8112 – One Case, Over Easy


You can blow your own horn but it could really cost you.  This case involved horn honking, chickens and angry neighbors, and it all began when Helen got a letter from the neighborhood homeowners association informing her her chickens were illegal and violated the master deed.  Helen, who really loved her chickens, immediately suspected fowl play and confronted the association president and two other neighbors about the letter.  After John admitted he had complained about the chickens, he was awakened at 5:15 A.M. by a loud car horn excessively honking in front of his house.  Sure enough, it was Helen, who ended up being arrested and convicted for violating an ordinance that makes it a crime to honk a horn for other than public safety reasons.  She appealed claiming honking a horn is free speech, but the Court said it was harassment plain and simple.  So the chickens have come home to roost, and horn honking ordinances are constitutional.  So, honk if you agree with this case or, on second thought, maybe you’d better not.


State of Washington v. Helen D. Immelt, Court of Appeals of State of Washington, No. 60991-2-1, Division One, Grosse, J.