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Court upholds felony conviction for "interfering" with a law enforcement officer

United States constitutional law clearly authorizes a citizen to walk away from law enforcement if there is no grounds to arrest the individual.  Jay Bradley Morris was charged with violation of a Michigan statute prohibiting certain activities, after he was arrested at a gas station.  Bradley had a history of mental illness, was intoxicated, and had not been keeping up with his prescribed medications.  When police were allegedly told of a "potentially suicidal, armed" man at a gas station, they responded with guns drawn.  When the officers realized that Bradley apparently had no weapon, they seized his arms to search his clothing.  He "broke their grip" and did not voluntarily "go to the ground."  They took him down.   The officers also alleged that he failed to put his arms in position to be handcuffed, so they were forced to "tousle" him into cuffs.

Morris's attorneys argued that his non-compliance did not rise to the level of an actionable felony, and that the Michigan statute under which he was charged is so over-broad that it is unconstitutional.  The man's attorneys argued that the statutory language making it a felony to "knowing[ly] comply with a lawful command..." was constitutionally overly broad and not enforceable.  The Court of Appeals judges, Murray, Boonstra and Kirsten Kelly, three of the Court's most conservative members, held that since Morris "refused to comply" with commands, "quite probably was uncooperative," since he "tightened his body" rather than cooperating, and "pulled his arm away" from them, he had, therefore, committed a felony by "some level of physical struggling."

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