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You Are Now Free to Curse in Pennsylvania

At long last, Pennsylvanians can now curse a bit more freely. The Pennsylvania State Police department has agreed to stop citing residents for foul language, as part of a settlement announced Tuesday with the American Civil Liberties Union. Residents have long been fined by police for a wide range of cursing offenses, from swearing at a parking ticket issuer to cursing at an overflowing toilet.

The settlement has wider implications than one might imagine. In recent years, 700 cursing-related tickets have been issued by the state police, plus hundreds more by local cops -- and thousands of dollars in fines have been collected. All of this happened despite a long ago ruling by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court that allowed for cursing deemed nonthreatening and not obsene. It's not just the state police that are facing suits, either -- both Scranton and Pittsburgh have paid thousands of dollars in cursing cases.

Brendan McKenna is Law.com's news editor.

Posted by Laurel Newby on January 5, 2011 at 01:20 PM | Permalink | Comments (6)

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