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  • Carolina Journal

NC man serves jail time for refusing to mask in courtroom

Gregory Hahn, a veteran and single father, was jailed by Harnett County Judge Charles Gilchrist for refusing to wear a mask during juror training. Gilchrist ordered Hahn to serve 24-hours in jail for contempt, despite there being no mask mandates in Harnett County or the Lillington public government building. Hahn shared his story on Fox News Friday evening, setting off a national outrage over Hahn’s treatment.

Appointed in 2010 by former N.C. Gov. Bev Perdue, a Democrat, Gilchrist is the only judge in the county court system that forces people in the room to wear masks.

“Judge Gilchrist’s ruling is outrageous,” Rep. Richard Hudson, R-NC, said in a statement over the weekend. “Even if you agree with the Judge’s perspective on masks, Hahn should have never been arrested. There are other ways it could have been handled.”

Hahn said that a sign posted clearly stated that masks were optional in the public building.

“You can go in any district courtroom without a mask, you can come into superior clerk court without a mask and the district attorney’s office without a mask, but with Judge Gilchrist he has a mandate that you must wear a mask,” Clerk of Court, Renee Whittenton told WRAL.

Hahn was in the courtroom for jury training with 98 other potential jurors. When he refused to mask up, Gilchrist jailed him with no bond.

“The irony of all this is the judge was talking to me without a mask,” Hahn told WRAL. “If safety was such a concern, I go to jail no mask requirements with inmates.”

Hahn, 47, said that Gilchrist also refused to allow him to call his minor son while in the county jail.

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