Feeds

Americans can swear at toilets, judge rules

First Amendment protects Pennsylvania bog-cuss woman

Boost IT visibility and business value

In what will undoubtedly be viewed by future generations as an landmark ruling, the Pennsylvania housewife charged with disorderly conduct for letting forth a stream of abuse during an overflowing toilet emergency has been acquitted, AP reports.

For those of you not up to speed on the Dawn Herb toilet-cuss outrage, the 33-year-old West Scranton pottymouth was confronted with an overflowing john on 11 October this year, and was reported by off-duty police officer Patrick Gilman when she let forth a stream of profanity.

Herb told the Scranton Times-Tribune: "The toilet was overflowing and leaking down into the kitchen and I was yelling [for my daughter] to get the mop... A guy is yelling, 'Shut the fuck up', and I yelled back, 'Mind your own business'."

Law enforcement operatives duly attended the scene of the outrage, and Herb was charged with disorderly conduct, on the grounds of "intent to cause public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm".

However, District Judge Terrence Gallagher earlier this week dismissed the charge on the grounds that while Herb's language "may be considered by some to be offensive, vulgar and imprudent", it is "protected speech pursuant to the First Amendment".

Barry Dyller, who represented Herb on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union, praised the judge's good sense and insisted that past rulings have established that "colorful language" isn't illegal. He said: "He's exactly right ... in his reasoning. And it's important that the public understands this." ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Hello, police, El Reg here. Are we a bunch of terrorists now?
Do Brits risk arrest for watching beheading video nasty? We asked the fuzz
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
UK government accused of hiding TRUTH about Universal Credit fiasco
'Reset rating keeps secrets on one-dole-to-rule-them-all plan', say MPs
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
Felony charges? Harsh! Alleged Anon hackers plead guilty to misdemeanours
US judge questions harsh sentence sought by prosecutors
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Yes, but what are your plans if a DRAGON attacks?
Local UK gov outs most ridiculous FoI requests...
EU justice chief blasts Google on 'right to be forgotten'
Don't pretend it's a freedom of speech issue – interim commish
Munich considers dumping Linux for ... GULP ... Windows!
Give a penguinista a hug, the Outlook's not good for open source's poster child
This'll end well: US govt says car-to-car jibber-jabber will SAVE lives
Department of Transportation starts cogs turning for another wireless comms standard
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.