June 12th, 2012
10:58 AM ET

Massachusetts town puts $20 fine on profanity

The residents of Middleborough, Massachusetts, have had enough of this *#%@&!

And on Monday night they voted to make those who curse put their money where their potty mouths are - to the sum of $20, that is.

Police in the town of 22,000 will be writing tickets bearing fines in that amount to those who foul its public places with profanity after residents voted 183-50 Monday night that they were mad as *#%@& and weren't going to take it anymore.

Overheard on CNN.com: What the $%#;!? Choice words for town's profanity fine

"If I didn't hear 10 kids drop the F-bombs between my store and a block and half I would be shocked," local business owner Mimi Duphily told CNN affiliate WHDH. She was one of those who pushed for cops to clean up the *#%@&.

Not everyone was pleased with the plan.

“This comes under the context of trying to legislate morality or good parenting,” resident Adam Bond told those gathered at the annual town meeting Monday night, in the town that calls itself the "cranberry capital of the world."

So what words are over the line in Middlleborough?

That will be at the discretion of police, but they'll be directing their enforcement efforts at those using profanity to accost others, Officer Steven Nelson said Tuesday.

“It's not going to be just someone walking down the street dropping the F-bomb; it's going to be when you're actually making it uncomfortable for everyone else,” Duphily told WHDH.

Note that Middleborough is only 38 miles from Boston and Fenway Park, where Red Sox fans bestowed a profane nickname on New York Yankee Bucky Dent after the light-hitting shortstop homered in the seventh inning of a tiebreaker game in 1978.

Call him Bucky "Bleeping" Dent in Middleborough and it'll cost you $20.

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Filed under: Crime • Massachusetts
soundoff (500 Responses)
  1. Paul Wilson

    It is feared that ticket-happy cops will not distinguish between cursing provoked by something gone stubbornly wrong -like a car engine, or a pen that starts skipping, and habitual cursing (a person who curses everytime they say anything). Jay Leno had an incident where a guest musician shouted an obscenity upon finishing a piece, entirely without need or cause. These sociopaths can NOT be relied on to muzzle their mpuths , even when cautioned.

    June 15, 2012 at 10:10 am | Report abuse |
    • bearfoot

      Wait.. because someone swears they're a sociopath?

      Either your beliefs on the power of words are way way way out of proportion to reality or you don't know what that word means.

      June 18, 2012 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
  2. Tim

    This is a direct violation of free speech laws. No one has the right to not be offended. I have to admit, though, that "$20 words" would be a brilliant euphemism for profanity.

    June 15, 2012 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
  3. Sarah

    What ever happened to freedom of speech?

    June 15, 2012 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
  4. Terry Moore

    Sure..Let's fine swearing...and keep on selling handguns... that is so much safer..

    June 15, 2012 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
  5. hypatia

    DOJ smacks down insignificant Mass. town....

    June 15, 2012 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
  6. rudy

    really? if you are so offended by curse words then just go home and never leave your house. what a waste of taxpayers money. I don't know whats worse, this draconian "fine" or the people that support it? DOJ will strike this down.

    June 15, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
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