Judge Rules In Favor Of Pima County Businesses, Against Curfew

Maricopa County Superior Court
Maricopa County Superior Court. [Photo from Google Maps]

A Superior Court judge ruled this week that a curfew approved by the Pima County Board of Supervisors violates state law. As a result, Pima County Superior Court Judge Kellie Johnson issued a temporary order halting enforcement of the
a 10:00 p.m. – 5:00 a.m. curfew.

Professor Ilan Wurman, an associate professor with ASU’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, stated, “No one denies the significant increase in cases. But it’s time to stop scapegoating bars. The curfew was destroying businesses for nothing. It simply funneled people into private gatherings where there’s even more COVID spread. We’re glad the court recognized the County does not have the authority to impose such a curfew.”

The Pima County Board of Supervisors has already approved an appeal of the ruling.

The lawsuit, brought by a group of small business owners, argued that the curfew not only violated state law but the governor’s executive order as well.

In its amicus brief, the Goldwater Institute argued “that while state law does allow counties to adopt curfews in certain emergency situations, that applies only to cases involving riots or other disturbances of the peace—not to cases involving a pandemic, where no disruption of the peace is involved. The court, agreeing with this argument, observed that while “the legislature expressly provided counties the authority to impose curfews in other circumstances,” state law “do[es] not give [the county] authority to regulate public health by imposing curfews.”

“As a former Bar and Grill owner I can relate to how government overreach bad policies can crush small business owners. Our food and beverage industry employs hundreds of thousands of people who rely on their wages and especially their tips to pay their household bills,” said Pima County resident Sergio Arellano. “These curfews made politicians look like they were being pro-active when they truth is they didn’t keep people safe, and they were bankrupting thousands of Arizonans. Shame on the Board of Supervisors for appealing this ruling and wasting taxpayer money on further attempts to ruin the lives of those same taxpayers.”

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