Don’t use an f-bomb in the memo section of your check when you pay for a parking ticket, at least not in Doylsetown, Pennsylvania—the man who did was charged with with disorderly conduct for the “obscene” word, but the charges were dropped after he wrote a formal apology to the offended clerks. [CNN]

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  1. Mustang Paul says:

    You have to be —in’ kidding.

  2. homerjay says:

    Those clerks must see all sorts of ass-holeish stuff. When I was a teen I crumpled up my speeding ticket check into a tiny ball and stuck it into the corner of the envelope to mail in. I was surprised they opened it back up.

  3. LilKoko says:

    Oh, fudge!

  4. LilKoko says:

    Whoa! I just read the article. The guy got a lawyer?! And the lawyer had the audacity to say, “The F-word isn’t what it used to be.”

    If I use the “F-word” I expect it to mean what it used to mean! I ain’t throwin’ round my cuss words for nothing!

  5. DaveB says:

    When I do that I just write F.U. in the memo section

  6. humphrmi says:

    “Paid in Protest”

    Gets the message across, and it means something legally (although not much, but more than the F-bomb).

  7. ex_ea_slave says:

    Haven’t similar cases to this been struck down in other places? I specifically remember a woman in Wyoming who was arrested for having a Fuck Bush sticker on her vehicle. She got off citing free speech. How does telling a tool of The Man in Doylestown to fuck themselves (or anyone else) disturb the public peace? Unless things are really slow in the bustling metropolis of Doylestown that is.

  8. hey, he’s just petitioning his government for grievances…isn’t that okay?

  9. Colin says:

    $5 parking ticket? I’d like to see what he says when he gets the kind of tickets we get here in Philly… $50+.

  10. Half Beast says:

    Next moving violation I have to pay a fine for, I’m gonna put “Fahrfegnugen” in the memo field.

  11. astrochimp says:

    Fuck an apology. Haven’t they heard of Cohen v. California?

    Or maybe they’ve got it in their heads that supreme court precedent doesn’t carry as much weight as it used to. I wonder what would give them that idea.

  12. mac-phisto says:

    no need for the expletives. i suggest memo-ing “for sexual favors” next time.

  13. spinachdip says:

    @mac-phisto: I write “hot, steamy man lovin'” and the like for checks I write to my friends. I’m 12 years old.

    Also, if obscenity was the issue, then writing “Fudge you! Fudge you in your poo poo hole!” would have been acceptable?

  14. Chris Walters says:

    The lawyer for the man said he felt certain he would “prevail” in court, but that his client sincerely wanted to apologize. So, +1 for spontaneous civil behavior, -1 for free speech.

  15. Chris Walters says:

    @spinachdip: Same here! I wonder how many times a week bank clerks see juvenile messages on checks?

  16. allthatsevil says:

    I used to work in the lockbox of a mortgage company (opened all the mail with payments and processed said payments), and people wrote nasty things on their checks and money orders all the time. I always thought it was funny and shared them with my co-workers. I worked with a lot of holy-rollers too, and none of them were ever offended by it. I mean, it’s kinda silly to begin with since the people reading it aren’t the ones responsible for your anger. But if you want to express it, who am I to complain?

  17. ARVash says:

    The cop’s probably thinking to himself

    “I don’t get paid enough..”

  18. forgottenpassword says:

    You know what gets me! I that cops, judges, government clerks etc. etc… can get all kinds of petty actions taken (like having “disorderly conduct” charges) on the average citizen, but an average citizen cant get the same done against others. Prosecutors & cops will often consider it not worthy of their time when it is a citizen wanting to press charges & will basically laugh at you, but will often go out of their way when its the other way around.

    Its disgusting.

  19. ptkdude says:

    This reminds me that in Georgia, it was illegal to have obscene words on a bumper sticket attached to your car. The law was struck down by the state supreme court as a violation of free speach. The law is still on the books, however, and occasionally the police (DeKalb County in particular) will write a ticket for it knowing it’s a pain in the ass for the person to have to show up to court to get it dismissed.

