Saturday, January 20, 2007

Prof. Defends Right to Send Feces


A retired French professor sent dog feces to her congresswoman's office after becoming angry with receiving too many mailings and her lawyer says she had a constitutional right to do it.

Kathleen Ensz faces a misdemeanor charge of "use of a noxious substance" after taking dog feces from her backyard, wrapping it in a political mailer from Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, and leaving the putrid package at the Republican's office, according to court documents.

Ensz, a Democrat, was angered by repeatedly receiving mailings from Musgrave. Her lawyer calls the poo delivery a form of free expression, protected by the First Amendment.

Patricia Bangert, one of Ensz's attorneys, admitted the act was "probably crude and boorish" but all the same likened it to a form of political protest such as Thomas Jefferson's criticism of the King of England. At a hearing Tuesday, she also cited Mr. Hankey, an animated, talking piece of human excrement depicted on "South Park," as evidence that it is commonplace to use feces to express disdain.

"Etiquette and propriety aside, it is commonplace in today's society to equate a distasteful or disliked person, situation or thing, to feces," Bangert said.

At the time of the incident last May, Musgrave's camp claimed the gesture was a political dirty trick and demanded an apology from Musgrave's likely Democratic opponent, state Rep. Angela Paccione of Fort Collins, who went on to lose the election to the incumbent. Paccione's campaign denied any involvement.

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