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. Kevin

    Looks like 26% of people are in favor of throwing out their most fundamental rights.

    what idiots. they don't deserve the freedom of speech.

    June 12, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
  2. sick n tired

    Ahhh.... freedom of speech? Where the he!! do you think you are? A free country? Someone should take them to court for violating their rights. Sorry, I forgot, Bush already took many of those away in the name of 'national security'. It makes me want to go walk around town and spew every f'n profane word I know every f'n chance I get

    June 12, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Dee

    How is this news? Visit Virginia Beach and check out the "No Cursing" signs all over, so it appears they have had this law for several years. I never heard a complaint about that. No Profanity is likely already a law in thousands of towns. This is just the first CNN has heard of anyone enforcing it. Should bring in a lot of revenue over the next few months.

    June 12, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
  4. copanut

    I have mixed feelings. It's clearly a violation of the first amendment if the context is private conversation. Once the conversation becomes public, those within earshot also have rights that should be taken into consideration, along the order of "disturbing the peace".

    June 12, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sarcasmo

      They probably already have a disturbing the peace ordinance though. So what's the scope of this one? Anyway, the courts will laugh at this. But for now it's a news story on a slow news day.

      June 12, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Christopher Shepherd

    This is hilarious!

    June 12, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Corey

    LOL The residents voted this? Out of 22,000 people 233 people voted with 183 of them deciding what the *!#?& people can say. That's 0.008% of the population telling the rest of the population how to live. The only reason those words are offensive is because you were taught they are offensive. They are just words people. It cracks me up people wanting freedom until it upsets them.

    June 12, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • scaglikm

      Math much?

      June 12, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Beener 2012

      Did somebody say

      Did i just hear " First Amendment"?

      '

      June 12, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Sarcasmo

    Good luck enforcing this, puny weaklings. lol lawsuits

    June 12, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Lynda Elaine

    “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."

    Not is comes under that little pesky thing called FREEDOM OF SPEECH

    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.

    Really? Kind of like obcenity? I know it when I see it? This so won't hold up in a court. Another complete waste of taxpayer money as this plays out in the court system.

    June 12, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Person of Interest

      Agreed. What is a curse word? Is crap? My mother hates the word suck. Is that going to be added to this list? Have these people looked up the urban dictionary? There's stuff on there I'd have no idea what it was because it was made up in the streets. Same thing will happen here.

      June 12, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Person of Interest

    Ever heard the phrase curses like a sailor? I served my country in the Army and was in the Infantry. If you don't drop an F-Bomb to most of the 18 year old soldiers they don't think you're serious. So my filter is alittle off now. But your telling me if I happen to go through this town on a trip and some cop is gonna right me out a fine? Not only will I not pay it but if they touch me after I laugh and throw the ticket in the trash right in front of them, they will have to add assulting an officer to the charge.

    What happened to free speach? The limitations put on speech are few and far between. As long as you are not provoking violence or defaming someone you can pretty much say whatever you want. If I lived in this town I'd buy a shirt that said i F*** You in big letters. Cause technically you didn't say it, it's like libel vs. slander lol

    June 12, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
  10. The Voter

    STOP! !@#$% Idiots .....instead go VOTE or Shut the !@#$% UP!

    June 12, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Eric

    Isn't it against the First Amendment to be fined for speech? If you're being fined and having to pay to say certain words, you won't have freedom of speech....

    June 12, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
  12. w

    thank you middleboro, now our feeral government can waste their time overturning your stupid law that impedes our first amendment right of free speech.

    June 12, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
  13. lokii

    BEEP!!! You are fined for breaking the verbal morality code. Does this sound like a bad movie to you? Just watch Demolition Man and you will get the picture. People who whine and want to make every behavior they find objectionable are turning this country into a prison camp by making everyone criminals.

    June 12, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • lokii

      My bad, I meant to say those who make every behavior they find objectionable illegal.

      June 12, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Ed Sr of Dallas Tx

    I ain't payin' any #$%#$%#$ fine for sayin' #%$^$&^$% in this #%#^#$^% town!

    June 12, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
  15. ihateswineflu

    Did most people who posted here read the article? Or did everyone decide they had been wronged in some way and just start posting? No one is going to jail here; this is an ordinance like jay-walking or spitting or parking too long. You can't walk down the street naked – although some who posted here probably think you should be able to – and all this is saying is that you will be fined if you spew your filth out where others can hear it. Don't worry; apparently you can still spew it here pretty safely. Geez. Unclench, people. No one is after your rights...it wasn't that long ago that decency was not the exception.

    June 12, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      Except Jaywalking or spitting are not protected as a right. Speech is unless you are inciting a riot! So yes they are doing something wrong they are trying to fine a right!

      June 12, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Doug Collins

      yes you can get arrested for jay walking and many other things people regularly do. It just depends on the sleazy cop that is looking for a fight.
      these ass-h0les arrest people for anything they want even when they know it will be thrown out of court later.
      we shouldn't be giving these unstable turds anymore reasons to bother people unless a real crime is involved.

      June 12, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
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