September 12, 2011

"Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Mary Kuhnmuench found that there was no precedent for horn-honking being constitutionally protected political speech."

Azael Brodhead, a 36-year-old Iraq War veteran, represented himself, unsuccessfully, after he was ticketed for "Unnecessary Blowing of Horn":
Between 5:30 p.m. and 5:45 p.m. each day, someone in a black Honda would drive past Walker's house in Wauwatosa, blow his horn like crazy, give the finger through his sunroof and shout, "Recall Walker."

Week after week, the routine didn't change.
Then, on April 27, state troopers stationed at the Walker home decided to take action.

"I stopped the vehicle for the constant horn violation on today's date," wrote State Trooper Robert Simpson. "I asked the driver for his driver's license, and he immediately stated he was recording me and that he was a state probation agent." ...
"Probation agent is my day job," said Brodhead, who made $42,720 last year. "Being a concerned citizen is 24-7."
That happened in Wauwatosa, not Madison, it should be noted. I wonder what it would take for Madison police to ticket someone for political horn-honking.  Obviously, there have to be some generally applicable laws about excessive horn-honking. The question is whether they were selectively applied in this case.

38 comments:

Maguro said...

A probation agent. Hilarious.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Between 5:30 p.m. and 5:45 p.m. each day, someone in a black Honda would drive past Walker's house in Wauwatosa, blow his horn like crazy, give the finger through his sunroof and shout, "Recall Walker."

Right on schedule.....Tack strips.

traditionalguy said...

Somebody alert Garage Mahal.
The end of the world is upon us!

Apparently it is only in the State Capitol that horn assisted chanting is beyond reproach.

clemster said...

I am constantly amazed when liberals stand on 1st Amendment rights to make ridiculous public displays of shouting and finger waving and horn blowing. In what bizarro world do they live where it is ever appropriate to disrupt my peace and tranquility by shouting and honking? Why stop at political expression, if I go to the mall, and I object to a guy’s haircut, can I rush over and curse him and berate him, all in the name of free expression? Of course not. Liberals complain about not being heard, thus the public outbursts. We did hear you, in the 2010 elections, in the Prosser race, and in the recalls, and we see you for the fools that you are. I do not care for public displays from pampered entitlement junkies who cannot face the reality that they are going the way of the dinosaurs. Your day is done, make way for people who really do believe in freedom, freedom to rise or fall on our own efforts, free from the onerous burden of a bloated public sector union bureaucracy, content to wallow in the trough of taxpayer money for a lifetime.

Original Mike said...

Doin' right ain't got no end.

Lincolntf said...

No matter the Constitutionality, Brodhead obviously violated the "don't be a fucking tool" statute, and the Troopers finally got sick of it. Too bad the dingleberry didn't have an expired license or something so they could've really hassled him.

TosaGuy said...

The Wauwatosa noise ordinance is interpreted by the city attorney as:

"The noise ordinance basically says people cannot make any noise that unreasonably disturbs the quiet of people in the area. Previously the noise ordinance defined acceptable noise through specific decibels. But the city adopted the "reasonable person standard" when officials realized that noise sounds different depending on the volume of the surroundings - a noise that occurs in a quiet neighborhood may seem loud and disruptive, but that same noise may be barely noticeable next to a busy road."

Tosa City Attorney Allen Kesner regarding the intent of the city's noise ordinance.

SGT Ted said...

What was that squeeking we were hearing about 'civility' from that crowd again?

Joe said...

clemster, it goes beyond that. Liberals make claims of first amendment rights for "ridiculous public displays of shouting and finger waving" and then demand that actual political speech be prohibited by law.

This goes beyond rights for me but not for thee; liberals are, as a group, genuinely afraid of actually arguing the merits of their positions. This makes sense since most of their positions are based on emotion, not outcome.

Cue the token liberals here to now start up their ad hominem rantings and to make bizarre non sequitor references as though they are actual arguments.

SGT Ted said...

Brodhead is what we would refer to in the service as a "shithouse lawyer". So convinced of his "rights" when there is actual proof to the contrary.

The entertainment value is their down-with-the-ship defiant ramming the iceberg of the law with their dinghy.

