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Maryland Man Sentenced to One Year in Jail for Violating Capacity Restrictions in March


In what appears to be one of the most severe sentences related to Covid-19 in the country,

a Maryland man was sentenced to one year in jail for holding two large parties that violated the state’s order against gatherings of more than 10 people.

In late March, when capacity restrictions at the beginning of the governor’s coronavirus emergency order were most rigid, Shawn Marshall Myers was arrested when officers found more than 50 people hanging out around a bonfire at his home. The Charles County Sheriff’s Office said it this wasn’t the first time Myers hosted a large gathering at his house and that both times he was argumentative with officers.

The first offense was on March 22, when officers were called to his home after neighbors reported a large party. Myers was argumentative but eventually agreed to disband the party.  Then on March 27, when officers returned to Myers’ home for another report of a large party, Myers claimed they had a right to congregate, refused to comply and was arrested. The county’s state attorney, Tony Covington, defended their reasoning to arrest Myers:

“He was given a warning, it’s not like the police just swooped in there and said you’re going to jail. They gave him a warning. He had at least 50 people the first day and then two, three days later, he’s doing the same thing. And the second day he’s of a mind that he’s not going to cooperate, he’s going to tell people to keep the music playing.”

After a bench trial, a judge convicted Myers of two counts of failure to comply with an emergency order and sentenced him immediately. In addition to his sentence of one year in jail, Myers was also ordered to pay a $5,000 fine and undergo three years of unsupervised probation after his release.

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