Unlawful Quarantines in Arizona | Part I - I've got the receipts
Public records show AZ health officials knew they were violating the law to use school districts to quarantine your kids - it's time to name names.
This is a large topic and requires multiple Stacks to do it justice. I have volumes of public records that I haven’t shared - yet. Even more records are coming in. As I follow one lead, others appear.
If you follow me @ALegalProcess on Twitter, you’ll know all this. But for now - in this Part I, I’m simply declaring - I have the receipts - our public health “authorities” let us down. They willfully did not follow the law and heads should roll.
I was a latecomer to the issue of school quarantines - quite frankly, I wasn’t interested in diving into the administrative and statutory framework that permitted - or not - my school to quarantine and isolate kids during the pandemic. I thought, hey, let’s cooperate and it will be over soon. A friend and fellow out-of-state attorney, now full-time mom with kids in Scottsdale, kept trying to get my attention. She rattled off statutes, policies and protocols - repeating phrases like “written directive” and “due process” but my eyes glossed over. She’s a sharp and unrelenting advocate, I respect her well-formed opinions. But my heart just wasn’t in it. I was focused on the $3.3M worth of publisher contracts that Scottsdale Unified had unlawfully approved without holding a single open public meeting of its various curriculum adoption committees.
Then more time passed and the quarantines continued. Eventually a dad and law enforcement officer from Peoria, a man I didn’t know, approached me through a mutual acquaintance and put the issue in human terms that got through to me. There were real families affected by these quarantines, some whose kids kept getting tripped up by “close contact rules” and sent home repeatedly for weeks at a time. Parents had to leave jobs to care for them. Money was tight. Learning loss was real. He wanted to do something for these families. His law enforcement background gave him a unique perspective - he worked everyday in a profession, as an officer of the law, with rules of engagement constrained by fundamental, Constitutional rights. And he knew in his gut something was wrong with the way public health authorities were enacting these draconian policies. He was getting no where with these bureaucrats, but he knew even during a state of emergency, we have rights. He knew there are limits to state authority.
So I took a look. I diligenced the law, the governor’s emergency orders, AZDHS and MCDPH. I negotiated public records requests over a period of months to get internal communications.
And sure as hell my friend, the police officer in Peoria, they were right - as clear as night and day, public health officials were routinely, as an institution, and by choice - willfully violating the Arizona statutes on due process rights to implement quarantine and isolation policies. And under the color of law they persuaded school districts across the state that these protocols were “required not recommended.”
The bottom-line is this: an isolation or quarantine order from the state, during a formally declared state of emergency, requires an individualized written directive either from the state or county public health departments. Because it’s an emergency, that written directive can be issued and effective even without a court order - but the issuing public health officials must then go to the court to authorize the initial directive within 10 days. If you’re the subject of that written directive, you have a right to a court hearing and court-appointed counsel to contest the written directive. In Arizona, that is the legal process.
What’s an individualized written directive? For one, it’s not a letter from your school district superintendent, your school principal or nurse. It should look something like this:
Or like this:
It’s called due process - and its a Constitutional right that you shall not be deprived of liberty without proper legal review by a judge - with your legal counsel present. And in Arizona, those rights are codified into the statutes. Look it up - ARS 36-789.
Because governments get it wrong.
Because elected officials and unelected bureaucrats must follow the law.
You have rights - even during a state of emergency.
I have the receipts. I have the correspondence, the memos, the presentations to the Maricopa Board of Supervisors. I have a Maricopa Superior Court administrative order showing the courts were ready to take on an avalanche of written directives - but they got none. Not a single one.
I have county public health officials on video admitting they chose to not follow the law. School children across Maricopa were forced home because MCDPH told schools they were required to implement their quarantine and isolation protocols - the law be damned.
I have a copy of a legal memo written by non-profit The Network for Public Health Law stating specifically that in Arizona:
“A local health agency must issue a written quarantine/isolation order to each affected individual and must also obtain a court order with 10 days.
This memo was in MCDPH’s records. They knew.
And then there’s this video of Rebecca Sunenshine, M.D., medical director for MCDPH, telling the superintendents that they elected to not follow the law because it wasn’t practical - and that the real “issue” is parents complaining about due process rights. Why don’t these pesky parents just understand we have authority to do what we’re doing?
OF COURSE we know you have authority - the issue has always been the proper legal process to exercise your authority. You can’t just, in your words, “elect” not to follow the law because it was not practical.
So, I’ll close out this first Stack with this - naming names. Unelected. Knew the law. Chose not to follow it. Called out parents for complaining about their rights. Because she knew better. They ALL knew better.
Now do as you’ve been told.