Oral arg. – COA – Thursday, May 21, 2015 – update – changed to May 26

An interesting case especially if it gives us guidance on disorderly conduct.

At 1:00 p.m. Tuesday, May 26, 2015, the Court of Appeals will hear Gregory Mastin v. State.   Gregory Mastin  was charged with driving on an expired driver’s license, disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest in  Lowndes County.   He pleaded guilty to having an expired driver’s license but plead not guilty to the remaining charges.  He was found guilty of the other charges and appealed from justice to county and from county to circuit to no avail even though the state couldn’t be bothered with filing a brief in circuit court until ordered to do so.

Mastin had been stopped at a driver’s license checkpoint where it was discovered his Alabama license had expired a couple of months prior. The cops claimed that Mastin refused to take the ticket and cursed.  Eventually he was tased and taken to jail.

Mastin’s summary of the argument is:

 Mr. Mastin’s conviction for disorderly conduct must be overturned. State and Federal case law show that a citizen cannot be arrested for “spoken words” directed at a police officer unless the words amount to “fighting words.” The language used by Mr. Mastin did not constitute “fighting words,” and therefore the arrest was not justified. Since the initial arrest was not supported by probable cause, the subsequent conviction for resisting anest is also invalid and must be overturned.

Mastin’s brief

State’s brief

Mastin’s rebuttal 

Watch the argument here

(personally, I try to stay out of Lowndes County)

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