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. drake

    Probably a nice town. I couldn't afford to live there.

    June 12, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
  2. J

    I would rather see spitting illegal.

    June 12, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  3. hopscotch0623

    That's what we should all want. Freedom of Speech to be "at the discretion of police". What is this world coming to?

    June 12, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Patriarchae

    At first I thought this was satire. You know, like an article by "The Onion". It was quite amusing when I read it like that, a good satire on how we as a society are becoming oversensitive to silly things and as a result are beginning to over-legislate our rights away.

    But then I realized it wasn't satire. And now I'm sad. This will not hold up in courts, period. What a waste of time and money.

    June 12, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
  5. romney for president

    Only under Obama would a big government law like this be allowed. It's time for a change, America. Romney 2012.

    June 12, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Corey

      It's a conservative town.

      June 12, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  6. phearfactor

    Why is everyone saying this won't hold up in court? It is a fine. There is no court proceeding. It used to be out right illegal in that town to swear but now they made it just a fine so they could avoid court costs.

    June 12, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      It won't hold up in court if someone fights it, it's a violation of 1st Amendment rights.

      June 12, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • skeptic

      Tickets can be appealed in court...

      June 12, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe G

      Fine or not still goes against the 1st amendment
      Next you wont be able to say Hello to whoever you want

      June 12, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • realtalker

      Phear – Actually if you are ticketed then you are being charged with a crime. You can take it to court and fight it if you wish. If you want a trial it's your right to have one. Ultimately though, you'd have to get a court to go along with your argument and no municipal court will because it's a city ordinace therefore legal. So you'd have to appeal to a higher court and then it's an ongoing process when you coulda just paid the 20 dollars. So while you can take it to court, most won't.

      June 12, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  7. YBP

    I'm surprised to hear that people in Massachusetts (of all places!) are taking the next step toward the Orwellian nightmare that the GOP has been working on in America.

    June 12, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • chibidw


      June 12, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  8. paul

    i guess the cops need funds for theirr jelly filled doughnuts

    June 12, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • nisroc00

      Seriously I swear a lot but there is also a time when I know not to swear. At work in back in shop the guys do not care but then they do not use the F word every second word either. Coffee break it gets even lighter almost no swearing out of respect to those that do not like to here it. Point is if one would respect the rights of other there would not be a fine for swearing, and problem with kids these days if they do not discipline from momma and daddy. It is all about teach selfish people respect.

      June 12, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
  9. realtalker

    lol. I always tell people, big government is the least of our problems. It is small government that has the real power to oppress. Ticketed for language? lol. Wow. And the citizens apparently were the ones that wanted it. haha. I still haven't processed this one fully yet.

    June 12, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Play ball

    Can't wait ntil the next Red Sox game..... because I am sure when the umpire blows a call... middleborro residents are gonna blow their rent money cursing at the TV screen.

    June 12, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  11. realtalker

    10th amendment joe. Sadly, states and towns can do just about whatever they want. The supreme court would probably rule in favor of the law on that basis.

    June 12, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
  12. CitizenX

    I'm calling BS. Local municipalities are trying to dig themselves out from promising benefits they can't deliver on. Cops are giving out more tickets, city depts. are creating new "fees" and now fines for cursing.

    June 12, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Anthony Quatroni

    Don't we have enough laws and bullcrap? This country is really pushing the limit on the amount of garbage it can throw at its citizens and still have them calm and happy. Mney, money, money, it's just ridiculous now. So you can't swear in public? unbelieveable.

    June 12, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  14. trex

    ....trump just canceled a trip there

    June 12, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Moral Statute

    John Spartan, you are fined five credits for repeated violations of the verbal morality statute.

    June 12, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Decline

      Dont get me started on the 3 sea shells....

      June 12, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jay G

      Remember when we all used to laugh at that part in Demolition Man where he got fined for swearing? Oh how little we knew.....

      June 12, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
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