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Criminal charges dropped over Owosso barber’s coronavirus order violations

 Owosso barber Karl Manke's shop is located at 421 W. Main St.
Owosso barber Karl Manke's shop is located at 421 W. Main St. (WJRT)
Published: Oct. 19, 2020 at 1:16 PM EDT
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OWOSSO, Mich. (WJRT) - Owosso barber Karl Manke is declaring partial victory in his battle against the state over violations of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s coronavirus orders.

Manke, 77, received several citations and criminal charges when he reopened his downtown Owosso barbershop in May against Whitmer’s orders at the time requiring hair salons and barbershops to remain closed.

The Michigan Supreme Court ruled the law Whitmer used to issue the orders unconstitutional on Oct. 2 and declared that her orders lacked the force of law after April 30. As a result, Manke said Shiawassee County Prosecutor Scott Koerner has dropped all criminal charges.

Koerner’s action removes the possibility of jail time, fines or a criminal record for Manke related to reopening his barbershop.

However, Manke still faces ongoing punitive action from the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, which is seeking to revoke his license to work as a barber. More hearings are scheduled in the matter on Nov. 19, Manke said.

He renewed calls for Whitmer and Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel to drop the license case against him.

“I appreciate the prosecutor dismissing all criminal charges against me in light of the Supreme Court’s decision. It is definitely a weight off my shoulders. I just want to earn a living, and I am not a health threat to anyone,” Manke said. “The courts have consistently upheld my constitutional rights affirming that the governor’s attempts to shut me down were out of line.”

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