Single Father Spends 24 Hours in Jail for Refusing to Wear Mask in Courtroom

A North Carolina man who refused to wear a mask in a courthouse that posted signs saying masks were not required spent 24 hours in jail after refusing to wear a mask.

“I never thought something like this could happen in this country,” Gregory Hahn said, according to WRAL-TV.

Hahn, 47, entered the Harnett County courthouse Monday to be examined for jury duty. Judge Charles Gilchrist wanted all 98 potential jurors to wear masks. Hahn declined.

“I just said, ‘I’m not going to wear a mask,'” Hahn said. “He said, ‘I understand you don’t want to wear a mask,’ and I said, ‘That’s right, sir,’ and he said, ‘May I ask why?'”

After Hahn repeatedly refused to wear a mask, Gilchrist sent him to prison without bail for contempt of court.


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“The irony of this whole thing is that the judge spoke to me without a mask,” Hahn said.

Hahn, who is a single parent, asked to call his son. The request was rejected.

“I was speechless,” Hahn said, adding, “I’m locked up for doing my civic duty and doing nothing. … It’s amazing.”

Appearing on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show, Hahn said the public health value of the judge’s mask order was minimal.

“We were in [an assembly room] Shoulder to shoulder for about 20 to 30 minutes with three quarters of us not wearing masks,” he said. “So the virus – if there was a virus out there – contaminated us anyway.”

Court clerk Renee Whittenton said Gilchrist makes his own rules.

“You can enter any county courtroom without a mask. … You can go to the prosecutor’s office without a mask, but with Judge Gilchrist he has a mandate that you must wear a mask,” she said.

Whittenton said Gilchrist is the only Supreme Court Justice in the county to require masks.


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A joint order by Harnett and Lee counties in March says judges have the power to decide the mask issue in their courtrooms, WRAL reported.

However, as legal scholar Jonathan Turley pointed out on his website, “there is no reference to that discretion in the court-wide order making masks optional.” Single Father Spends 24 Hours in Jail for Refusing to Wear Mask in Courtroom

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