Wednesday, December 12, 2007

You Might Get Sued For What You Say...In Your Own Home!

Dawn Herb's toilet was overflowing and leaking down into her kitchen-- and (like any number of us) this prompted her to utter some loud profanities...near an open window. Her neighbor, an off-duty police officer, called the police and she was charged with disorderly conduct.

"...The citation accuses the defendant of using obscene language or gestures “with intent to cause public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm or recklessly (creating) a risk ...”

“There was no intent to do anything,” Ms. Herb said. “I just feel so violated and irritated ... I don’t even have a criminal record..."

If convicted, Herb faces up to 90 days in jail and a $300 fine. ...For cursing in her own house!

This sucks... I have to agree with the ACLU on this one:

"...The use of obscene language or gestures is an offense under the state criminal code. But cursing at a police officer isn’t a punishable offense, said Mary Catherine Roper, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union based in Philadelphia.

“It cannot be the basis for a citation. You can’t prosecute somebody for swearing at a cop or a toilet,” she said. “We bring one of these cases a year and sue some police departments because they do not remember that they are not the language police.” (source)

A judge heard the case yesterday, but no decision has been rendered.

No comments: