Right to Wrong Speech

last year a woman was arrested for swearing and disorderly conduct. Her toilet had overflowed and she was yelling for someone to bring a mop. All this in her own house.

Dawn Herb, 31, of Scranton, Pennsylvania, was charged after an off duty police officer overheard her swear at an overflowing toilet.

Officer Patrick Gilman told the hearing he heard someone yell: “Are you f***ing retarded? Get me the f***ing mop.”

Patrolman Gilman said he then yelled, “Watch your mouth”, to which the person replied: “F*** off”!

He then called Patrolman Gerald Tallo, who was on duty at the time, who charged Ms Herb after she admitted cursing at her toilet.

But District Judge Terrence Gallagher has now ruled she did nothing wrong, reports the Scranton Times-Tribune.

He dismissed the disorderly conduct charge which could have led to up to 90 days in jail and a £150 fine.

The language she used “may be considered by some to be offensive, vulgar and imprudent” but she was entitled to use it under the First Amendment, the judge ruled.

 Her case was taken up by Civil rights group the American Civil Liberties Union, which defended her right to wrong speech. Winning the case earlier in the year Dawn Herb has now been awarded $12 000 compensation. Free speech goes all the way in the land of the free, and pays dividends too.

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