back to article Americans can swear at toilets, judge rules

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 …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up



  2. Alan Donaly

    Toilet justice

    well thats a relief I thought freedom of speech in your own abode was done for.

  3. Ishkandar


    I believe that it is illegal to persecute and burn witches in America, now. So perhaps any "foul-mouthed, unGodly" woman will do !!

  4. Jason Harvey

    so you can...

    ... talk sh!t to your sh!t and not worry about a rest...


  5. Iamfanboy

    What's more important

    What's more important that bully cops get a kick in the balls over this. Over and over and over.

  6. Paul F


    And I'm out.

  7. Sam


    I can walk up to a bog and say "you're full of shit!", then..

  8. Chris G


    Having lived in the land of the free for a while, I noticed whilst there that many of the current indigenes are unable to construct a sentence unless it includes the word fuck. This ruling is a benchmark in American law as it now means that the majority are now free of the fear that has previously rendered them inarticulate.

  9. Bad Beaver
    Paris Hilton


    It took TWO MONTHS to sort this out?

  10. Keith T

    Real crime was ...

    annoying a cop. They don't like being annoyed.

  11. Nick

    @ Alan Donaly

    That would be freedom of speech in your own COMODE--ruling does not coveer the entire residence.

    Coat half inched from stall door.

  12. Jeff Wojciechowski


    What a potty mouth!!


  13. heystoopid
    Paris Hilton


    Idiocracy at it's finest !

    Both the prosecutor and the police officer involved are obviously idiots of the first class order to waste tax payers money on such a frivolous case in the first place !

    Both should have their employment terminated as obviously they are a true waste of space in every sense of the word , and for justice to be served a minimum sentence of thirty days in the stocks and ten per cent of their respective pensions deducted and paid to the poor woman as compensation for their basic incompetence !

    The "peter principle" rocks on in the new century !

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can't have been american cops -

    - they didn't taser her.

  15. Anonymous John
    IT Angle

    and I yelled back, 'Mind your own business'."

    Bog off might have been more appropriate.

  16. Stu

    It's heartwarming, actually

    The courts have defended what every red-blooded American knows is his (and her) Gawd-given right to be potty-mouthed.

    'M outta here...

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Fucking sweat!

    Now I can shout "Fuck you, you bastarding blocked shitter!" all I want!

    I bet this doesn't get posted!

  18. Herby
    IT Angle

    What happens when you @#$%&*@# at Vista

    Going for the IT angle here, which I assume is relevant. What happens to the masses who end up cursing at the monitor when it is running Vista. That is almost like an overflowing toilet. I'll leave the readers to figure out how similar they are.

    I've taken those "Intel inside" and "designed for Microsoft Windows" stickers and placed them on toilets as I thought they were more suitable devices to be labeled.


  19. Anonymous Coward

    They need legislation...

    ... for a toilet to take your shit, one way or another? Thats taking the piss! Only in America... and France... possibly Belgium

  20. ryan


    "I've taken those "Intel inside" and "designed for Microsoft Windows" stickers and placed them on toilets"

    Pure genius!

  21. Nick

    Since when..

    ... have lawyers been needed in the bathroom? I know there was that whole 'ally mcbeal' thing a few years ago, with the shared shitters, but did they not have anything better to do?

    My Armitage Shanks has been taking shit off me for years. It doesn't even complain when I take the piss...

  22. Dex


    and I yelled back, 'Mind your own business'."

    By Anonymous John

    Posted Friday 14th December 2007 20:18 GMT

    IT Angle

    Bog off might have been more appropriate.


    Surely "Eat Sh1t" would have been better? Given that the toliet was CLEARLY having problems doing jsut that

  23. James O'Brien

    /knock Bathroom Door

    Well isnt this just nice. I guess I have always been practicing free speach by telling people to go F^%# themselves whenever I get on a game :) (friends are great)

    And Ironically enough my toilet just clogged. So im off to go swear at it and give it the finger until it works like it should.

    Another question though, is telling the toilet its still number 1 (and 2) with me protected under the 1st?

    /Kick anthrax quit making a scene.

  24. Anonymous Coward

    Only in America

    Anywhere else in the world (except the middle east) there would not be a problem whit this. In Amerika (note the American spelling of America) this is a crime! A crime against god ... burn you heathen! don't you remember that this country was founded by Sexual repressed Puritans?

  25. puff

    Important the public understands this?

    No, it's important busy body fuckwit cops understand this, the public ALREADY understands it.

  26. H2Nick

    @Bracken Dawson

    Sounds like a man with a Khazi problem !

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Anonymous Coward

    Depends were in America. I've been to New York and seen blokes pissing on the side of a building, only to be joined by a cop pissing on same side of the building.

    If this happened i NYC that cop would of been bounce. infarct his fellow mates on the force might of taken him out back and given him a proper beating .

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    so the cop can say "shut the fuck up?"

    hmm--how come the cop doesn't arrest himself for saying "shut the fuck up"?

    sounds like a potty-mouthed cop to me...

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cop should be taken offduty

    I think that incidents like this should be examined in great detail and that if some officers are deeply offended or even scared to the point where they feel the need to make an arrest by words alone then they should be removed from duty following an investigation. This applies in the UK as well except there is no landmark ruling here protecting free speach,

  30. Rebecca Putman

    *grumble* *sputter* *cuss*

    It wasn't said in the article, but in my experience it's always so-called "christians" who have such delicate ears that upon hearing a cuss word, they begin bleeding from said ears and are teetering upon the precipice of Hell itself.

    Frankly, I'm sick and tired of having someone *gasp* or look shocked when I let loose a cuss word, and I'm just waiting for some gobsmacked idiot to ask me to watch my language!

    Too right she was acquitted of the charges. She should never have been brought up on charges in the first place.

  31. P. Lee

    @AC: re: Only in America

    America founded by Puritans?

    England used it as a large prison. As far as I can tell, the so-called "War of Independence" was just the criminals getting loose. They still have an unusually strong penchant for murder.

    That aside, isn't the whole point of swearing to offend? The gamut seems to run from invoking the Christian deity/calling down God's judgment (usually to the detriment of someone else) to inviting sodomy, incest, casual (possibly adulterous) sex etc. There is also the whole, "let us compare the situation to the contents of an unflushed toilet," which may just conjure up images better left to rest. I suspect a shocked reaction to that sort of language maybe a due to the disapproval of such activity.

    Of course the person swearing may be illiterate or perhaps just unable to express themselves, in which case, pity rather than an arrest is in order.

    Yes, the fireman's coat is mine...

  32. lglethal Silver badge

    @ P. Lee

    Australia was founded as a convict settlement and we aren't this stupid! So no blaming the convict side of things!

  33. Naiirita


    the fact she was in her house means nothing. most places dont allow swearing in public, though it isnt stringently enforced, even though she was "in" her house, if she was swearing loudly enough to be heard by her neighbor, she looses the in my house argument. it would be helpful to know what time it was, if it was 12 noon, a simple asking her to tone it down should have been all, if it was midnight, i would have called the police to.

  34. Crash Override
    Thumb Up

    US vs UK

    US - someone using profanity ruled to be within the first amendment right to freedom of speech and expression.

    UK - same person would have been hit with a Section 5 Public Order offense resulting in an ASBO.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A "Regular" occurrence?

    Is it surprising?

    American toilets are filled with great frequency

    American toilets block with unfailing regularity

    Americans are not noted for attempts to be quiet and inoffensive

  36. steve


    "America founded by Puritans?

    England used it as a large prison"

    Please tell me you're joking/young english person therefore bad education/american from the south half/person with no knowledge of history, so makes things up as you go along? (delete as appropriate)

    Either way, i think you're full of shit...........

    .....promised myself i woldn't say that. Taxi for one, please.

  37. Keith Williams


    Prisoners were transported to the Americas from about 1610 to the 1770s., when due to the American's revolting (so what has changed?) they needed somewhere else to put them. Enter Austrailia. From 1788 to 1868 Prisoners were transported to New South Wales in Aus.

  38. Nardak
    Thumb Up


    They do know of Humour... *shock*

  39. Scott

    Maybe more to it - Daily Kooks

    ...34 year old Dawn Herb, a single mother of four children. ...

    Dawn responded with a series of loud oaths and curses, all directed at the toilet and at urging her daughter to respond with a mop and bucket; but which also carried out an open bathroom window and across the street, where they were heard by 12 year old Sydney Gilman who was letting her dog in. This young lady dutifully told her father, Patrick Gilman, that there might be a fight going on and he went out to investigate.


    What he heard, he later testified, was a woman shout, "Are you fucking retarded? Get me a fucking mop!" In response Mr. Gilman might have been solicitous of his neighbor’s crises. But instead he says he yelled, "Watch your mouth! There are young children in this neighborhood!" Mr. Gilman says Dawn then shouted back, "Shut the fuck up!" However Dawn says he told her to "Shut the fuck up!" and she responded by telling him to "Mind your own business." But whatever the particulars, Dawn was clearly exasperated and Mr. Gilman was clearly offended. Under normal circumstances he would have called the cops, who would have shown up, cautioned her to be quieter and asked him to be more understanding, or, if he insisted, Mr. Gilman might have sworn out a complaint, and that would likely have been the end of it. It happens a thousand times every night in neighborhoods all over America. But these were not normal circumstances because Patrick Gilman is a Scranton police officer. Officer Gilman was off duty at the time, but when a cop calls a cop, they respond.

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