An Arnold man who was shot by police in a scuffle after a confrontation with officers over their' efforts to return his wife to a hospital emergency room was fined $500 Wednesday on two counts of hindering police.
Michael A. Housley, 52, initially was offered probation before judgment — an outcome that would have provided an opportunity to have the convictions for obstructing officers cleared from court records.
But it also would have closed the door on an appeal. Housley chose to allow for an appeal, saying that he thought his behavior last July 12 was reasonable, and adding, "I'm not sure what I should have done."
Housley's lawyers also plan to file an excessive-force lawsuit against Anne Arundel County, possibly within days, citing the shooting of Housley by Officer Doyle Holquist Jr. and the surgery Housley faces for jaw pain, neck damage and disfigurement from being shot in the jaw. They may seek probation before judgment anyway in the criminal case.
Anne Arundel Circuit Court Judge Philip T. Caroom levied the fine Wednesday, giving Housley his choice of punishment. Caroom said he believed that Housley failed to cooperate with police initially and that the situation could have been resolved instead of escalating.
In June, an Anne Arundel County jury found Housley not guilty of assaulting the officers but convicted him on the two minor charges. Caroom said his interpretation was that jurors thought Housley's initial refusal to cooperate was unreasonable, but they did not think he assaulted officers.
Last summer, three police officers went to the home of Michael and Leah Housley at the request of the Anne Arundel Medical Center. Housley shut the door to prevent them from reaching his wife, who had been in the emergency room earlier that day after her husband feared she had taken too much of her prescription medication. The couple left the hospital more than six hours later when she felt well, although she had not been discharged, lawyers said. The hospital asked police to return her for an evaluation, according to police.
Michael Housley refused the officers' request — because they didn't show him any paperwork — shut the door and called 911. Leah Housley said she told officers she would come out after putting a family dog in a bathroom, but police kicked in the glass kitchen door to get inside.
Prosecutors contended that Michael Housley did not cooperate with police, saying police pepper-sprayed him and used a Taser twice to try to subdue him. Police said Holquist then shot Housley because he threatened another officer with a chair. The defense countered that Housley was cowering behind the chair and that police could have handcuffed him after he was stunned.
Assistant State's Attorney Thomas Mitchell, who argued to the judge that probation before judgment "should be earned," said after the sentencing that Housley's "hands weren't clean. His behavior rose to the level where 12 jurors unanimously were making that statement."
Defense lawyer Timothy Murnane disagreed, saying jurors did not believe the officers' accounts of the scuffle and shooting. He said jurors had sent out a question during deliberations asking for instructions for the hindering charge — an indication, he said, that "all the jury was asking for was something to hang their hat on" for an acquittal. Murnane said there is no defense for hindering officers, but that there should be, just as there is a defense for resisting arrest, and hoped an appeal would result in a new law.
"There is no possible defense. … It's black and white, but the world isn't black and white," Murnane said, saying there's no case-by-case look at circumstances.
"You would do the same, I would do the same, if someone comes to your door and says, 'Give me your wife,' " Murnane said.
Holquist, a former Baltimore City officer, fatally shot a fleeing bank robbery suspect in 2005 in Severna Park after the suspect shot at police, wounding Holquist in the leg. Since then, there has been at least one other excessive-force complaint against him — a pending civil lawsuit by a Glen Burnie man.
Police said in a statement that they are reviewing Housley's shooting.