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)

    A law against using words that are not listed in the law, leaving it up to the police to decide" what is a swear word, what context it was uttered in, and over who or whom they will enforce such a law"; makes perfect sense?
    To the listings of the EPA polluting agents we now add words. or do we add a new agency complete with re-education bureaucracy, WPA?
    The term "Thought Police" was once a political and science fiction fantacy, but now a reality in the land of the free.
    π}°¶ !; them and the high horses they sit upon.

    June 12, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
  2. massmom

    It would be nice if there were better parenting, but I highly doubt that will happen. I don't know if it will help or not but maybe the youth will think twice before they open their mouths. I do believe this was from a bi-law the town had enacted back in the 60s too, but never enforced.

    June 12, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Bob

    Ridiculous – this "law" will be struck down on the first challange.

    June 12, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Vince

    You might not like what people have to say...but they have the right to say it. There is presidence in Supreme Court Rulings to support this kind of freedom of speech...then again, with the current supreme court overturning presidence...maybe they'd let this one stick.

    June 12, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Judgemofo

    doesn't this violate the freedom of speech?

    June 12, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  6. asdf

    They ought to be fining those troglodytes who speak with a South Boston accent. Hearing it is like being stabbed in the ears.

    June 12, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  7. banasy©

    Silly law that will have a lawsuit against it for unconsti tutionality being promtly files.

    June 12, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
  8. pray

    I am a bit ashamed of my home town for passing this. This makes a mockery of a town once known for it's tolerance. I have always predicted the train that brought people into Middleboro would come to no good. First they wanted houses near cranberry bogs saying it was quaint, then they wanted them closed cause of dusty dirty roads and noise. Now, they want to legislate speach? Such a sad day for a town with a great history.

    June 12, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Frank Garrett

    Fine on swearing? *#%@& that!

    June 12, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
  10. bibleverse1

    Where are the protest against these kinds of nanny laws? I think the people who drafted this junk legislation have more pressing concerns than if someone uses curse words or not.

    June 12, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
  11. BD

    Wow, so much for free speech......

    June 12, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
  12. James Taylor

    Let FREEDOM OF SPEECH live forever. Otherwise there will be a rise on cops abusing their powers and innocent folks will be send to jail or eve shot to death. Cops will come after your children or spouses as if they are dealing with a terrorist with brute force.

    June 12, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Daniel

    This is just plain %$&*$#% stupid.

    June 12, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jesus Santiago

    They have it in Virginia beach for a couple of years already.

    June 12, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Tammy

    Perhaps these oversensitive people have never heard of the Bill of Rights and Freedom of Speech. Someone should educate them.

    Society isn't responsible for raising children as much as parents would love to think it should. Education (including punishing or doing whatever you need to do to keep kids from giving voice to the evil, evil, world-ending, e-ticket ride to hell swear words) starts in the home.

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