Mathews v. City of Madison – On March 20, 2014, the Miss. S.Ct. granted cert. in Mathews v. City of Madison which was decided by the Court of Appeals on September 17, 2013. Court of Appeals opinion here. Mark Mathews was convicted of simple assault and disorderly conduct in an incident that started as a visitation dispute. Mark had driven to the house of the girl’s mother, Brittany Sullivan, to return their daughter. Mark was not allowed on the property because of a prior trespassing conviction so he stayed on the street. Brittany lived with her mother Pam Sullivan. Pam came out to Mark’s truck and told Mark that Brittany was not there. Mark refused to turn the child over to Pam. Pam then tried to wrest the girl from the truck and a struggle ensued. Pam eventually got the child and took her into the yard where Mark could not go. Mark called Madison police. Pam called her neighbor Mike Brown who happened to be a Madison police officer. Mike came to the house dressed in civilian clothes. Two Madison police officers also reported to the scene. Mark was trying to call his father when one of the officers ordered Mark to get off the phone. Mark replied that the officer could not stop him from using his phone. The officer then arrested Mark for disorderly conduct. Mark was convicted of disorderly conduct and simple assault arising from the struggle with Pam. For the assault he was to serve 180 days with 150 suspended. For the disorderly conduct he was to serve 180 days with 175 suspended. Mark appealed and the convictions and sentences were affirmed by the Ct. of Appeals.
Mark filed a petition for cert. arguing that the trial court and Ct. of Appeals erred in ruling the castle doctrine did not apply to his case. He also challenges the sufficiency of the evidence of disorderly conduct and assault as well as the exclusion of defense evidence in the form of the Madison dispatch report.
Given that disorderly conduct appears to apply whenever law enforcement can find nothing else with which to a citizen, a decision in this case may give some much-needed guidance in this area.
FOr the story of a totally bullshit arrest for disorderly conduct, check out the Motor Home Diaries. Foreigners, i.e. non-Mississippians, need to learn to stay out of this state!