(please note that the photograph above is an image obtained from the internet, which was marked for public use; it does not depict the appellant or the arrest in this case)
Scott Myerson v. United States, No. 12-CM-1642 (decided August 28, 2014)
Players: Associate Judge Blackburne-Rigsby, Senior Judges Pryor and King. Opinion by Judge Blackburne-Rigsby. Jeffrey L. Light for appellant. Trial Judge Juliet J. McKenna.
Facts: Park Police officers were arresting a pedicab driver for refusing to move his pedicab from a handicap space. Myerson, another pedicab driver, pedaled up on his pedicab and tried to tow the other pedicab away from the handicap space. The officers ordered him to release the pedicab and Myerson did so. Myerson, however, argued with one of the officers. The officers then issued Myerson a ticket for parking his pedicab in a no parking zone. Myerson screamed loudly and pulled out his cell phone and held it front of the face of one of the officer’s (presumably to take a photograph or video). The officer ordered Myerson to put his phone away, but Myerson refused. The officer then arrested Myerson for refusing the order. During the arrest, Myerson “‘aggressively pulled his right arm free.’” In response, the officer forced Myerson to the ground. In the process of forcing Myerson to the ground, the officer injured his (the officer’s) knee. Myerson was convicted of misdemeanor APO.
An off-duty police officer visiting from Pennsylvania provided a written account to the police. Myerson’s defense counsel sought to speak to the witness, but the witness refused. The defense sought to subpoena him, but the government refused to provide his address and instead represented that it would call the witness in the government’s case. At trial, the government did not call the witness. The government agreed, however, to a continuance of the trial in order to produce the witness. The defense refused and instead asked that the case be dismissed.
Issue 1: Does the assault on a police officer (APO) statute violate the Home Rule Act when the complainant is a federal officer?
Issue 2: Where the defendant does not seek to subpoena a witness based on the government’s representation that it will call the witness in the government’s case, and the government fails to call that witness but offers to produce the witness after a continuance, are the defendant’s constitutional rights to a speedy trial or compulsory process violated?
Holding 1: The original APO statute originates from a 1953 congressional act that preceded the 1973 Home Rule Act. The 2006 modification of the APO statute did not exceed the authority of the Home Rule Act that explicitly permitted amendments to Titles 22-24. Enforcing the APO statute with respect to these federal Park Police officers, who were enforcing local traffic ordinances at the time, did not impede on a “federal function” and therefore did not violate the Home Rule Act
Read the full opinion here.