Oklahoma Attorney Files Lawsuit Against Vinita After Stay-At-Home Order


Tuesday, April 14th 2020, 11:10 pm
By: Erick Payne


The first lawsuit has been filed in Oklahoma against a city for issuing a Stay at Home order.
 
City leaders in Vinita are being sued for their order approved last week creating a curfew and requiring residents to stay in their homes except for necessities and exercise.
 
The attorney who filed the suit said the ordinance is unconstitutional and alleges the city is sending its residents mixed signals.
 
Vinita's emergency ordinance approved last week states "citizens, residents and visitors within the city limits of Vinita shall stay in their home," adding a curfew from 10 p.m. to 6 in the morning -- except for a handful of reasons, like traveling to an essential job or for essential errands like groceries, gas, or medications.
 
The order says people cannot  be out between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.
 
Josh Lee, with Lee Coats Law, said the ordinance is poorly written.
 
"They were so restrictive of the things you can get out for, what they're calling essential errands," Lee said.
 
Vinita's mayor didn't return a message as of this story's air-date -- but he's quoted in last week's Vinita Daily Journal saying "our city attorney does not interpret this ordinance as a 24/7 mandatory shutdown of this city."
 
Vinita Police said they won't be writing tickets and won't be stopping people for being out after curfew, but the ordinance says those who violate the order, could face up to a $500 fine and 30 days in jail.
 
"[This] is very concerning to me, because that allows for arbitrary application of the law, to however and whoever they see fit. That's not a fair position to be putting police officers in, that's not a fair position to be putting citizens in," Lee said.
 
Lee said they have a hearing on this lawsuit, scheduled for Thursday.