It could be called a case for the birds, but an Oklahoma woman is crying fowl over a $185 fine for dropping a sunflower seed in public.
Tricia Morgan was pulled over five months ago after an Oklahoma City police officer saw her drop a seed on the street as she was driving her children home.
“I didn’t drop a whole handful at all because I only had three or four in my hand,” Morgan told KOCO-TV. “I was eating them here and dropping them in the trash behind.”
The officer proceeded to ticket her for littering.
“I went to the city library to see exactly what the definition of litter is, and it’s non-specific,” she told the station. “It says anything that falls out of a vehicle is considered litter. I’ve been to many weddings where I have thrown birdseed at the bride, and I have never been ticketed there for littering. … I thought it was OK to throw out apple cores to feed the rabbits and the squirrels, but I don’t do that anymore either because I don’t want to break the law, and I think it’s pretty silly that I have been ticketed for this.”
Police say littering laws in the city have been beefed up in recent years, and seeds fall under the definition of litter.
“Officers are required to enforce all statutes and ordinances regardless of what they are … because what to one person is very insignificant [is very significant] to someone else,” Sgt. Charles Phillips told KOCO.
Morgan took her case to court, and to her surprise, was found guilty of the offense.
“I told the judge I don’t believe that I dropped anything out my window, but if I did it was a sunflower seed,” she told KFOR-TV. “And I held it up for him, and he said, ‘You’re guilty.'”
Morgan thought about appealing her case, but said it would cost several hundred dollars more.