Florida state Rep. Sabatini misses filing deadline in COVID case challenging Leon County's mask requirement


State Rep. Anthony Sabatini, R-Howey-in-the-Hills, is attorney in a case challenging the mask ordinance. - PHOTO VIA NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA
  • Photo via News Service of Florida
  • State Rep. Anthony Sabatini, R-Howey-in-the-Hills, is attorney in a case challenging the mask ordinance.
An attorney for Leon County Republican Chairman Evan Power faces a new deadline to file a brief in a challenge to a county ordinance requiring people to wear face masks — or the case could be dismissed.

The 1st District Court of Appeal on Friday gave Power’s attorney, state Rep. Anthony Sabatini, R-Howey-in-the-Hills, 20 days to file an initial brief. The move came after attorneys for Leon County said Sabatini had missed an Oct. 8 deadline.

Power and Sabatini went to the appeals court this summer after a Leon County circuit judge upheld the constitutionality of an ordinance requiring people to wear face masks to try to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Circuit Judge John Cooper issued a 27-page final judgment rejecting arguments that the ordinance violates a series of constitutional rights, including rights to privacy and due process. Attorneys for the county said in a filing Thursday that Power’s attorney filed a notice of appeal on July 30 and was required to file an initial brief at the Tallahassee-based appeals court by Oct. 8.

“Leon County has not been served with a brief on behalf of Mr. Power, and the docket for this case does not reflect a brief has been filed by Mr. Power,” the county’s attorneys wrote.

The order issued Friday by the appeals court said that within “20 days from the date of this order, appellant (Power) shall file the initial brief or, alternatively, show cause why this appeal should not be dismissed for failure to comply with the rules and orders of this court.”

The case is one of several that have been filed across the state challenging mask ordinances. At least three of the cases are pending at the 1st District Court of Appeal.

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