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Appeals court tosses out GOP chair's challenge to Leon County mask mandate

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Posted at 11:17 AM, Dec 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-08 11:17:11-05

LEON COUNTY, Fla. (WTXL) — A challenge seeking to strike down Leon County's face mask mandate has been dismissed by the 1st District Court of Appeal.

On Monday, the court dismissed an appeal filed by Leon County Republican Party Chairman Evan Power. This comes after a circuit judge found that the county's mask ordinance did not violate any constitutional rights in July.

The dismissal was not tethered to the constitutional matters in the case, but was related to Power's lawyer, State Representative Anthony Sabatini (R-Howey-in-the-Hills), "for failure to file an initial brief."

Documents show that Sabatini filed the appeal on July 30 and, according to the rules, was required to file his initial brief within 70 days from the filing of the notice of appeal. That means the brief was due on Oct. 8.

The appeals court then gave Power and Sabatini 20 more days to file the brief, meaning they had until Nov. 12 to respond.

On Nov. 13, Leon County requested that the case be dismissed and the 1st District Court of Appeal granted that dismissal on Monday.

Leon County began enacting its mask ordinance on June 23 as cases spiked across the state. The order requires individuals inside certain businesses to wear a face-covering.

It also levied fines against those in violation of the ordinance, though Gov. DeSantis has since issued an order suspending the collection of fines for violation of COVID-19 restrictions.

Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering