Skip to comments.Judge: Woman Who Cursed Out Toilet Protected Under 1st Amendment
Posted on 12/14/2007 11:32:59 AM PST by RDTF
SCRANTON, Pa. A woman who was cited for loudly cursing at her overflowing toilet and then at a neighbor who told her to quiet down has been acquitted on First Amendment grounds.
District Judge Terrence Gallagher dismissed the disorderly conduct charge against Dawn Herb, 33, ruling Thursday that she was within her rights when she let loose a string of profanities Oct. 11.
Although the language she used "may be considered by some to be offensive, vulgar and imprudent ... (it is) protected speech pursuant to the First Amendment," the judge wrote.
Herb was cited after Patrick Gilman, a police officer who lives near Herb, called authorities to complain.
At a hearing Monday, Gilman testified that he was at home, off duty, when his 12-year-old daughter ran in and said she had heard loud curses coming from a house down the street.
Gilman said he went outside, heard the bad language and yelled out to Herb to "watch your mouth." He said that she cursed at him instead. That's when Gilman called authorities.
In Pennsylvania, someone can be convicted of disorderly conduct for using obscene language in a way that causes "public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm."
But Barry Dyller, who represented Herb on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union, said rulings over the past 20 years have established that "colorful language" isn't illegal. He praised the judge's ruling.
"He's exactly right ... in his reasoning," Dyller said. "And it's important that the public understands this."
(Excerpt) Read more at foxnews.com ...
“And it’s important that the public understands this.”
I wonder why? So that we can all exercise our right to vent profanity without fear of prosecution?
What the F*ck?
If profanity speech could be prosecuted, then eventually any class of speech could be.
I myself welcome this ruling. I will be working on my car in the driveway this afternoon.
Why not “sorry, my toilet overflowed” and “I understand”.
What did she yell at an overflowed toilet?
“You’re full of sh!t!” ????
Mr. Roger’s @$#%*&! Neighborhood.
I don’t disagree with the judge’s conclusion. Just the ACLU’s statement that every American needs to be aware that they can vent profanity in public with impunity. You don’t need to encourage that kind of thing, even if it is legal.
She is in her own house and can’t even curse at her toilet?
No doubt, this is one over-zelous cop. He should be disciplined, not her.
Can you say, "@$#%*&!" boys and girls?
I knew you could!
She was in her own house. She did not do this during play hour at the children's hospital or community playground.
I agree with you. Profanity is obnoxious. But it shouldn’t be taken to court.
I don’t want to encourage this either, but I don’t see any other constitutional decision for the judge to make.
can you believe Gilman is a cop? sheesh
The real offense, in his eyes, was that she told a cop to go f--- himself (or whatever phrase she used)
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