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Wayne County prosecutor dismisses COVID-19 tickets

Oralandar Brand-Williams
The Detroit News
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The Wayne County Prosecutor's Office announced Monday it is dismissing tickets for violations related to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's executive orders issued under the COVID-19 Emergency Act.

Prosecutor KymWorthy's office said as a result of a Michigan Supreme Court ruling, it reviewed its cases and determined it has no legal basis to proceed with them.

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy

The city of Detroit had 1,632 pending cases while Dearborn had 71 pending and adjudicated cases to be dismissed.

The prosecutor said the dismissals are not a reflection on the conduct of any law enforcement agency because the applicable law was followed at the time of the alleged offenses.

“Governor Whitmer’s leadership has prevented many of our citizens from contracting COVID-19,” Worthy said in a statement. “However, considering the Supreme Court’s decision, WCPO will no longer use criminal prosecution to enforce the Governor’s Executive Order. It is my earnest hope that people will continue to wear face masks, social distance, quarantine when warranted.”

Macomb County Prosecutor Pete Lucido said he doesn't believe his office had any cases to dismiss but praised Worthy for her decision.

"How can you pursue an unconstitutional act?" he said. "The Supreme Court said (Whitmer) was acting with no authority. I think Kym Worthy did the right thing because she had no standing to enforce an unconstitutional action taken by the governor. I appreciate Kym Worthy for willing to step forward on her cases and dismiss them. It shows leadership."

Efforts to reach Oakland County officials were unsuccessful Monday.

The Michigan Supreme Court unanimously ruled in April 2020 that the state Emergency Management Act did not authorize Whitmer to issue or renew any COVID-19 emergency orders after April 30. 

While the ruling has clipped the governor's executive orders surrounding COVID-19, local and county governments have mandated such measures as mask-wearing while conducting business indoors.

In October, the Oakland County Health Department ordered residents to wear masks or facial coverings when leaving their homes. Ingham County officials also issued similar emergency orders with policies requiring people to wear face masks as well as putting restrictions on indoor and outdoor gatherings.

Restaurants were allowed to reopen Monday at 25% capacity under the latest epidemic order issued by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. 

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