NC man serves jail time for refusing to mask in courtroom | Eastern North Carolina Now | Gregory Hahn, a veteran and single father, was jailed by Harnett County Judge Charles Gilchrist for refusing to wear a mask during juror training.

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
    Publisher's Note: This post appears here courtesy of the Carolina Journal. The author of this post is CJ Staff.

    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.

    "I never thought I'd show up to serve jury duty and end up behind bars, but it happened," Hahn told Tucker Carlson Friday evening on Fox News. "There was no warning, no requirements going into the courthouse."

    There is no statewide or county mask mandate in place. A county order did say that presiding judges may use their discretion to require masks in the courtroom, but the policy does not suggest jail time for citizens exercising the mask-optional policy, and no notice or signage indicated Gilchrist's personal requirement.

    Hahn said that the 98 potential jurors were together for more than fifteen minutes shoulder to shoulder, most unmasked, before the training began. A bailiff approached him, singled him out, and directed him to stand before the judge.

    "I said, 'I'm not going to wear a mask,' and he goes, '24 hours in the Harnett County jail,"' Hahn recalled.

    Hahn said he had not yet been selected for jury duty and he asked to be excused. Gilchrist refused saying in "his" courtroom he was ordering Hahn to be masked. Hahn refused again and was processed, had a mugshot taken, and given an orange prison uniform. He was put in isolation until the next afternoon.

    "It just took one person to make a stand, and no one else joined me," Hahn said. "It is hard doing the right things, and I tell my kids, stand up for what you believe in and don't be bullied."

    Hahn told WRAL he has not ruled out filing a lawsuit.
Go Back

Leave a Guest Comment

Your Name or Alias
Your Email Address ( your email address will not be published)
Enter Your Comment ( no code or urls allowed, text only please )

Republicans hope ‘red wave’ extends to school board races Carolina Journal, News Services, Editorials, Government, Op-Ed & Politics, State and Federal State Supreme Court will not reconsider decision on disputed Harnett County fees


Latest State and Federal

N.C. State Treasurer Dale Folwell discussed issues surrounding several towns in the state Tuesday during his monthly “Ask Me Anything” virtual press conference.
On Tuesday, Nov. 1, North Carolina’s Democrat Gov. Roy Cooper held a press conference at the Executive Mansion announcing the creation of a new commission tasked with reforming the University of North Carolina System’s governance.
On October 31, I listened to five hours of oral argument at the U.S. Supreme Court in SFFA v. UNC and SFFA v Harvard. Since I doubt many readers had the patience to do that, I’m sharing some of the highlights here.
The U.S. Supreme Court heard more than 2 1/2 hours of oral argument Monday in a case challenging race-based admissions at UNC-Chapel Hill.
The Civitas Poll of parents found that parents want controversial books reviewed by committees and objectionable books removed from elementary schools
With post-election processes -- including required audits -- nearly complete, the NC State Board of Elections will meet on Tuesday, November 29, to certify final results of the 2022 general election.
Students from N.C. State University and UNC-Chapel Hill are asking the state Supreme Court to allow their breach-of-contract lawsuit to move forward.
The State Board of Elections will hold an in-person meeting beginning at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, November 29, 2022.
Recently, Locke intern and experienced bartender Michael Bruce wrote about North Carolina’s policy approach toward alcohol. He asked, “Should North Carolina be more like D.C.?“


Growing claims from both political parties about election fraud appear to fuel litigation before voting day
An attorney who has argued more than 100 times before the U.S. Supreme Court will represent N.C. Attorney General Josh Stein in his ongoing fight against a state criminal libel law.
Raleigh, NC – The NC House Republican Caucus today unanimously re-elected Representative John Bell (R-Wayne) as their House Majority Leader for the 2023-2024 legislative session.
Bus driver shortages force some districts in North Carolina to require school personnel to drive buses.
Local governments turning to bonds and sales tax referendums due to rising interest rates and inflation.
The U.S. solicitor general wants to take part in oral arguments during the Moore v. Harper redistricting case at the U.S. Supreme Court.
It is illegal in North Carolina to give anything "of value whatsoever" in exchange for voting


Back to Top