Simon said...

Joe said...
"Liberals make claims of first amendment rights for 'ridiculous public displays of shouting and finger waving' and then demand that actual political speech be prohibited by law."

Well put!

gerry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TosaGuy said...

"Obviously, there have to be some generally applicable laws about excessive horn-honking. The question is whether they were selectively applied in this case."

I've lived in Tosa for 13 years. Persistent horn-honking at predicted times is not part of our general neighborhood culture (in fact, it's exceedingly rare), so there is no basis for the "selective enforcement" argument. We are a 50/50 town that likes our peace and quiet.

Real Debate said...

Why can't liberals accept responsiblity for their own bad behavior?

Instead they blame Scott Walker.

gerry said...

with their dinghy

That's got to be illegal.

SukieTawdry said...

Selectively applied? You mean, as opposed to those other cases where someone would drive by someone else's house and "blow his horn like crazy" week-after-week on a daily basis?

Mightn't one say that in all cases of excessive horn honking, the statutes are "selectively applied?"

TosaGuy said...

Brodhead is up in arms about having to pay for part of his pension....yet he needed only 6 more years in the military to get one. I get that maybe he was sick of active duty, but stick it out for 6 years in the guard or reserve and get something at age 60 to show for one's service. Plus, he would get some more ed benefits for his PhD in liberalism and take his $42K salary up a notch.

In summary, not too bright.

edutcher said...

I would have thought "Disturbing The Peace" would have done it.

This is what happens when you let lawyers write the laws.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

I wonder what it would take for Madison police to ticket someone for political horn-honking.

A pro-Walker bumper sticker?

Clyde said...

Actually, that should have been "Being an asshole is 24-7." Fixed it for him!

DADvocate said...

I bet this idiot is a hell of a probation officer. The neighbors had to hate the disruption.

Being a concerned citizen my ass, how about being a complete jerk and idiot 24-7.

Curious George said...

Dear dumbass:

Walker doesn't live there.

Martin L. Shoemaker said...

I dunno. I guess he was in violation of the noise ordinance, true; but it was during the afternoon, not early morning or late evening. And it was brief. And he didn't block access to any place, he didn't vandalize any place, and he didn't threaten anyone.

I understand he was annoying; but this guy sounds like a mature adult as Wisconsin protestors go.

clemster said...

Martin, don't be an apologist for fools. Fine tuning the details of the noisy disturbance does not make it anything less of a disturbance. In Waukesha, if you walk around public streets or parks making any kind of disturbance, you will be approached by the police, and if you continue you will be arrested. Any society will get the level of civil discourse that it enforces. Don't belittle civilized people by some far fetched philosophical argument that anything goes in a free society. Frankly, if the Madison police had enforced the law against protestors terrorizing the capitol for all those months, we would not have fools like this guy going about and braying free speech rights. Madison police are held in contempt nationwide for their cowardly and unprofessional performance.

Jim Bullock said...

What happens if we talk plainly about this? "Free speech" means the right to get your ideas out. It doesn't mean disruption, extracting a penalty on other people. "Do as I like or I'll cause you harm" has a name - extortion. Threats of violence also have a name - assault.

How about we just stop with the cutesy BS and call things what they are?

BJM said...

The question is whether they were selectively applied in this case.

Who else would they ticket? Were there other drivers blowing their horns when the troopers cited Brodhead?

Why was he allowed to create a disturbance in a residential zone for weeks on end if there are laws that prohibit excessive horn blowing.

Doesn't Wauwatosa have residential noise nuisance laws?

He couldn't get away with this crap in the Berkeley hills...homeowners go ballistic if you fire up a leaf blower and a car horn would send them right off the deep end.

Christy said...

So am I the only one who has been lectured by a police officer for using my horn? Well, alrighty then.

Peter said...

Azael Brodhead: POWA (Probation Officer With Attitude)?

It’s surely a Good Thing that the First Amendment does not prevent governments from regulating the time, place, and manner of speech. For if it did not, citizens would have no legal defense against anyone who parked a sound truck under their bedroom windows, and randomly blast at them.

But, surely one has to wonder if this probation officer hasn’t been co-opted by the criminal sub-culture he is supposed to supervise?

