claim
    Last edited by irul&ublo; 03-23-2020 at 06:13 PM.
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  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Courts in Seattle area are only open to essential hearings, i.e. dudes sitting in jail who will get out of jail if they plead guilty. Essentially all civil matters, and all non in-custody criminal matters, are being continued for at least a month. So even if someone wanted to challenge the government infringing on their civil liberties, they likely won't be getting in front of a judge for at least a month.

  8. #8
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    Good point, Jay -- or maybe more like at least [fill in the blank] months after the backlog has eased. Question for ya: Have speedy trial rights been suspended in any WA counties? ETA: Never mind. I think I found the answer: https://www.kingcounty.gov/~/media/c...607.ashx?la=en

  9. #9
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    Cop says "Move your car" you move your car. So simple even a troll could do it. He won't be swayed by a threatened law suit.
    A few people feel the rain. Most people just get wet.

  10. #10
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  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
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    cb, co
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    Doesn't seem that different from the way Gunnison handled the 1918 flu. Get off the train in Gunnison, go straight to jail for two weeks for quarantine, no questions asked. And it worked, too.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    Missoula, MT
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    When Steve says "epidemic" are we talking an epidemic of Front Rangers coming to southern CO and just blowing up your trailhead? LMAO
    No longer stuck.

    Quote Originally Posted by stuckathuntermtn View Post
    Just an uneducated guess.

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