You remember the woman arrested for cursing at her toilet because her neighbor, an off-duty cop, overheard her and was “offended”? I think I may even have mentioned it here. There is justice in the case:
When Dawn Herb’s toilet overflowed, it cost her nothing to fix.
The City of Scranton, however, will pay $19,000 to avoid a lawsuit from Herb, who was charged with disorderly conduct last October for swearing at the malfunctioning piece of porcelain.
A judge later dismissed the charge, saying Herb’s language, however offensive, was protected as free speech.
The American Civil Liberties Union and Barry Dyller, Herb’s attorney, announced the settlement Wednesday. The money will cover Herb’s legal expenses, but Dyller said it also should send a message that there’s a price to pay for violating the First Amendment.
We can have lots of interesting discussions about the increasing vulgarity in our public spaces. It’s even a debatable point that that canoeist should have watched his language when he cursed in the presence of women and children. But coming into our homes to police our language?