Judge Throws Citizen In COVID-Filled Jail for Not Wearing Mask, Montana Sheriff Comes to Rescue

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A visiting judge from Montana’s most liberal city, Missoula, threw a Cascade County resident into jail after he reported for jury duty without a mask. The citizen, who was just trying to do his civic duty, was then given an apology by the Cascade County Sheriff, who then publicly rebuked the judge.

When Sheriff Jesse Slaughter of Cascade County took his oath of office (left), he appears to have meant it. Slaughter bravely stood up to a visiting judge from Missoula who threw a potential juror into jail for not wearing a mask. Although Slaughter claims his options for disobeying the judge’s orders are limited under Montana law, he nonetheless rebuked the judge, apologized to the citizen, and issued a stinging press release in response to the order.

According to Jim White at Northwest Liberty News, Philip Dupaul tried to call the night previous to his court trip to get their mask rules, but he only received a pre-recorded message. As he arrived and began filling out his questionnaire, a deputy approached him and questioned him about his missing mask. 

Dupaul politely explained he would not be wearing a mask.

Then, Missoula Judge John Larson, who was presiding due the absence of the Cascade County Judge, Greg Pinski, charged Dupaul was contempt and threw him into the Cascade County jail. With utter disregard for Dupaul’s safety or any concern for the spread of COVID-19, Larson threw the man into a facility with an outbreak of more than 60 positive coronavirus cases.

Reportedly (seen in the video below), two attorneys in the courtroom spoke up to tell the judge his contempt charge was tyrannical, but he dismissed their concerns.

Yes, that’s correct. In the name of mitigating a ‘dangerous’ virus, Larson threw the man into a tightly confined hotspot of COVID-19 positive inmates. Judge Larson seemed to have been in contempt not only for basic civil liberties, but for the public welfare as it relates to coronavirus mitigation.

Sheriff Slaughter, who oversees the county facility and whose deputies followed the judges orders to arrest the man, was deeply distressed when he discovered what had taken place. In response, Slaughter issued scathing statements about the judge to the public.

Slaughter said, “This order by the Judge then forced my Deputy (the Bailiff) to have to arrest Phillip and place him in the Cascade County Detention Center. I’m extremely frustrated and disappointed in how this situation was handled by Judge Larson. He did not consult with me regarding his decision. This whole mask order is contentious, to say the least. We as the Government should not be incarcerating and oppressing our citizens during this crisis over a mask order.”

Slaughter also pointed out in a press release that the judge, who was not elected by the people of Cascade County, was not accountable to them and it probably led to his disregard for their rights. But thankfully, Dupaul received the sheriff’s apology and was gracious.

Slaughter explained, “…this was not justice of any kind; this was a Judge who used very poor judgment in our community. I spoke with Phillip and I apologized for what happened to him. He was very upset and worried due to him being incarcerated and our COVID outbreak, and rightfully so. However, he has shown grace and accepted my apology.”

Dupaul appeared on Northwest Liberty News to discuss his incarceration (watch below).




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