MALONE — Scott Rogers did not apologize to Town Justice Stephen Stone on Thursday for his profanity-laced outburst in Malone Town Court on Tuesday.
The Constable man, who denies all charges against him and claims his land is being stolen, did tone it down a few notches as three Franklin County sheriff’s deputies flanked him. But Stone still had to compete to be heard and made good on his promise to return Rogers to the Franklin County Jail to complete the five days the judge handed down Tuesday for contempt of court.
“I am talking the truth, and if you are not going to let me, then I’ll go back to jail,” Rogers told Stone, who indicated he would recuse himself as Rogers has repeatedly requested.
Rogers’ case, which began in the town of Constable, found its way to Malone Town Court after previous justices recused themselves.
He’s facing a pair of trespass violations and a misdemeanor criminal tampering charge related to incidents on Henry Road in Constable involving the 50-year-old and his neighbors. Rogers has pleaded not guilty and claims town, county and justice officials are in cahoots to steal his property.
One incident involved the discharge of a firearm in the back of Rogers’ property that he said was target practice but a neighbor felt was too close for comfort. Law enforcement, acting on an order of protection that remains in place, confiscated Rogers’ firearms. Rogers has also allegedly threatened town employees trying to maintain Henry Road.
Rogers says he owns the end of Henry Road, but Constable officials say that while he might have been told that when purchasing the property, a 1999 inventory of town roads proves otherwise. They say the entire length is a town road and they must maintain the portion Rogers says they are not allowed on, namely because everyone living there is entitled to fire and police protection.
When Rogers appeared in Malone Town Court on Tuesday, he embarked on a lengthy, profanity-littered tirade, during which he refused counsel, saying he preferred a teddy bear made to look like President Donald Trump over “corrupt” lawyers, and issued claims that his land was being stolen. Stone held Rogers in contempt of court and committed him to the county jail for five days, though the judge indicated Rogers would be released if he apologized in court Thursday and remained calm. Stone also approved a request by the Franklin County District Attorney’s office for a 730 exam to determine whether Rogers is mentally fit to represent himself in court.
“Bad guy coming through,” Rogers, in an orange jumpsuit and shackles, announced Thursday as deputies escorted him into court — which was packed, with some people only there to see Rogers.
As he did on Tuesday, Stone granted Rogers, who was wearing a back brace, permission to sit during the proceedings.
Stone, who raised his voice at times to be heard over the defendant, informed Rogers he’d been held in contempt and asked whether he intended to continue to use obscene language and talk over people.
“If you won’t do it to me, I won’t do it to you,” Rogers said and launched into allegations about people stealing his land.
“We are not getting into conspiracy theories,” Stone said.
Rogers contended it was the truth and demanded to know why his “confidential” information was being shared with a Franklin County public defender, reiterating a conflict of interest in that office and his refusal of the office’s counsel.
“You threw me in jail for telling the truth,” Rogers said.
“I didn’t throw you in jail for telling the truth,” Stone said.
The judge complimented Rogers for improving his behavior some and indicated he would grant the man’s request that he recuse himself.
An almost somber Rogers wished others appearing in court “good luck” as deputies escorted him from the courtroom. Franklin County Jail personnel confirmed he’ll remain in custody to complete the five days handed down by Stone for contempt. His next court appearance is scheduled for May 12.