‘Finger salute’ to ex-wife not a crime, court rules

In an apparent victory for the First Amendment, a Pennsylvania court has ruled that giving your ex-wife the finger is protected speech.

The Superior Court of Pennsylvania made the ruling this week in the case of Jason Roy Waugaman, 35, who had dropped his kids off at his wife’s home during a custody exchange. She stood in front of his truck, he hit the gas to scare her and drove off while giving her the obscene gesture.

A lower court dismissed the reckless endangerment charge but gave him 90 days probation for the gesture.

The real issue here is how is it people make it into a position of judicial authority believing that the scenario is a crime?

The three-judge panel barely concealed its contempt for the original ruling.



The man was originally convicted under a Pennsylvania law making it a crime to make an obscene gesture, defining obscenity as something specifically sexual in nature.

But the Superior Court had already set its precedent in 2000 when it cleared a driver who was charged under the law, who had dropped an “F bomb” on a street employee in a work zone.

“This Court held that for purposes of Section 5503(a)(3), the defendant’s expression of the “F-word” and display of his middle finger, used to communicate disrespect, had “nothing to do with sex,” and therefore were not obscene,” the court said yesterday.

Related Pennsylvania Fingers: I gave Russell Westbrook the finger because he called me fat (NY Post)