LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — From a barber in Owosso to a restaurant owner in Holland, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s orders that brought most lives to a standstill in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic led to questions of government overreach.

One such case is still in the courts.

Marlena Pavlos-Hackney spent four days in jail and was fined $15,000 for fighting what she feels is a constitutional violation.

It’s an argument she’s now lost in a number of courts. 

“The orders are unconstitutional, and I simply do not understand why we’re still here,” Pavlos-Hackney’s attorney, Helen Brinkman, said when she appeared before a State Court of Appeals panel on Thursday.

Her argument is simple: Once the State Supreme Court ruled Whitmer’s Executive Order shutting down restaurants and other businesses considered non-essential in the early days of the pandemic unconstitutional, charges against Pavlos-Hackney should have been reversed.

“I believe that I am here and we are here because the governor decided she did not want to respect the Supreme Court … That she wanted to do an end run around their decision regarding the executive order,” Brinkman argued. 

An assistant state attorney general countered it wasn’t the executive order, but the fact that Pavlos-Hackney kept her bistro open after the restaurant’s license was suspended that led to the contempt charge against her.

”So, because it’s … the basis for it and the enforcement of the food law is independent?” Appeals Court Judge Michelle Rick asked.

“It is,” LaMore said. “The violation here was they were operating a food establishment without a food license. And that’s the basis for the underlying action here. “

News 8 will let you know when the Court of Appeal renders a decision.