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. Joe

    Under The First Amendment I can curse in protest of this law and they can not give me a ticket.

    June 12, 2012 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
  2. Swamp Donky

    Hold my beer and watch this.

    June 12, 2012 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |

      You realize you are not getting this beer back, right?

      June 12, 2012 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
  3. aony

    We should set even high penalties for these kind of profanity. And not just the F-word either. These kids today lost all respect for their surroundings and even themselves. Parents today are too scared to discipline their children because of all the bad stigma we see in the media about nonsense that they just give up and 'hope' they turn out okay. Such a sad future here...

    June 12, 2012 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  4. Nick

    It sounds like someone picked up this idea from a similar policy in Stallone's, "Demolition Man."

    June 12, 2012 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |

      So, umm....what's with these three seashells?!

      June 12, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Herewegoagain

    I wish people would not curse in public. I think it would be nice to be able to walk down a street or through a mall and not hear that kind of language. However, I believe that this new law violates the first amendment. I've read it. No where in it does it say "you have the right to free speech but only until you offend someone else."

    June 12, 2012 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
  6. pablo

    this law goes too far and restricts free speech. Even offensive free speech is protected. Honestly, Im a little surprised by where this town is. I figured that some communist state like New York or California would have this kind of law first. But since Boston isn't too far away, I'm not really too surprised

    June 12, 2012 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
  7. Rodger

    and i shall add Middleborough, Massachusetts to the list of mentally challenged towns that will be blowing time and money on becoming more PC...

    June 12, 2012 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |

    They're Bostonians, what do you expect?

    June 12, 2012 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
    • lynnmarie2u

      Not Bostonians-Middleboro is a small town 45-60 minutes south of Boston. just a small very conservative town in Massachusetts. A "Bostonian" actually resides in the city of Boston.

      June 12, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cathy

      Wait a minute! I'm a Bostonian, I don't live in Middleboro and I also find this ridiculous! Please refrain from puting all of Massachusetts residents in the same circle!

      June 12, 2012 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sotzume

      Middleborough is NOT Boston....and Boston would never put up with that kind of ridiculous law. If you are implying that the law is a "liberal" thing, how wrong you are. Middleborough is a very conservative town, yes, even in bluer than blue MA, we have our conservatives and has nothing at all to do with Boston. This is typical of conservatives to try and legislate morality and turn over power to the Police of all people. All the while screaming about "smaller" government...well, except when it comes to shoving their so called "morality" down other people's throats. And by the way...that screen name has to go...does it mean you are a pedophile hairy fat man?

      June 12, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Maty

      These are not Bostonians, they're Suburbanites. The average Bostonian can string twenty cuss words together like they were lights on a tree. And in several languages, probably.

      June 12, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • stopthemadness

      They are not Bostonians a Bostonian lives or was raised in Boston. And you are a tool who should at least know who you are bad mouthing before you do.

      June 12, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • GeorgeBos95

      They're not Bostonians ... they're MiddleBozians.

      Middleboro is a small town waaaay outside of Boston... well beyond the suburbs. It's the middle of freakin' nowhere.

      Politically conservative... and it appears, very totalitarian.

      Unfortunately for the people who voted this in ... they fail to realize this isn't their kingdom. They failed to identify specific speech that would be considered "profane", and the chief made it clear it would be slectively enforced.

      Only in an isolated town like Middleboro would they think they have the right to do that.

      June 12, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nico

      profanity interferes with my right to peace. I live in the city (unfortunately) and I have to hear it all night sometimes. These kids are going crazy, and it can't all be bad parenting. They just think they own the world, but they're going to learn some hard lessons. In the meanwhile, I say F em, ticket them all.

      June 12, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Allen

    Freedom of Speech!

    June 12, 2012 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  10. Allen

    Brown shirts will be listening! HAHA!!

    June 12, 2012 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Spike

      I assume you mean democrats, since their agenda is about as close to fascism as you can get....

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

      There is no way they could possibly enforce it. This must be a carry-over from Romney who will balance the US budget by developing a police state.

      June 12, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
  11. ShoreThang

    Fining folks for swearing in MA is definitely a cash cow.

    June 12, 2012 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  12. David

    I understand not wanting to hear it. But where is the &$^&%& list? Or do we just let each indivudal police officer decide for us what we can say and not?

    June 12, 2012 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |

      If there was a list generated by the city, they would have to fine themselves for each word on that list.

      June 12, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Mike

    there goes our speech rights. What happens when a verbal terrets person has a breakdown?? you gonna put them in the poor house?

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

      Don't you have a dictionary?

      June 12, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • carpenterman123

      Do you mean turrets like big guns have?

      June 12, 2012 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Ed G.

    Will they be banning books next? Banning movies, HBO and other fine Time Warner ventures? How about internet providers? These people are idiots and we should boycott cranberries since these nitwits call themselves the cranberry capital of the world.

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

      MANY public schools and Public Libraries ban books.....Something we should ALL be very concerned about.... I think I can police my own reading material, thank you very much.....

      June 12, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dionysius

      What you do inside your home is one thing; what you do in public is another. If you've not learned to be polite, then a fine is in order... curse in front of your OWN children. That is, if you ever have any!

      June 12, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  15. jacob davis

    what ever happened to freedom of speech... guess they forgot about that one before making it a law.

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

      No 'freedom' is w/o constraints. This has been a facet of American jurisprudence for many years. One may not yell "Fire!" in a theatre, for instance. There have been constraints on "Fighting words" for just as long. Recently, "Hate speech" has been defined, and may be prosecuted. While these instances are egregious, I see no problem with a gentle $20 reminder that it is prudent, and polite, to refrain from making other uncomfortable in public places. Most profanity merely marks the user as ignorant, as well as ineducable.

      June 12, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
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