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Arrest of man in 'moon' ruled lawful

By The Associated Press
07.28.04

MINOT, N.D. — North Dakota's Supreme Court says police officers here had the right to arrest a Donnybrook man who mooned them.

The state's high court on July 22 upheld Larry Shane Mathre's conviction of assaulting a peace officer, preventing arrest and escape.

Court records say Mathre was helping his grandmother move out of a domestic-violence shelter in January 2003. Someone called police because men are not allowed at the facility.

When police arrived, Mathre exposed his bare buttocks at two officers. Court documents say a "scuffle" broke out when officers tried to arrest Mathre for mooning them.

Court records say Mathre's grandmother fainted during the fracas. He was subdued while he tried to help her.

A municipal court conviction of disorderly conduct was dropped against Mathre for mooning because the act was not defined as an obscene gesture under city ordinance. But a district court jury found him guilty of felony assault and escape and a misdemeanor charge of preventing arrest.

Mathre appealed to the Supreme Court, saying he had the right to resist arrest because he wasn't breaking the law.

The state's high court disagreed.

"Clearly, Mathre's conduct was sufficient for the officers to reasonably believe he had committed the crime of disorderly conduct in their presence," Chief Justice Gerald VandeWalle wrote in the unanimous opinion.


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