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. CardsFan

    The dumbest part is that people are offended by simple words. Get over it. Who dictated what words were acceptable and not acceptable anyway? Why is it ok for someone to say "that dog pooped on the lawn", but not "that dog took a s#!t on the lawn"? Why is butt ok, but @ss is not? You can say someone messed up, but can't say they F'd up. Why? They mean the same thing, just different words. One is "vulgar" OH NO!!!!

    June 12, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • GetOverIt

      SPOT ON!!

      June 12, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  2. drtechy

    wow how ridiculous, too dam sensitive. We're turning into the UNFREE country

    June 12, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Billy

    Stallone! Snipes! Demolition Man Lives!

    June 12, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  4. drtechy

    and I guess they don't care about freedom of speech huh

    June 12, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  5. will g

    Lord. Silly northerns

    June 12, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Uh Oh

    "That will be at the discretion of police"..........God help us.

    June 12, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
  7. tac

    so i guess a cop has to hear you say the f word so he or she can write you a ticket. how many cops are there in a town of 22,000. f that.

    June 12, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Thor

    And Boston is a place where tall ships moor! What the *#%@&!

    June 12, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Norman Smith

    It is important to protect freedom of speech, however, with that freedom does come a civic responsibility of civil decency towards those around you. The fine in this case is minor, I may not completely agree with it, but may it serve as a reminder of our civic responsibility, something many people these days seem to forget.

    June 12, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Considerthefollowing

      You don't have a right to not be offended.

      June 12, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
  10. david grenek

    you people are morons. wait until you have a wife and kids and have to listen to illerate, inmature punks.

    June 12, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robert

      Like children that call people they don't know morons because they disagree with their opinion?

      June 12, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
  11. MOCaseA

    Meh... I give it until the first time a Cop swears and isn't fined before it starts going through the courts.

    Also, since when are 183 people the majority of 22,000? This is ridiculous. It violates the first amendment rights, it is almost impossible to support in court (for those wishing to oppose the fines) and in the end it is just another layer of how ridiculous people who are "morally superior" to others can be. Next fine: $50 for wearing blue jeans and a t-Shirt on Sundays.

    June 12, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Uh Oh

    Will cops be fining themselves? Some of them will be the worst offenders.

    June 12, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Kenneth in Illinious

    This has already been shot down in another case where a guy fell out of his conoe and spewed filth, was arrested and found not guitly due to the first amendment.

    June 12, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  14. TJ

    Yeah, this raises plenty of First Amendment questions right here. But as for solving the "youth in town running around and yelling profanities to each other across the street" problem, then the solution is either better parenting (if that is an option), or catching them committing a minor crime and have the judge throw the book at them (I'm assuming "youth" in this case means "under eighteen," and I would not advocate this for adults).

    In the meantime, I'm all for adults visiting the town to curse in protest.

    June 12, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Aaron

    So in a town of 22,000 residents, 223 of them voted on this issue. The bottom line is that the (less than) 1% are screwing with the other (non-voting) 99%. This will either die with the cops who do not wish to enforce the law, or go all the way to the Supreme Court, as others have suggested, as a violation of the 1st Amendment. I believe the latter to be the morally responsible thing to do.

    June 12, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
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