Vice Squad
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Parking Ticket Profanity

A few months ago, a fine fellow received a ticket for a parking violation in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. (Actually, that scenario probably arises daily.) He did what any proud, free American would do -- he sent in a check to pay his fine. Oh yeah, he also wrote on the check: 'Go (Bleep) Yourself.' The aftermath?
Well this little display of pique or defiance or whatever you want to call it resulted in borough police charging him with disorderly conduct for using obscene language - the F-word - in public, that is to say, on a public document, which his parking fine check was deemed to be.
Oh, this would have made for a super Supreme Court case, one that would have settled for a long time the extent to which we can legally curse our employees, our agents, our hirelings, the government. Alas, Doylestown had no stomach for the fight. At the trial, they offered to drop the disorderly conduct charge as long as our petulant parker paid the original ticket and provided a written apology to the borough clerk whose eyeshade had come across the sarcastic suggestion. (They had to insist on the parking ticket being paid because the ticket itself was sort of out of action, having become evidence in the disorderly conduct charge.) The mouthpiece for the foulmouth accepted the deal, and the possibility of a journey to the Supremes was nipped in the bud, much to the detriment of our republic.

Perhaps you might want to know what century they are living in in Doylestown? Here's some (accurate) information that might provide a clue. The parking fine was $5, and the possible penalty for disorderly conduct was $25 plus court costs. In Chicago, $5 is what they fine you if you are legally parked.

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