Class factotum said...

I dunno. I guess he was in violation of the noise ordinance, true; but it was during the afternoon, not early morning or late evening. And it was brief. And he didn't block access to any place, he didn't vandalize any place, and he didn't threaten anyone.

I live in Tosa. It's quiet. That's one of the reasons I like it. I would be highly annoyed if someone honked outside of my house every afternoon.

Even my husband, who would like to see Walker recalled (we are a mixed marriage), would not be happy with someone honking for 15 minutes every day, as he works from home and this would disturb his peace.

Martin L. Shoemaker said...

I didn't -- and still don't -- read it as him honking for 15 minutes. I read it as him driving by, honking, once during a 15 minute window.

If he was honking for 15 minutes, absolutely that's disturbing the peace. No question. But the story doesn't make that clear at all.

If he honked as he drove by once, that's not so clear.

And wow...

Don't belittle civilized people by some far fetched philosophical argument that anything goes in a free society.

I had no idea the First Amendment was a far fetched philosophical argument.

clemster said...

RE Martin: The first Amendment isn't a far fetched philosophical argument, but your spin is. Your response underscores my complaint, liberals can make arguments to defend any misconduct. The First Amendment doesn't protect yelling fire in a movie theater, it doesn't protect pedophilia as free expression, and it doesn't protect this fool from being fined for disrupting a quiet street. The court has spoken, if you feel so strongly about his rights, perhaps you will subsidize his court appeal. Frankly, you can't look any more out of touch with reality than you do now.

Synova said...

I don't know about "selectively applied" but if someone drove through any random neighborhood, but the same one, every day at the same time and honked their horn "like crazy", it wouldn't take "week after week" before the person got arrested for disrupting the peace or a noise violation or even stalking, if it applied.

Synova said...

"He couldn't get away with this crap in the Berkeley hills...homeowners go ballistic if you fire up a leaf blower and a car horn would send them right off the deep end."

Just so.

Synova said...

"...blow his horn like crazy,..." is to "... honked once..." as...?

purplepenquin said...

War vets make claims of first amendment rights for "ridiculous public displays of shouting and finger waving" and then demand that actual political speech be prohibited by law.

This goes beyond rights for me but not for thee; veterns are, as a group, genuinely afraid of actually arguing the merits of their positions. This makes sense since most of their positions are based on emotion, not outcome.

Cue the token service member here to now start up their ad hominem rantings and to make bizarre non sequitor references as though they are actual arguments.


I don't think it is proper to claim an entire group behaves as such simply 'cause guy who is a member of that group has done so. After all, if this is something that they all do then wouldn't we be seeing a LOT more of 'em driving by the Gov's house and honking their horn?

And I love the irony of you complaining about how someone else might engage in some ad hominem ranting when your entire post consists of only that...

AlphaLiberal said...

How about a ticket for loud motorcycle mufflers? Or lack of mufflers.

It's all about quieting political speech. If the party's were switched it would be scream "bloody murder" time on the right.

clemster said...

Re Purple penguin: I see a lot of post like yours that say that just because one person acts like a fool, don't paint all liberals the same way. Liberals have been very vocal about their solidarity in all things anti-Walker, so don't expect us to believe that liberals don't support and applaud this guy. Look at the posts on this column, with guys like Martin twisting the idea of the First Amendment to include public disturbance. He and others very much support this guy. The First Amendment allows me to call liberals fools on this column, where you and I are invited to comment, but it does not protect cursing and horn blowing and denying a public street of peace and quiet. On a different blog with this same subject, there are over 500 comments, mostly condemning this guy. Don't liberals know how to act as adults?

Suburbanbanshee said...

Re: one horn blast and honking like crazy

Probably he leaned on the horn, or did multiple continuous honks. Either way, a wall of sound every day at a certain time was definitely tempting other people on the street to do something violent. (I'm thinking a Molotov cocktail, myself, or maybe bashing a big stick on his windshield. Less violently, maybe some repeated free written speech with a spray can. Seriously, after even three days in a row, no jury would convict.)

Good thing the cops put in a complaint before this guy got bodily harm, or bodywork harm.