A Michigan judge has granted the Kent County Department of Health the authority to arrest suspected coronavirus victims it deems a “health threat.”
On April 6, 2020, 17th Circuit Court Chief Judge Mark Trusock granted an order sought by Kent County Health officer Adam London, who was seeking the power to “involuntarily” detain suspected virus carriers.
In his order, Trusock wrote that “an individual identified as having CDC Criteria for COVID-19 is a health threat to others if not isolated in an Involuntary Isolation Facility is a ‘carrier and health threat [CHT].’”
Further, Trusock ordered, “A CHT … who is presented with a copy of this 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 order granted the agency the power to detain a patient until he or she is “without a fever of 100.4 degrees for at least 72 consecutive hours,” and/or “is otherwise non-symptomatic and meets the CDC criteria for release from isolation,” or until the Court says so.
The Great Lakes Justice Center determined the order violates both the Michigan and U.S. constitutions:
General warrants are unconstitutional. 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. 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.
The Center also believed Trusock’s ruling violated Michigan’s Public Health Code:
Judge Trusock relied upon MCL 333.5207 to issue his order. However, the statute only allows the detention of an “individual” who the “court has reasonable cause to believe” is a public health threat. Instead of issuing this order against a particular individual, the court unlawfully issued its decree against anyone who happens to be present in Kent County.
Under Judge Trusock’s order, if a health official determines (in his or her sole discretion) a person has COVID-19, that person may be detained for up to 72 hours without any opportunity to be heard at a court hearing. However, a court may not delegate its decision-making and due process responsibilities to a local health official. The official must file a specific affidavit with specific allegations against a specific person prior to detention. There is a court form used by health officials for emergencies (SCAO PC-110). Judge Trusock’s court order ignores the legally required petition process.
Radio host Steve Gruber was the first to bring attention to the order.
“Time to build Pandemic Prisons, so Judge Tussock can order doctors, nurses, and physicians assistants to fill them up with suspected sickos,” he said.