Wash. judge says blaring your horn in front of your neighbour’s house is not free speech

Being honked off doesn’t give you a right to honk on.

EVERETT, Wash. — Being honked off doesn’t give you a right to honk on.

That’s the ruling from a Superior Court judge in Washington state in the case of a woman who expressed her anger at a neighbour by leaning on her car horn at 6 a.m.

Helen Immelt, of Monroe, got into a dispute with the neighbour in 2006, after she learned that he had filed a complaint with their homeowners’ association about her chickens.

She responded by parking in front of his house at 5:50 a.m. the next day and leaning on her horn for 10 minutes straight.

After he called the police, she returned for a second round of honking two hours later.

Immelt was cited for a noise violation and appealed her conviction to the superior court, saying her honking was free speech.

But Judge Richard J. Thorpe ruled Monday, “Horn honking which is done to annoy or harass others is not speech.”

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