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. John

    This could and should easily be challenged in court. Not that I am in favor of kids running around saying the F-Bomb. I am in favor of the government not controlling what I can or cannot say.

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

    To much rules and regulation these days, let us be free! Btw these arent the days of "Enlightenment"

    June 12, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Dan

    Fun fact, this was a republican sponsored initiative.

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

    It is. It'll get struck down if somebody actually takes it that far.

    June 12, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  5. A. Wenz

    live a couple towns over in Taunton... Everyone here in the Southeastern Mass area knows damn well that Middleboro is the unofficial "center of the universe"... Everyone from the town is a little on the quirky side. Actually, we wouldn't
    expect anything less from them in doing this. We're pretty much rolling our eyes and them and just saying "Really?" right now.

    June 12, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  6. michael morales

    This is a joke!!! What's next? Being fined for farting in public!!!!!!!

    June 12, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Nicky

    I smell 1st amendment lawsuit in the making. I'll bet anyone within 6 months the ACLU will sue the town on the grounds it infringes 1st amendment rights

    June 12, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Auntie Fascist

    And additionally, what does "at the discretion of the police" mean? That's called A POLICE STATE. In many ways, we already have that,since cops can lie when they arrest someone anyhow, but this would formalize the power of the police to fine folks they don't like while letting other ones go. Reminds me of the Southern USA in the 1920's....

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

      Will clearly be overturned by the courts if anyone takes it there. There are definitive guidlines for obscenity and the First Ammendment

      June 12, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  9. lloyd roberts

    Funny thing is, many law and order types who think they are conservative will support this measure. But this is letting government legislate what it should not. This is for the individual to deal with, not government. It's like NYC Mayor Bloomberg and his outlawing of large drinks. True conservative, which there really are none in either party would not support this law

    June 12, 2012 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dionysius

      So in dealing with it as an individual, should I punch the offender in his loud $u(in' mouth, and tell him/her to grow up and shut up? Why do I have to listen to their ignorant mouths?

      June 12, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Whats-Your-Boggle

    You are fined one credit for a violation of the Verbal Morality Statute - Demolition Man...

    June 12, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Mike

    Good for them. These rude, crude and obnoxious teenagers need to learn how to act in public. If they don't, hit 'em where it hurts most, in the wallet. It belittles the human race to hear people talking such trash. But, you are how you speak. Have a nice day.

    June 12, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • asylum31

      I guess you've never heard of the First amendment.

      June 12, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • chris

      Thats all fine and dandy. Until it's you they are after.

      June 12, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Matt

    Crazy how many people are sounding off about the first amendment and freedom of speech and yet it is quite obvious that almost none have actually read it.

    June 12, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • miketofal

      and what do you think you read that others didn't?

      June 12, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  13. DamianKnight

    This will get overturned. The Supreme Court has already stated over and over again that offensive speech is still protected as free speech. Otherwise, how would the KKK and Westboro Baptist Church be able to protest?

    June 12, 2012 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  14. KevininPHX

    It's the reason why we are where we are. Most people are too unconcerned with what's happening to even bother to get informed. Much less actually vote on something. Sad.

    June 12, 2012 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  15. DarkPoetinc

    1st adm rights

    June 12, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
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