County attorney Rheubin Taylor says whether a person is accused criminally or civilly for disregarding mask orders depends on the case.
Generally, I propose, it’s better to be accused criminally, as the standard of proof is “beyond a reasonable doubt” rather than “preponderance of evidence,” the civil standard.
County government as of Friday is ordering people to wear chin diapers in public, with numerous exceptions to the order. Mr. Taylor says in an email citations of the so-called health directive “will be brought before either the Hamilton County General Sessions Court or the Hamilton County Chancery Court. Those courts are already established by State law. There is no other tribunal that will hear these cases.”
In some complaints, a health department staff person is the accuser. In others, a police officer or sheriff’s deputy:
Civil citations for violation of the Health Directive will be initiated by the Health Officer, and presented to the Court by the County Attorney’s Office. Law enforcement officers would be the ones to issue criminal citations, which would be brought in the General Sessions Court.
The severity of the violation (by either a business or an individual) would determine whether a matter would be treated criminally or civilly.
Mr. Taylor makes no mention of my administrative notice to county government regarding the right of the citizen to be arrested under a sworn warrant, with exceptions to that requirement outlined in Tenn. Code Ann. 40-7-103, arrest by officer without warrant.
I put the county on notice (and the city, too) for repeated violations of this constitutional law, which reduces constitutional protections against warrantless arrest — but only so much. These are enumerated exceptions. The key point to remember in the right to be arrested under a warrant in the mask oppression: Having a bare face is not a public offense, and so requires a warrant for there to follow an arrest.
Since notice has been given about this abuse, a rejection of this law will be an act in bad faith, with malice, and with knowledge and intent to violate the law as it is written, and as it has been interpreted by the courts.