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No More Language Police For Pennsylvania

Philadelphia Inquirer via YellowBrix

January 05, 2011

PHILADELPHIA – You gotta be f – - – - – - – kidding!

The Pennsylvania State Police agreed yesterday as part of settlement to a federal lawsuit to stop issuing disorderly-conduct citations to citizens who use profanity.

The lawsuit was filed last May by the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania on behalf of Lona Scarpa, a mother of three from Mocanaqua, Luzerne County.

Mary Catherine Roper, an ACLU attorney, said Scarpa was nearly run off the road by a motorcyclist while she was going for a stroll with a pal in 2008.

Roper said Scarpa responded by calling the motorcyclist an “a – - hole,” and calling police to report the biker for reckless driving.

And then something unf – - – - n’ believable happened: the State Police cited Scarpa for disorderly conduct, and warned her she could face a $300 fine and 90 days in jail for cursing.

“Of all the things we want our police doing, it’s not playing Miss Manners,” Roper said.

“The law has been settled for many years; you can’t cite someone for using profanity. What the state police were lacking was proper training.”

Roper said the State Police had issued 770 citations for profanity from 2008 to 2009, mostly in rural areas.

The State Police agreed to provide better free-speech training to its troopers, Roper said.

  • 20552_1343137337912_1215571721_31006460_5991340_n_max50


    over 3 years ago


    I've heard worse in the squad room. You'd better get thicker skin if you think this is disorderly conduct. However, it's ok to check the subject's well-being. They might need some assistance.

  • Spd_max50


    over 3 years ago


    @Combatvet80 this is true about profanity and police but you must remember this....when was the last time you asked a gang banger "Sir please stop what you are doing and sit down for a minute." hell no that doesnt work its "Get the F*&k on the ground!" sometimes its the only thing the people understand.

  • Pictures_2008_002_max50


    over 3 years ago


    The big picture is says "The law has been settled for many years; you can’t cite someone for using profanity. What the state police were lacking was proper training"...but they were following what the PA Crimes Code states. and Obscene Language and Gestures is one part of the Disorderly Conduct Statute...we do not write the laws, we enforce them. I may agree that "a father did what i would do when he kills someone that harms his kids"...but I don't let him go...I arrest him, because that is my job, to enforce the written statutes that I'm sworn to do. Us PA Police should not be ridiculed for upholding the laws that the legislature's wrote. In addition, the article states "Roper said Scarpa responded by calling the motorcyclist an “a – - hole,” and calling police to report the biker for reckless driving. Roper is the ACLU attorney. What she says and what really happened are far from the same, i guarantee that Ms. Scarpa did more than simply call the biker an a--hole.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 3 years ago

    Especially since cops use dirty language all the time. Who is going to police the police for bad language? Lol, this is just stupid because nobody has a right to tell me what to say or how to say it. I hate the ACLU but in this case they did some good for people like this mom.

  • Draped_badge_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Guys look in the dictionary, most of the words are in there and acceptable nowadays,,,Just goes to show you what happens when we take God out of the picture...There are too many things that are accepted as routine nowadays..

  • French_avatar_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Really!? A citation and threat for calling an A-hole an A-hole? You'd have to BE an A-hole to do that! Normally I hate the ACLU but that level of enforcement is just stupid and counterproductive. Lets have some level of reason out there. I'd have called the guy much worse my self and I'd bet the citing officer would have as well.

  • M_a6d52838fcaf76871a3f162b66e0b424_max600_max50


    over 3 years ago


    SMASH the ACLU!!!!!!!

  • Gods_team_max50


    over 3 years ago



    I NEVER have kind words for the American Criminal Lover's Union.

  • 100_1019_max50


    over 3 years ago



  • Bald-eagle-in-flight_860_max50


    over 3 years ago


    If there are kids around it's one thing. Otherwise, it really depends on the circumstances.

  • Screen_shot_2011-04-10_at_8


    over 3 years ago


    I have to agree with Robocop33. It should depend on the circumstances. When it causes a public disturbance then it is disorderly conduct. But as someone who curses more than any lady should, I will say that I don't curse in front of children or at my mother.

  • Untitledma28839986-0002_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Soooo I guess that means we can swear all we want at the ACLU.

  • Me2_max50


    over 3 years ago


    @tprpolen LMAO. But that sucks. I wish Oregon had this.

  • Byrke_me_promotion_max50


    over 3 years ago


    LALALALA.... I didn't read this. I have a trial at the end of the month for DUI and I added DC onto it for being a Jerk and using profanity. I'm sure this will come up! Way to go!!!

  • Pictures_2008_002_max50


    over 3 years ago


    There are 4 different gradings for DC in PA. One of them is for obscene language or gestures. I'm not sure how the ACLU could possibly have won this...I'm at a loss for words...we continue to lose our authority, and the criminals continue to small caselaw at a time.

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