A North Carolina man who refused to wear a mask in a courthouse that had signs saying masks were not required spent 24 hours in jail after refusing to wear a mask.
“I never thought this could happen in this country,” Gregory Hahn said, according to WRAL-TV.
Hahn, 47, entered the courthouse in Harnett County on Monday to be screened for jury duty. Judge Charles Gilchrist wanted all 98 potential jurors to wear masks. Hahn refused.
“I just said, ‘I’m not going to wear a mask,’” Hahn said. “He said, ‘I understand that you don’t want to wear a mask,’ and I was like, ‘That is correct, sir,’ and he says, ‘May I ask why?’”
After Hahn’s repeated refusal to wear a mask, Gilchrist sent him to jail with no bond for contempt of court.
“What the irony of this whole thing is is that the judge was talking to me without a mask on,” Hahn said.
Hahn, who is a single father, asked to call his son. The request was denied.
“I was dumbfounded,” Hahn said, adding, “I’m jailed for doing my civic duty and not doing anything. … It’s mind-boggling.”
In an appearance on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show, Hahn said the public health value of the judge’s mask edict was minimal.
“We were in [an assembly room] for about 20 to 30 minutes, shoulder to shoulder, with three-quarters of us not wearing masks,” he said. “So the virus — if there was virus out there – contaminated us anyway.”
Gregory Hahn was thrown in jail for refusing to wear a mask during jury duty. pic.twitter.com/9K73sk4D8h
— Tucker Carlson (@TuckerCarlson) October 15, 2022
Court clerk Renee Whittenton said Gilchrist makes his own rules.
“You can go into any district courtroom without a mask. … You can go to the district attorney’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 superior court judge in the county who requires masks.
A joint order issued by Harnett and Lee counties in March says judges have the authority 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.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.