Cert. grant – Mathews v. City of Madison – disorderly conduct, simple assault

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.

Mark’s cert. petition     

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!

2 thoughts on “Cert. grant – Mathews v. City of Madison – disorderly conduct, simple assault

  1. “Officer Wigley testified that he instructed Matthews not to use his cell phone as a safety
    precaution, as he did not know who Matthews was calling or why Matthews was making the
    phone call.” Right. He might have been detonating an IED.

  2. Oh, and here’s the ENTIRETY of the COA’s “analysis” on D.C.:

    “Under section 97-35-7(1)(i), Matthews was guilty of disorderly conduct if the City
    proved that, with intent to breach the peace, he “fail[ed] or refuse[d] to promptly comply with
    or obey a request, command, or order of a law enforcement officer, having the authority to
    then and there arrest any person for a violation of the law . . . .” While the subsection of the
    statute with which Matthews was charged was never stated, it was clear from the police
    report and the testimony by Officer Wigley that the City was attempting to prove disorderly
    conduct under subsection (1)(i), which states a person’s conduct is disorderly if he
    “refrain[ed] from acting or doing as ordered, requested or commanded by said officer to
    avoid any breach of the peace . . . .” * * *

    Ҧ19. Officer Wigley stated that he responded to the call. He began his investigation by
    interviewing Pam. As Matthews approached, Officer Wigley instructed him to return to his
    car and to refrain from using his cell phone. Although Matthews began to return to his car,
    Matthews testified that he refused to refrain from using his cell phone. When he failed to
    comply with Officer Wigley’s order, he was arrested. From the evidence presented, a
    reasonable finder of fact could have found beyond a reasonable doubt that Matthews was
    guilty of disorderly conduct. This issue is without merit.”

    So if I’m sitting on a park bench reading a book, and a cop walks up and tells me to quit reading the book, I’m guilty of D.C.? My Jedi powers detect a Dickinson opinion .. concurring or in dissent, I can’t tell.

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