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Pa. police wrongly charged people for swearing, lawsuit claims

Free-speech lawsuits filed Wednesday accuse Pennsylvania police of wrongly charging hundreds of people with disorderly conduct for swearing.

American Civil Liberties Union lawyers say they reviewed 770 such citations issued by Pennsylvania State Police in a recent one-year span and found most involved profanities and other legal, nonobscene speech.

The plaintiffs are a pizza delivery driver briefly jailed for cursing at a local officer over a parking ticket and a Luzerne County woman cited by state police for hurling a derogatory name at a swerving motorcyclist.

The statute carries a possible 90-day jail term and $300 fine. The woman says she paid $1,500 to fight the ticket.

A state police spokeswoman says the agency has no immediate comment.

-- Associated Press

By Washington Post Editors  |  May 12, 2010; 5:20 PM ET
Categories:  Around the Nation , Offbeat  
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