By ZEINAB NAJM
The process to dismiss thousands of violations issued in Wayne County due to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s emergency orders after April 30, 2020 — including hundreds in Allen Park, Dearborn Heights, Taylor and Trenton — began this week.
In Dearborn Heights there were seven pending cases in 20th District Court, seven pending in Taylor’s 23rd District Court, three pending and two adjudicated cases in the 24th District Court for Allen Park and Taylor, and one adjudicated case in the 33rd District Court which includes Trenton.
The Feb. 1 announcement said that in April 2020, the Michigan Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the Emergency Management Act did not authorize Whitmer to issue or renew any coronavirus emergency orders after the 30th of that month.
As a result, the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office conducted a review of the cases and determined there is not a legal basis to proceed with them. Approximately 1,800 pending and adjudicated cases will now be dismissed.
Each court will decide and handle the refunds of fees or fines related to the violations issued.
“Governor Whitmer’s leadership has prevented many of our citizens from contracting COVID-19,” Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said in a press release. “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, and quarantine when warranted.”
The county’s press release said it is important to note that the dismissal of these cases is not a reflection upon the conduct of any law enforcement agency, since the applicable law was followed at the time of the alleged offenses.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected])