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The Crazy Case Of The Cussing Canoeist

cussing%20man.gif So when Timothy Joseph Boomer, then a 28-year-old engineer, fell into the Rifle River in Michigan, he let fly a bunch of curse words. No problem, except for (1) a law that makes it illegal to use vulgar language in front of women and children, and (2) the presence of a woman and 2 children. Incredibly, a deputy heard him and charged him with violating the 105-year-old law. What do you think happened?

The trial judge said the ban on cursing in front of women was uncontitutional, but not the ban on cursing in front of children! The appeals court chucked the whole law, reasoning that

“This … would require every person who speaks audibly where children are present to guess what a law enforcement officer might consider too indecent, immoral, or vulgar for a child’s ears.”

The case is Michigan v. Boomer, 655 N.W.2d 255 (Mich. App. 2002).

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