Restaurant owner who was in jail says rights were violated

Top Stories

FILE – In this file photo dated Thursday, Oct.8, 2020, empty tables at a cafe terrace in Lille, northern France. The Paris prosecutor’s office on Monday April 5, 2021, announced an investigation into accusations that government ministers and others dined in secret unidentified restaurants in violation of pandemic restrictions. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler, FILE)

HOLLAND, Mich. (AP) — A western Michigan restaurant owner who spent four nights in jail for violating coronavirus-related orders is firing back weeks later with a demand that $15,000 in fines be refunded and contempt findings dropped.

An attorney for Marlena Pavlos-Hackney said her rights were violated during a contentious court hearing on March 19. Court filings show that she doesn’t consider the case closed.

Judge Rosemarie Aquilina changed the Ingham County courtroom “to Burger King — the judge had it her way,” attorney Robert Baker said in a court filing Friday.

“Not the U.S. or Michigan Constitutional way, not the Michigan Statutory or Court Rule way but her way in violation of the aforementioned,” Baker said.

State regulators yanked Pavlos-Hackney’s food license in January for serving indoor diners and breaking other rules related to preventing the spread of COVID-19. But the restaurant, Marlena’s Bistro and Pizzeria in Holland, stayed open in defiance.

Pavlos-Hackney refused to turn herself in to face a contempt hearing. She was arrested and spent four nights in jail until authorities were convinced that her restaurant would stay closed.

Baker, who wasn’t hired until Pavlos-Hackney was arrested, said Aquilina questioned her without recognizing that she had a lawyer. He said there was “no testing of any evidence” or an opportunity to cross-examine or produce witnesses.

A message seeking comment was sent to the attorney general’s office.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Michigan Headlines

More Michigan

StormTracker 6 Radar