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. Gabe

    How dare they try to clean up the city; it's my right to be an uneducated pig in public, the law says so!

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

    Just another reason for cops to come and mess with you. What a joke.

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

    Leave it too a town in this particular State to pass freedom limiting legislation at the great expense of the taxpayer.

    June 12, 2012 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Ticktockman0

    This is just *#%@& stupid, not to mention a violation of the First Amendment.

    June 12, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
  5. kareful-kay

    ummmm.....freedom of speech? are we not doing that anymore? ...not suprising

    June 12, 2012 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
  6. because judges have nothing better to do

    This will most certainly climb the appellate ladder and be struck down. citizenship should require a bachelors degree. People wouldn't be dumb enough to pass laws like these.

    June 12, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Mike

    Nobody has the right not to be offended.

    June 12, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  8. VET


    June 12, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  9. cacmacac

    What on Earth are these people thinking of? Freedom of speech is guaranteed in our country. C'mon parents, suit up and instruct your children in appropriate vs. inappropriate language. I once told my kids that a certain "bad" word was offensive to some people and that their grandmother would be hurt to hear them use it. Put the onus right back on the parents where it belongs and stop expecting your government to do what you are too cowardly to do yourself.

    June 12, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      Works great for kids but what about adults.

      June 12, 2012 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio)"Right Wing Insanirty"

    CNN: Massachusetts town puts $20 fine on profanity.
    Posted: June 12, 2012, 10:58 am ET
    J.F: What's the fine for flicking a booger on the sidewalk?
    What's the fine for passing gas at a town hall meeting?

    June 12, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Sally

    Three cheers for Middleborough! I'm glad someone cares about the lact of respect that a lot of Americans have come to think is perfectly okay in our society. This is just another sign of our times and the denegration of the country as a whole. It goes along with being rude, inconsiderate and disrespectful anytime, anywhere with no one saying that it is unacceptable. Its time someone said, "I've had enough." When enough people won't stand for poor behavior, it will stop.

    June 12, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • joe


      June 12, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Colin in Florida

      You can't legislate morality.

      June 12, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Coyote Seven

      Your lack of respect for our freedom to speak our minds without the state censoring them, which our founding fathers fought and died for, deeply offends me.

      June 12, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      You know what's really bad about society today?
      People who can't spell denigrate, or even realize that they aren't using the word correctly anyway.

      June 12, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Norman Smith

    After reading many reviews on here, it's obvious many of you are under the impression that cussing in public is protected under Freedom of Speech, sorry to inform you it's not. This law banning the use of profanity stands in several small towns around the US and has for some time, and given the mentality of many on here, we will probably see it placed on the books in more cities and towns. Yes, we have Freedom of Speech but don't assume that it covers everything and anything that someone desires to say, because it doesn't. There are limitations with any right or privilege. Please educate thyself.

    June 12, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • vert2013

      Umm yeah it is a violation of the first amendment. While there are limitations, they do not apply to profanity. They apply to slander and libel.

      June 12, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      vert2013, what is the first word of the first amendment please?

      June 12, 2012 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  13. nessieplesiosaur

    "I live in America. I have the right to write whatever I want. And it's equaled by another right just ast powerful: the right not to read it. Freedom of speech includes the freedom to offend people." -Brad Thor.

    June 12, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jon

      hell yeah

      June 12, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tendofreak

      writing and reading...those can be turned off by shutting the book or laying the pen down. Cussing by someone thats standing next to you cannot be shut off so easily. So yes, there should be laws about profainity in public. Leave that at home. Next on the list......Men with thier pants hanging down pass their rear! Lordy Lordy...thats prison talk for "Come get it" Totally gross and I dont want to have to look at that.

      June 12, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Rick

    Clearly a violation of 1st Amendment. Morality cannot be legislated. I wish I had some more expendable cash so I could go straight up to the Mayor and tell him that this law was absolute horse--, and then challenge the fine all the way up to the Supreme Court to ensure this nonsense doesn't happen anywhere else in this great nation of ours.

    June 12, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Maya

      The Supreme Court has already approved of this kind of law.

      June 12, 2012 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  15. pfft1234

    It would save a lot of time by just coming up with a list of things people CAN do.

    We'll hit 1950's russia in no time!

    June 12, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
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