Ohio Judge Deems State’s Coronavirus Lockdown Illegal

Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton holds up a mask as she gives an update at Met
AP Photo/Tony Dejak

An Ohio judge deemed the state’s lockdown in response to the Chinese coronavirus illegal, and stated that the state’s top health director “acted in an impermissibly arbitrary, unreasonable, and oppressive manner.”

Lake County Common Pleas Judge Eugene Lucci ruled that Amy Acton, the director of the Ohio Department of Health, is prohibited from punishing nonessential businesses that defy Ohio’s orders to stay closed in response to the Chinese coronavirus pandemic, Cleveland 19 News reported.

The report added that the Lake County General Health District, police officers, prosecutors, and the Ohio Attorney General are also prohibited from punishing so-called “nonessential” businesses, as the companies already operate in compliance with standard safety regulations.

Moreover, Lucci declared that Acton “has acted in an impermissibly arbitrary, unreasonable, and oppressive manner,” reported the Columbus Dispatch.

Lucci’s ruling was in response to a May 8 lawsuit filed by 1851 Center for Constitution law on behalf of Rock House Fitness Inc, and 34 other gyms, which have been deemed nonessential businesses and thus told to stay closed under Ohio’s statewide “Stay Safe Ohio” order.

“Constitutions are written to prevent governments from arbitrarily interfering in citizens’ lives and businesses,” said 1851 Center Executive Director Maurice Thompson, according to Cleveland 19 News.

“On that front, the call to action is clear,” he added. “The Governor and health director may no longer impose their own closures and regulations and write their own criminal penalties to enforce those regulations and closures.”

In issuing her orders, Acton relied on a statute that grants her department “ultimate authority in matters of quarantine and isolation.”

Lucci, however, says that Ohio law only permits Acton to “isolate” the sick and “quarantine” those who have been exposed to an illness during the period of incubation for the disease, and that in the case of the Wuhan coronavirus, the incubation period is 14 days.

Therefore, Judge Lucci has concluded that Acton’s powers are to stop after 14 days.

“The director has quarantined the entire people of the state of Ohio, for much more than 14 days,” wrote Lucci. “The director has no statutory authority to close all businesses — which she deems non-essential for a period of two months.”

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.


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