MICHAEL ROGOWSKI A/K/A MICHAEL JOHN ROGOWSKI A/K/A MICHAEL J. ROGOWSKI, APPELLANT
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, APPELLEE
DATE OF JUDGMENT: 01/03/2013.
LAMAR COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, HON. PRENTISS GREENE HARRELL,
MICHAEL ROGOWSKI, APPELLANT, Pro se.
FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, BY: LADONNA C. HOLLAND.
BEFORE IRVING, P.J., ROBERTS AND JAMES, JJ. LEE, C.J., IRVING AND GRIFFIS, P.JJ., BARNES, ISHEE, CARLTON, MAXWELL AND FAIR, JJ., CONCUR. JAMES, J., CONCURS IN PART AND IN THE RESULT WITHOUT SEPARATE WRITTEN OPINION.
¶1. Michael Rogowski was stopped at a driver's license checkpoint operated by the Lamar County Sheriff's Department. He refused to present his driver's license, and ultimately he was arrested for disorderly conduct. He was convicted in the Justice Court of Lamar County of that charge. He appealed to the County Court of Lamar County, where after a trial de novo, the county court judge found him guilty of disorderly conduct, and imposed a fine of five hundred dollars. Rogowski appealed to the Circuit Court of Lamar County, which sitting as an appellate court, affirmed the conviction. Rogowski appealed the conviction to the Mississippi Supreme Court, and the appeal was assigned to this Court. Upon appeal, Rogowski, pro se, does not contend there was insufficient evidence to find him guilty of disorderly conduct. Rather, Rogowski contends only that the checkpoint was an illegal seizure that violated his rights secured by the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Finding no error, we affirm.
¶2. Lamar County Sheriff's Deputy Joshua Craft testified in the county court that, on the night of November 11, 2011, he and five or six other deputies operated a driver's license checkpoint. It was dark, but the deputies were in uniform, wearing reflective vests, and police cruisers were parked at the checkpoint with their blue lights flashing. Deputy Craft testified Rogowski pulled up to the checkpoint. Deputy
Craft asked to see Rogowski's driver's license, and Rogowski refused to show it. Deputy Craft opened Rogowski's vehicle door and unbuckled his seat belt. Rogowski " locked out his arms and legs," and refused to get out of the vehicle. Deputy Craft testified Rogowski was then forcibly removed from the vehicle, and they " struggled for a few moments." Rogowski was then handcuffed and arrested for disorderly conduct.
¶3. The only other witness testifying in the county court was Rogowski, who also represented himself in that court. His version of events was quite different. He testified he was driving home from a class project at the University of Mississippi and observed something in the unlit road, which at first he took to be an animal of some kind, but upon getting closer, Rogowski realized he was looking at " a human figure in dark clothing standing in the middle of the road in the left turn [Rogowski's] vehicle was in." Rogowski testified the intersection was not well lit, but the individual turned on a flashlight and waived it at him, so he slowed to a stop by the person, and partially rolled down his window. Rogowski said the individual shined the flashlight directly into his eyes and " blinded" him. At some point in time, Rogowski noticed there was more than one individual. He further noticed that at least one individual wore a " small yellow vest," but the vest was not at all reflective. Rogowski stated the individual at his vehicle's window " became angry" and asked for his identification, and before he could ask who the people were or what they were doing, they reached inside his vehicle and tried to remove him from it, so he locked his arms on the steering wheel. He stated ...