Image: Montgomery County Sheriff Rand Henderson (left) with former United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions (right).
The Golden Hammer Staff Reports
Conroe, July 5 – Montgomery County Sheriff Rand Henderson and Precinct 2 Montgomery County Constable Gene DeForest, both reliable “constitutional conservatives” who actually act in accordance with principles of the United States Constitution and the Texas Constitution, announced late Friday, July 3, 2020, that they refused to enforce Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s Executive Order GA-29, which requires all Texans to wear face masks in response to the government’s panic over the Chinese Coronavirus threat. After several weeks of declaring that a government order to wear face masks would violate the Constitution, Governor Abbott reversed his position and issued the face mask order early Thursday, July 2, to take effect on Friday, July 3, at 1 minute after noon.
After Governor Abbott issued his order, renowned conservative Republican activist Jon Bouche, also of Montgomery County, who is running for the State Republican Executive Committee to represent Senatorial District 4, called upon Sheriff Rand Henderson to explain whether the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office would enforce the Governor’s Executive Order. Bouche told The Golden Hammer, “I don’t see how any of these executive orders pass constitutional muster. In order to pass laws, especially those carrying criminal penalties, the Texas Legislature must enact them and the Governor must then sign the legislation into law. That didn’t happen here.”
Bouche added, “I appreciate the fact that Sheriff Rand Henderson and Constable Gene DeForest of Conroe have both made clear they still follow the constitutional principles to which they took an oath when they began their term of office.”
Montgomery County Sheriff Rand Henderson issued the following statement, through Sheriff’s Office Spokeman Lieutenant Scott Spencer, on Friday morning:
“The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office will take NO actions to enforce the Governor’s Office Executive Order GA-29 issued on July 2, 2020 regarding the mandatory use of facemasks in public.
“This order includes specific language prohibiting law enforcement from detaining, arresting, or confining to jail as a means to enforce the order. This language strips law enforcement of the necessary tools to enforce compliance with the law.
“The language included in the Governor’s order could subject our agency, and Montgomery County as a whole, to civil liability as stopping someone for a face covering related issue could be construed or misconstrued as a detention.Additionally, holding someone for the purpose of issuing a citation related to a fine is a legally defined detention under current Texas Law.
“Calls for service reporting a violation of GA-29 will only be dispatched if the reportee is an authorized supervisory representative of the business or property AND is reporting that a person is refusing to leave the property after receiving notice to leave and a disturbance is occurring. Deputies arriving at these types of calls will follow the normal established procedures.
“We are in a public health crisis and we will use this opportunity to educate our community while still respecting individual liberties. Let’s work together to ensure Montgomery County remains a safe place to live and work. We encourage all citizens to take reasonable precautions in their own life to mitigate possible exposure by following all Health Department guidelines.”
Precinct 2 Montgomery County Constable Gene DeForest also issued a clear statement opposing enforcement of the Governor’s executive order, on Friday:
“The Montgomery County Precinct 2 Constable’s Office will take NO actions to enforce the July 2, 2020 Texas Governor’s Office Executive Order GA29 regarding the mandatory use of face masks and facial coverings.
“This order includes specific language prohibiting law enforcement from detaining, arresting, or confining to jail as a means to enforce the order. This language strips law enforcement of the necessary tools to enforce compliance with the law.“This language included in the Governor’s order would subject our agency, and Montgomery County as a whole, to civil liability for even speaking to a person about this order, as that could be construed or misconstrued as a detention. Additionally, holding someone for the purpose of issuing a citation related to a fine is a legally defined detention under current Texas Law.“The Constable’s Office must consider the intent of the Texas Constitution in regards to how laws of the land are passed and enforced in this state. Normal legislative precedents demand that law enforcement only enforce laws and statutes that are the product of the legislative process or the product of regulatory authorities authorized by the legislature. The further removed we become from this process, the more liability and responsibility we incur as an agency.“The Constable’s Office does not make this statement as any disrespect to Governor Abbott and we encourage all citizens to take reasonable precautions in their own life to mitigate possible exposure to the corona virus.“Please be responsible as you celebrate this great holiday weekend commemorating the freedoms and liberties that we enjoy as a nation.“Happy 4th of July!