Betty Perry – A Lawn unto herself

Here’s the latest on this story, as of 18th September: Betty Perry is still being prosecuted for not watering her lawn. She’s had to plead not guilty to resisting arrest and failing to tend her lawn. Her lawyer is trying to win the sympathy vote by stressing how the law needs to be applied a little more sanely. She’ll be back in court on October 11th.

Maybe then they can add charges for “wearing 1970’s clothes in public” or even “sporting a bad hair-do in public”. But, then, everyone in Utah would be on trial.

Here’s my original story from July:


Betty Perry, world-leading lawn-law breaker. Approach with caution!

Honestly, in the weird and wacky world of law enforcement, is this the most disproportionate response ever? A little old lady, 70, Betty Perry, from Orem City, Utah, was alleged to have refused to give her name to police officers questioning her about her unkept lawn. So far, so mad. (Story here).

What’s the law got to do with it? Apparently, there is some bye-law in Utah (or that part of Utah, Orem City) that says residents must water their lawns. In other, saner places, the law says you must not water your lawn in times of drought, when massive fires are sweeping across the state. No wonder the little old lady was confused!

In any case, let’s say she was breaking the law in Orem City, just for arguments sake. Just let us put aside for the moment that it was her lawn, she was a confused 70-year old woman in a bizarre conversation with a uniformed police officer and all that. No extenuating circumstances, let’s pretend.

At that very moment, when she turns to go inside to ask her son for help, the police officer is said to have slapped her across the face with handcuffs! So she says. He claims she fell during a struggle. Either way, it wasn’t pretty.

Was he afraid she’d bolt for the door and he’d never catch her? Was he afraid that she’d head for the hills, Rambo-style, hiding out and defying the entire Utah police force to come and get her? All over a brown lawn? Even more outlandishly, he called for reinforcement! Oh my, was she about to crack his head open? Was the little ole police officer afraid of the little old granny?

Ah, but then they dragged her sorry ass off to a holding pen. Zero-tolerance for lawn-neglecters. Zero. Otherwise they’d all be at it, all those law-breaking, 70-year-old, sit-at-home, do-nothing, old women. And Orem City just couldn’t have that. It was then that some common sense broke out. Seeing that she was injured, they brought her to hospital to be treated. A thoughtful gesture. And one that you would think would result in everyone calming down and thinking through the situation. And how disproportionate it all was, and how they ought to bring her home and try and make it up to her. The official police statement, from one Lt. Doug Edwards says “[the police]… immediately released the woman and returned her to her home on the basis that there were other options available to handle this situation besides making an arrest and holding the woman in jail,”. No shit Sherlock!

To cap it all though, Lt. Doug Edwards described the arresting officer as “intelligent”. Really? In that case, I’d hate to see the dumb ones…