MI Appellate Court hears case of jailed Holland restaurant owner

LANSING, Mich. — The state appellate court heard testimony this week regarding the case of Marlena Pavlos-Hackney, who was arrested and jailed last year for refusing to comply with local COVID-19 health mandates.

Marlena Pavlos-Hackney has owned and operated Marlena’s Bistro and Pizzeria in Holland for years.

She ended up in a legal mess last year, refusing to comply with local COVID health mandates, such as masking and social distancing inside her restaurant.

Pavlos-Hackney was arrested March 19 on a civil contempt charge, issued after Attorney General Dana Nessel says she repeatedly defied local health orders— saying she was first contacted by local health officials in November of 2020 regarding reports that she was allowing customers to dine indoors while not permitted to do so.

Ingham County Judge Wanda Stokes issued a bench warrant for Pavlos-Hackney on March 5 after the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) told the court that her restaurant was still operating.

She paid two fines totaling $15,000 to the court. Soon after, her attorney Robert Baker was able to arrange for her release.

After a drawn out process of coordinating with MDARD, Marlena was able to open her restaurant back up in September.

Now, they have taken the case in front of the Michigan Court of Appeals in an attempt to get that $15,000 back, and to get some legal questions about the case answered.

Baker says their camp has yet to receive a full and accurate transcript of Marlena’s arraignment hearing that happened last year in Ingham County. They believe some of her civil rights related to due process may have been violated.

They are also questioning the venue of the charges, asking why she was charged out of Ingham County, when her restaurant is located within Allegan County.

The appeals court could make some determinations in the case, simply close it out without further discussion, or send the case back to a lower court for them to answer the questions.

A decision is expected in one to three months time.

The case against Marlena’s Bistro and Pizzeria
March 19, 2021 Marlena is Arrested
March 20, 2021 Restaurant is Closed After Arrest
March 20, 2021 Supporters Gather in Front of Restaurant
March 20, 2021 Attorney Baker Speaks After Arrest
March 22, 2021 MI GOP Holds Press Conference at Restaurant
March 22, 2021 Motion Filed to Have Marlena Released from Jail
March 23, 2021 — Marlena Released from Jail
March 26, 2021 — Lawmakers Say Marlena Unfairly Targeted
April 14, 2021 — Documents Filed to Dismiss Case
April 27, 2021 — Court transcript discrepancies alleged
August 8, 2021 — Working to Reopen Restaurant
September 8, 2021 — Marlena’s Bistro Sets Reopening Date
September 21, 2021 — Marlena’a Bistro Opens Back Up

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