Have Michigan Residents’ Constitutional Rights Been Threatened?
It’s impossible to ignore the political battle that seems to be raging around Michigan’s extended shelter in place order enacted by Governor Whitmer.
Michigan made national headlines this week after a large-scale protest at the capitol building in Lansing.
Thousands of people remained in their cars, blocking the streets to protest the extended shut-down of our economy and restriction of freedoms.
Additionally, hundreds more exited their vehicles and assembled on the steps without masks and closer than the recommended six feet apart.
Police arrested one protester, and no citations were given.
Federal Lawsuits Over Constitutional Rights
Two federal lawsuits have been filed for the constitutional rights violations in Whitmer’s order.
Several citizens and one business owner have filed complaints against Michigan’s “stay home” order. The argument is that it violates First and Second Amendment rights and due process rights.
Other state legislators have challenged the law, stating that it infringes on the right to congregate.
In Kent County, Chief Circuit Judge Mark Trusock gave an April 6th order. The order allows police to lock up someone they suspect might be sick based on a state law that allows the state to detain someone who is a threat to public health.
Under this new order, if someone decides you seem sick, you can be arrested, transported, and committed to an Involuntary Isolation Facility for observation, testing, and treatment.
Now, in some areas of Michigan, you be charged with terrorism for coughing on someone. In addition, you can be locked up against your will for three days if someone on the street thinks you might be sick.
Moreover, Michigan’s battles mirror those in several other states. A handful of states are now authorizing healthcare workers to share the addresses of those diagnosed with COVID-19.
The Wall Street Journal has reported that government officials through the CDC have access to cell phone data of citizens. They are using it to monitor their movements.
In Michigan, religious rights haven’t been challenged. However, Louisville, Kentucky mayor Greg Fischer recently banned all drive-in church services. This ban was enacted even though they did not violate health official guidelines.
What Does it Mean for You?
Despite the large protest, most people in Southeast Michigan aren’t leaving their houses. Therefore, they aren’t getting in trouble with the law.
Most churches have closed voluntarily.
However, if the lockdown continues through the spring and summer, more people may continue to disobey the governor’s orders in protest or out of desperation to find work.
We may see more federal lawsuits being filed in this state, more arrests, and citations, and more activity around constitutional rights.
As Michigan federal attorneys, we defend constitutional rights. In some ways, state overreach is a fact of life for those going through the criminal justice system. We defend those that are arrested unjustly.
Bringing it Home
Your constitutional rights are essential.
If you find yourself facing criminal charges for peaceful protest or some charged related to the lockdown, you have every right to bring your case before the court.
As a U.S. citizen, you do still have a right to free speech and due process.
Finally, if you have been charged, it is critical that an experienced federal attorney is by your side. We will fight aggressively on your behalf. Contact our office today for a free consultation.