Man accused of violating COVID-19 rules

LIHU‘E — State Fifth Circuit Court Judge Kathleen Watanabe denied a Kaua‘i man’s motion to dismiss his case with prejudice at a court hearing Tuesday morning.

Joel McDonald, 41, who chose to represent himself after being advised by Wantanbe of his right to have a public defender, is contesting misdemeanor charges for allegedly disobeying the governor’s and mayor’s emergency proclamation by refusing to wear a mask at Costco.

McDonald said he submitted an “affidavit of truth” about his reason for not wearing a mask. According to court records, there does not appear to be any submission of an “affidavit of truth” provided to the prosecutor before the hearing.

McDonald gave the state five days to respond to the affidavit, and if they didn’t respond, he felt entitled to a default judgment.

McDonald’s unsuccessful argument did not raise any issues that would warrant dismissal.

McDonald presented further arguments in support of his notice of default and motion to dismiss with prejudice. McDonald was provided with an appropriate mask to wear in the courthouse after his mask didn’t meet the criteria in the middle of his hearing.

In documents filed by county Deputy Prosecuting Attorney David Loos, he argued any factual issues or defenses raised would be for a fact-finder to determine at trial.

Loos further argued a dismissal in the case at this stage would undermine the state’s interest in prosecuting the alleged crime, which directly posed a threat to the public health of the community in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Watanabe sided with the state given that McDonald struggled to follow basic court procedures by not properly filing paperwork before his hearing, and cited that the nature of his alleged charge could potentially endanger the public’s health and safety.

The incident occurred on Sept. 5, when Kaua‘i Police Department officer Kristopher Breyer investigated McDonald’s alleged violation.

According to court documents, when Breyer approached McDonald, he asked him where his mask was, and the officer observed that he wasn’t following social-distancing protocols by standing within 6 feet of other patrons without a mask.

McDonald responded by showing the officer a lanyard and stating that that exempted him from wearing a mask due to “religious reasons.”

McDonald expounded on his reasoning, saying the information on his placard references federal law, which he believed superseded state and county laws and thereby exempted him of Kaua‘i’s rules to wear a mask.

After being questioned, McDonald was arrested for violating the county’s emergency proclamation mandating wearing of masks in public, which was put in place in July.

McDonald’s trial is scheduled for March 1, 2021.

  1. Prentiss December 10, 2020 3:46 am Reply

    All that time and money wasted because one jerk refuses to do what’s right for the safety of his community. Sheesh. Wear a mask.

  2. Al Leged December 10, 2020 8:14 am Reply

    Question ?

    When someone is arrested, in order to preserve the 6’ distancing, does the Police Officer, put the handcuffs on a surface, step 6’ back and have the alleged criminal self handcuff themself with a 6’ tether on the handcuffs, like a dog leash and then led, or followed, to the police car, and taken to the hoosegow for booking, Dano!

    Otherwise, if it is a typical handcuffing does the Police Officer commit the same crime he is arresting the subject for? Failure to 6’ distance. What a simply complex dichotomy…Police Officer not knowing he or she themself is positive Covid-19, and contagious, and unknowingly unwittingly spreads the virus with a coughed droplet to the portal of virus entry of the alleged suspected suspect…into his unprotected EYES, or other virus portals of entry of citizens like nose and mouth.

    In fact, why aren’t we all wearing goggles or Lunar Landing Hellmets?…to protect our eyes from being a virus infection entry? After all the eyes are a common body portal of entry for both virus
    and bacteria. How could this so obvious body entry be overLOOKED, and may be the cause of the community spread since the nose and mouth are already covered mandate and which the addition of the failure of this EYES’ issue is obviously simultaneously being enforced by this man’s arrest.

    Any doctor knows that, especially those guarding us at the Dept of Health or Disease, making all these demands, but overLOOKING the obvious, the EYES as virus entry themselves, of the Covid-19 victims.

    PINKEYE is spread from one person to another just as viruses are too. Some forms of pinkeye are caused by virus and like Covid-19 can be spread by the contagious spreader even before they have symptoms of pink in their own EYES.

    Amazing how Covid-19 virus can be spread into your eyes and those who are supposed to (overly) protect us, are unaware of this form of spread, have overLooked it, or seemingly don’t care.

    We the general public must demand, in order to protect the very few at High Risk, that all citizens wear at all times goggles and or other protective head gear such as helmets without ear holes in case someone has a broken eardrum and that being another, but not too often, portal of viral entry via the outer, then inner ear, down the Eustacion tube to the back of the mouth and throat and therefore into one of the common typical portals of virus entry into our bodies.

    As thorough as the Health and Disease Dept. is, along with the Mayor, thorough means completely thorough, not partial, besides the need of air tight goggles or airtight helmets would spawn 2 more industries of protection devices they could make rapidly for us in China. And incoming President Biden with his already in place connection to leader(s) in China could produce these necessary anti-spread PPE’s at Warp Speed, otherwise known as lickety-split.

    Stranger things are happening with Covid.

    Like it is getting to where the majority of the population is being driven into poverty, now that there will be 10,000 more (education) furloughs, when only a microscopic amount of the population has been sickened or died from this medical plague impacting their High Risk patients compounding their extended in time chronic diseases, complicated and made worse by their toxic and lethal prescription drugs that burden and weaken the immune system.

    When is someone going to figure out you can’t steer the horse by the tail?

    For God’s sake and ours too, when will they restore normal operating procedures, (Tourism), and instead emphasize taking extra care of those who are at High Risk who are elderly and/or obese and standing in line for their multiple prescription drugs, and go the extra mile, and push them in the ways available to restore them to wellness, (and a healthy weight), and thus have little to no need for toxic and lethal prescription drugs.

    Wellness is a word and condition that needs more attention than typical disease care. It would favorably impact those at risk of being infected by the Covid-19 virus, and 80% of Americans the medical/pharmaceutical industry has taking 1 or more prescription drugs a day, clearly the sign of an unhealthy nation, not able to withstand another virus in the population, turning what is a minor flu experience with Zero to mild or moderate symptoms into an alleged national epidemic.

  3. Uli Roth December 10, 2020 10:50 am Reply

    Lock him up!

  4. Steve December 11, 2020 5:06 pm Reply

    Sending a man to TRIAL for not wearing a mask in public strikes me as a ridiculous waste of limited public resources. Escort him from the premises, fine him and move on. Cases like this underscore how our society is rapidly headed down a road that does not bode well for the freedoms we enjoy as citizens. If you want the court system to make an example of this person, be prepared to assume the role of defendant yourself as soon as someone decides your alleged infraction … no matter its nature … warrants the full weight of the law.

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