Just when you thought this world and justice system was as bad as can be, it gets worse by the second. An American rights group of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is suing the police for handing out tickets which carry a jail sentence to people for swearing. If this is a crime, I’m pretty positive each and every one of us is guilty of this action at one point in their lives, and that goes for the same officers who issue these citations to people.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which filed the lawsuits earlier, disagrees with that the right to use profanity is protected by the U.S. Constitution. As should anyone else who is being told otherwise. Marieke Tuthill of the ACLU of Pennsylvania said “Unfortunately, many police departments in the commonwealth do not seem to be getting the message that swearing is not a crime.” Marieke Tuthill also said “The courts have repeatedly found that profanity, unlike obscenity, is protected speech.”
To the Supreme Court, obscenity refers to speech that mainly appeals to the “prurient interest” in sex, according to the ACLU.
One of the lawsuits that is currently pending involves an unidentified woman in Luzerne County in northeast Pennsylvania who was issued a citation which held a maximum penalty of $300 and up to 90 days in jail after she yelled an offensive word at a motorcyclist who swerved close to her in October of 2008. To me that is ridiculous, imagine being put in that position, you’re on the sidewalk one day minding your own business and out of nowhere some speeder on a bike comes flying by almost hitting you. I would be angry, not only that, but caught off guard to say the least, maybe even making me use profanity from the shock. In no way would I accept a ticket from a police officer for that, while they were the one almost running into me.
Another case has to do with a man who was arrested and then cited for disorderly conduct and briefly jailed after shouting a double expletive at a policeman who was writing him a parking ticket.
These two are amongst at least 750 people in Pennsylvania a year who face illegal disorderly conduct charges because of the use of profanity in Pennsylvania, the ACLU said.
Pennsylvania isn’t the only state that has stupid laws and issued out citations for swearing, as states like Michigan and New York join the list, Pennsylvania is however the main state with the most citations being issued for swearing. I guess freedom of speech doesn’t count anymore? It’s a joke to me, and I feel every officer that hands this out needs to be either given a crash course on laws or have some action taken place to show this isn’t right. When Pennsylvania state police were contacted they were not available for comments on the matter.