Michigan state prosecutors have dropped charges against Owosso barber Karl Manke for opening his shop on May 4 in violation of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s lockdown order.
Prosecutors dropped misdemeanor charges against the shop owner for violating local health orders and Whitmer’s lockdown order on Friday, according to the Lansing State Journal. Prosecutors moved to drop the charges after the Michigan Supreme Court ruled Whitmer’s lockdown after April 30, when the governor’s first emergency declaration over the pandemic would have timed out, unconstitutional.
“Our client is thrilled and pleased that he has been vindicated,” Manke’s attorney David Kallman said. During the legal battle, Manke faced multiple fines along with the misdemeanor charges and had his license suspended. His license was reinstated in June, though there remains an open formal complaint on it that Manke’s lawyers are pushing to get removed.
The state Supreme Court’s 4-3 ruling came down on Oct. 2, spiking Whitmer’s authority to call consecutive emergency declarations over the coronavirus pandemic.
“We conclude that the Governor lacked the authority to declare a ‘state of emergency’ or a ‘state of disaster’ under the [1976 Emergency Management Act] after April 30, 2020, on the basis of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the court ruled. “Furthermore, we conclude that the [1945 Emergency Powers of the Governor Act] is in violation of the Constitution of our state because it purports to delegate to the executive branch the legislative powers of state government – including its plenary police powers – and to allow the exercise of such powers indefinitely. As a consequence, the EPGA cannot continue to provide a basis for the Governor to exercise emergency powers.”
Whitmer bashed the ruling when it came out. As The Daily Wire reported:
Whitmer called the ruling “deeply disappointing” and said that it’s putting Michigan at risk for a resurgence of the coronavirus after “I have done everything in my power to protect our seniors, small businesses, and first responders from the worst public health emergency in over a century.”
“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 in a statement. “Right now, every state and the federal government have some form of declared emergency. With this decision, Michigan will become the sole outlier at a time when the Upper Peninsula is experiencing rates of COVID infection not seen in our state since April.”
Whitmer managed to put many of her lockdown regulations back in place, citing vague precedent of gubernatorial powers from the 1918 pandemic. As The Daily Wire reported:
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) issued new orders on Monday to keep in place mask requirements, limits on public gatherings, and other health codes put in place by the governor’s administration during the coronavirus pandemic. The fresh mandates come days after the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that Whitmer lacked the authority to continue to enforce emergency health codes for the pandemic.
Whitmer’s office said the new orders are based on authority given to the governor during the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic, which was not challenged in the court decision.
“Violations of this order are punishable by a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than six months or a fine of not more than $200, or both. Violations of this order are also punishable by a civil fine of up to $1,000,” MDHHS said.
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