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Michigan’s AG office: ‘We will no longer enforce Gov. Whitmer’s orders through criminal prosecution’

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer speaks to media outside of Meridian Elementary School in Sanford, Michigan, on May 27, 2020. (Ryan Garza/Detroit Free Press/TNS)

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said she will no longer enforce Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive orders, which were made during the coronavirus pandemic, through criminal prosecution.

“However, her decision is not binding on other law enforcement agencies or state departments with independent enforcement authority,” a statement released on Nessel’s behalf says.

Last Friday, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled against Whitmer’s powers to extend emergency declarations enforcing COVID-19 restrictions, which were created to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

However, the effects of this ruling are still unclear, with Whitmer saying Friday it does not take place for another 21 days.

“Today’s Supreme Court ruling, handed down by a narrow majority of Republican justices, is deeply disappointing, and I vehemently disagree with the court’s interpretation of the Michigan Constitution,” Whitmer said.

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Nessel’s press secretary said it is possible to respect the court’s decision and the advice of medical experts by voluntarily wearing masks, social distancing and staying at home when feeling ill.

“If it weren’t for the Governor’s actions, countless more of our friends, family and neighbors would have been lost to COVID-19,” the news release says.

Whitmer was commended by the American Civil Liberties Union for her response to the pandemic.

Michigan has lost 6,801 people as of Saturday to the novel coronavirus, with cases rising in the Upper Peninsula.

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© 2020 Detroit Free Press

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.