Court: CRIMINAL LAW – Traffic stop – Defendant’s arrest for disorderly
conduct was justified where defendant was stopped for speeding, gave the
officer “the finger,” loudly used profanity, got out of his car, approached the
officer and threatened to “beat his a ---.” Evidence showed the defendant
interfered with another officer’s investigation of another traffic matter, and
an onlooker was disturbed by the defendant’s outburst. Judgment and sentence
affirmed. Mougros v. State, No. CRC 04-46 APANO (
IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE SIXTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
OF THE STATE OF
Appeal No. CRC 04-46 APANO
Opinion filed ____________________.
Appeal from a judgment and sentence
entered by the Pinellas County Court
County Judge Donald Horrox
Roger Futerman, Esq.
Attorney for appellant
Wes Trombley, Esq.
Assistant State Attorney
THIS MATTER is before the Court on the defendant, Mihali Mougros’, appeal from a judgment and sentence entered by the Pinellas County Court. The defendant entered a guilty plea to charges of disorderly conduct and possession of marijuana, reserving his right to appeal the trial court’s denial of his motion to suppress. 1After reviewing the briefs and record, this Court affirms the judgment and sentence.
The defendant contends that his arrest for disorderly conduct, and the subsequent search, were invalid because he was arrested for merely directing insulting words to police officers. The record shows that the defendant was stopped for speeding. In the process of being stopped he gave the officer “the finger.” He then loudly used profanity several times. He got out of his car, approached the officer, and said he would “beat the officer’s a -- .” When another officer approached, the defendant hurled abuse at him --complete with a visual demonstration and more expletives. The defendant was then arrested for disorderly conduct. A search subsequent to the arrest found marijuana, and the defendant was also charged with possession of marijuana.
The defendant appears to be asking this Court to find as a matter of law that the words spoken by the defendant in that manner and under those circumstances were not “fighting words” likely to incite the listener. This Court declines to make such a ruling. Those words hurled at the officers in such a manner could easily have been found to have been “fighting words” likely to incite the listener under these circumstances. Therefore, it was not error for the trial court to deny the defendant’s claim that the arrest was invalid.
In addition, contrary to the defendant’s assertions, he was not arrested for mere words. There was more than one officer at the scene. The second officer was dealing with one of the other speeders when he was interrupted by the defendant’s outburst. The officer testified that he had to temporarily suspend his investigations to assist the first officer with the defendant. The officer testified that the defendant’s antics interfered with his investigation of the other speeder. Also, one of the speeders, a female juvenile, was disturbed by the defendant’s behavior. She stated that she wanted to leave the scene because it looked hostile.
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that the judgment and sentence are affirmed.
AND ORDERED in Chambers at
Nancy Moate Ley
R. Timothy Peters
John A. Schaefer
cc: State Attorney
Roger Futerman, Esq.
1 The defendant appears confused about what he is appealing. He seems to be trying to appeal the denial of a motion to dismiss. A review of the record, however, reveals only a written order on a motion to suppress was entered by the trial court. What the defendant probably means is that his arrest for disorderly conduct was invalid and should be dismissed; therefore, any evidence found subsequent to the arrest must be suppressed.