Criminal charges dropped against Michigan barber who fought Whitmer’s coronavirus orders

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SHIAWASSEE COUNTY, MI – The Shiawassee County District Attorney has dropped a pair of felony offenses against Owosso barber Karl Manke for breaking Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive orders.

David Kallman, Manke’s attorney, told MLive-The Flint Journal on Monday afternoon that the alleged violations were rendered moot by the state Supreme Court’s ruling against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive orders.

The state’s high court recently ruled that the governor does not have the power under state law to maintain the state of emergency without the support of the legislature.

Whitmer had relied on the Emergency Management Act of 1976 and the Governor’s Emergency Powers Act of 1945 to issue executive orders requiring masks in public spaces, limited staffing and the closure of various establishments.

Related: Michigan Supreme Court dismisses request to extend Whitmer’s emergency powers

Manke, 78, opened his store on May 4 despite an executive order that closed salons and barber shops on March 17 in the state intended to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Kallman noted that the case against Manke has been stayed a few times because the outcome of the state Supreme Court’s ruling has yet to be released.

“I’m not surprised (Shiawassee County District Attorney) Scott (Koerner) came by and dismissed the charges,” Kallman said. “We appreciate that the prosecutor is just following the law … Karl is very happy about that.”

Manke has become a leading figure in the crackdown on executive orders, drawing crowds from near and far outside his store in the small community of Shiawassee County. Hair salons and barber shops were allowed to reopen statewide in mid-June.

Related: Owosso barber says store will stay open “until Jesus comes in or they stop me”

“I appreciate that the prosecutor has dismissed all the criminal charges against me in light of the Supreme Court decision. It’s definitely a weight on my shoulders. I just want to make a living and I’m not a threat to anyone’s health, ”Manke said. “The courts have always upheld my constitutional rights by claiming that the governor’s attempts to silence me were irrelevant.”

The only legal issue left for Manke, Kallman said, is a lawsuit that had been filed to revoke and sanction his barber’s license over public health and safety concerns to remain open amid the COVID-pandemic. 19.

A Nov. 19 administrative hearing is still set on the licensing issue, but Kallman added that this decision was also based on previous executive orders and he asked Michigan Governor and Attorney General Dana Nessel to drop the license. complaint.

Ryan Jarvi, a spokesperson for Nessel, said a decision on the move would come from the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, or LARA, and not from the attorney general’s office.

Learn more about MLive:

State drops trial to shut down rebel barber Owosso

Owosso’s barber who fought state shutdown order reinstated his license

Michigan salons and hair salons set to reopen after confusion over coronavirus safety guidelines

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