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8 Bumps

Can you go to jail for cursing?

Despite an agreement by Pennsylvania State Police to stop citing people for merely cursing as part of a settlement in a federal free-speech lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, local police and district judges said tickets will still be issued in some cursing cases.

“If you’re complaining about getting a parking ticket and five preschoolers are walking down the street and you let (the curses) fly, you’re being disruptive and will be cited,” said trooper Matthew Burrows of the state police at Milton.

The ACLU filed the lawsuit after several people were cited by state police for cursing, including a woman who swore at an overflowing toilet and a pizza delivery driver for cursing at an officer over a parking ticket.

ACLU lawyer Mary Catherine Roper says state troopers issued more than 700 disorderly conduct citations for cursing in a recent one-year span, and local police hundreds more.

The penalty carries a possible 90-day jail term and $300 fine.

Answer Question

Asked by sweet-a-kins at 1:07 PM on Jan. 5, 2011 in Politics & Current Events

Level 34 (67,502 Credits)
Answers (21)
  • I have to say, that seems a bit over the top, until you put yourself in the shoes of the innocent by bystanders that has to listen to the cursing. I think the jail time is a bit excessive, but I think a fine for disrupting the peace would be very appropriate.

    Answer by Dalimonster at 1:12 PM on Jan. 5, 2011

  • Thats crazy but then again more and more freedoms are being stripped away every day.

    Answer by 405mom at 1:15 PM on Jan. 5, 2011

  • When we lived In Virginia Beach you could be fined/arrested/charged.. They have (had) a no bad behavior law when we lived there in 2004.  Not sure if it is still a law.



    Answer by grlygrlz2 at 1:16 PM on Jan. 5, 2011

  • That sounds like a good idea. It really offends me when people curse,swear, use filthy words.
    I can't swear....I just "think" the words....LOL...and I hate to hear filthy words come out of people .ANd I hate to see the words in print too.

    Answer by kerp1960 at 1:26 PM on Jan. 5, 2011

  • I always thought that a person could be arrested for using profanity in public; I have no problem with this. Some folks have no regard for children and that bothers me. It shouldn't be acceptable or politically correct for people to curse in public. We all know how to whisper whatever explicative we choose to use, lol...


    Answer by agentwanda at 1:43 PM on Jan. 5, 2011

  • Free Speech doesn't protect curse words?


    Comment by sweet-a-kins (original poster) at 1:46 PM on Jan. 5, 2011

  • Free Speech doesn't protect curse words?

     It should.  It should also protect words in classic books.


    Answer by grlygrlz2 at 1:50 PM on Jan. 5, 2011

  • I don't have a problem with adults cursing in public, even at cops and/or in front of young children ... as long as those adults don't mind having a bar of soap shoved in their mouths.

    Freedom of speech comes with responsibilities. If an adult (even a childless one) doesn't have the common sense and decency not to spew profanity at the top of their lungs in front of others than the general public has a right to protect itself. Since feeding someone soap would be viewed as assault, a fine and/or jail time is the only other option.

    Yes, you have a 'right' to be crass if you choose to ... and you also have the right to expect negative feedback. No one else has to like what you say, or be forced to listen to it.

    Answer by Farmlady09 at 2:04 PM on Jan. 5, 2011

  • Yes, you have a 'right' to be crass if you choose to ... and you also have the right to expect negative feedback

    So prison is negative feedback?


    Comment by sweet-a-kins (original poster) at 2:05 PM on Jan. 5, 2011

  • I'm not having a problem with it. Honestly! People CAN control their mouths and choose different words that have the same meaning... creative swearing, now that's the ticket! ;)

    Answer by Jambo4 at 2:14 PM on Jan. 5, 2011

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