ShareThis Page
Pa. Superior Court reverses conviction for man giving ex the middle finger |

Pa. Superior Court reverses conviction for man giving ex the middle finger

| Monday, October 31, 2016 3:51 p.m.

The Superior Court of Pennsylvania on Monday overturned a Pittsburgh man’s disorderly conduct conviction for giving his ex-wife the middle finger during a 2014 custody exchange.

Jason Roy Waugaman, 35, of Troy Hill, had been charged in November 2014 because his ex-wife said they had a confrontation when he dropped their children off at her apartment. She stood in front of his truck and he accelerated toward her, swerving with about a “yardstick” worth of space between them and giving her the finger as he squealed out of the parking lot.

In September 2015, Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Anthony Mariani found Waugaman not guilty of reckless endangerment but guilty of disorderly conduct for the gesture, and sentenced him to 90 days of probation.

Waugaman appealed the ruling to the Superior Court, which reversed the conviction on Monday because other cases have held that giving someone the middle finger is not “obscene” or sexually prurient under the courts’ interpretation of state law.

“Unless the First Amendment was repealed when I was not looking, giving someone the finger should not constitute a crime,” wrote Senior Justice Eugene B. Strassburger in a short concurring opinion.

District Attorney’s Office spokesman Mike Manko declined to comment and Mariani was not available.

Matthew Santoni is a Tribune-Review staff writer.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.