A Michigan judge has issued an order authorizing a county health officer and police to arrest and jail anyone they suspect of being sick with the coronavirus.
Judge Mark Trusock of the 17th Circuit Court issued the order in response to a request by Kent County Health Officer Adam London.
The judge ruled that any “carrier and health threat” presented with a copy of his order “may be involuntarily detained by a peace officer, transported to and detained in an Involuntary Isolation Facility selected by the Health Officer for observation, testing, and/or treatment.”
The judge further allows London to “instruct the Involuntary Isolation Facility to detain an individual until the CHT has been confirmed by a physician and the health officer to be without a fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 72 consecutive hours (without use of fever reducing medication) and/or is otherwise non-symptomatic and meets the CDC criteria for release from isolation.”
The judge wrote that the “facility” where people are jailed and “all peace officers” can rely on a copy of his order to detain anyone “at the instruction of the health officer.”
But GLJC insisted the order violates the U.S. and Michigan constitutions.
“General warrants are unconstitutional,” the organization explained. “Warrants to arrest or detain people cannot be issued against an entire class of persons or against everyone in a single county. Warrants must be specific and may only be issued against a particular person for a particular reason.”
It quoted from the U.S. Constitution, where the Fourth Amendment states, “No warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, suoported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the person or things to be seized.”
Michigan’s constitution has a similar provision.
“The state cannot give the police and health authorities unrestricted power to arrest and force testing and treatment of a person or deprive them of their liberty without due process,” GLJC said.
“Judge Trusock’s order violates the constitutional rights of all persons in Kent County. The order is unconstitutional because it gives blanket authority to officials to arrest/detain any person without any court hearing or without any evidence establishing probable cause to support the detention.”
The legal team explained Trusock cited Michigan law, 333.5207, which “only allows the detention of an ‘individual’ who the ‘court has reasonable cause to believe’ is a public health threat.”
The judge’s order doesn’t identify anyone suspected of being a health threat, the center explained.