LIMA — The Third District Court of Appeals has overturned the conviction of a Michigan doctor found guilty in Lima Municipal Court last year of a misdemeanor charge of misconduct at an emergency.
Peter Mapes of Oscoda, Michigan, took his case to trial and vigorously argued that he was merely attempting to assist a stranded motorist along Interstate 75 near the overpass for state Route 65 on a rainy evening in May 2019 when he was arrested by an Ohio State Highway Patrol officer for failing to abide by the patrolman’s orders and direction at the scene.
The bench trial was heard by Judge David Rodabaugh, who found Mapes guilty and assessed a fine and court costs totaling more than $500.
In its ruling issued Monday, the appellate court reversed the lower court ruling. The panel concluded that “the trier of fact clearly lost its way in concluding that Mapes hampered the lawful operations of a law enforcement officer engaged in his duties at the scene of an accident.”
The jurists also said the trial court “erred by denying the defendant due process and prohibiting the defendant from testifying about his observations and conclusions at the accident scene.”
The case was remanded back to the trial court for further proceedings.
Mapes, in an email to The Lima News, had harsh criticism for the treatment he received in Allen County.
“In my opinion, Judge Rodabaugh’s court in Lima is a Kangaroo Court that rubber stamps whatever the officers ask for despite the weight of the evidence,” Mapes wrote.
He alleged that Patrolman Shawn Cook of the Ohio State Highway Patrol “conveniently forgot the answers to anything that might have been exculpatory for me. The judge decided to ignore my testimony … and convict on the weight of Lt. Cook’s testimony alone.
“There is a problem in Lima. It starts with officers like Lt. Cook who demonstrate a lack of judgment at the scene — endangering the public — and ends at Judge Rodabaugh’s bench. Judge Radabough wears the trappings of justice but in my opinion fails to administer it,” Mapes wrote.
“I think the real issue was that Lt. Cook decided to bully me at the scene of an accident when I refused to endanger the life of the accident victim to follow his directions. Judge Rodabaugh then decided to side with his officer and ignore the weight of the evidence. Fortunately the Appeal Court reversed his decision.”