  20. forgottenpassword says:

    …….also…

    I once had the idea to get special “goatse” or “tubgirl” checks printed up just for bills I hate paying (property taxes & such)…. but I figured I’d get brought up on a whole host of indecency, unsolicied pornography & similar charges once some little turd of a government official got one. Its truely amazing what the cops/prosecutors can come up with when they REALLY want to pile on the charges when they get miffed.

    I have said it over & over & will say it again…. there are too many laws on the books & cops/prosecutors know & use this to their advantage in vindictive ways.

  21. Buran says:

    @half-beast: Isn’t that Fahrvergnugen?

  22. yg17 says:

    @Buran: Fahrvergnügen. Don’t forget the dot thingys over the u :D

  23. Half Beast says:

    @yg17: @Buran:
    You’re both right. I need to ammend that.

  24. icemanik says:

    It seems like a case like that would be thrown out of court. Obscenity is notoriously hard to prove and takes into account things like contemporary community standards and “prurient interest” lacks any artistic, scientific or political speech, and depicts offensive sexual conduct.

    I’ve never been to Penn., but I doubt the case would be patently offensive based on contemporary community standards. For example, about a decade ago there was an obscenity case in Salt Lake City Utah regarding pornography. When the community standard test was applied, the defense showed that sex toy and porno shops in Salt Lake were very profitable and had tens of thousands of customers. Thus, pornography was not obscene by the Salt Lake community standards. Also, I doubt whatever he wrote had prurient interest.

    Most people throw the word obscenity around with realizing that it has a distinct legal concept.

  25. forgottenpassword says:

    Just had an idea…. you could also spray the check with a really foul odor. Deerscent comes to mind, but since it is basiclaly urine…. you could possibly get in trouble. But I am sure there are PLENTY of other foul smelling odors that come in a spray form. I figure a joke or prank shop would have such items…. & it would be perfectly legal as long as it wasnt toxic or a bodily fluid.

  26. EtherealStrife says:

    Yet another story of law enforcement officials violating the rights of the very people they’re supposed to be protecting.

  27. forgottenpassword says:

    @EtherealStrife:

    gotta teach them uppity disrespectful citizens (potential criminals) a lesson!!!

    Didnt ya know that is what most police believe when they feel they have been slighted in some way. And they think it as perfectly acceptable to use the law in a vindictive way to “get back” at a deserving, disrespectfull public.

    The sad thing is that it is this exact attitude that makes people “disrespect” the police in the first place.

    Too bad police cant just be impartial & not allow their feelings/ego effect how they treat citizens. If some snotty little punk gives you an attitude… you pay it no mind & do your job. You dont get all butthurt over it be vindictive about it. A GOOD cop doesnt pay attention to that crap…. he doesnt let his ego interfere with his job performance.

    Sadly…. there are not too many cops who can handle the power & responsibility that they have been entrusted with.

  28. privatejoker75 says:

    I used to live a few miles from Doylestown and have gotten tickets there. Now i wish i wrote FUCK YOU in a few of those memo sections

  29. privatejoker75 says:

    I know in PA you can call a police officer every name in the book and i think you can even spit on them and it’s legal…so i’m sure an obscenity on a check is fine

  30. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    Couldn’t you just put “F.U.C.K.” on the check and let them figure it out?
    (For unlikely criminal karma)

  31. mac-phisto says:

    @spinachdip: definitely. that’s perfect.

  32. Dibbler says:

    My wife works for the Clerk of Courts and she told me about a judge who had someone picked up at their house on Xmas eve and hauled to jail for doing the same exact thing to their check. They got a nice county supplied xmas dinner since they had to stay in jail till court opened back up after the holidays. I think the guy may have learned his lesson which was “Don’t f*ck with a judge or his people.”

  33. Mary says:

    Um, just for the record most of the time when you’re paying a bill or a parking ticket, nobody who actually has anything to do with said bill or parking ticket ever actually sees it.

    They go to payment processing centers. I have a friend who works for one, she sits all day and processes payments to utilities, charity donations, etc. For some accounts, they do send back any notes or extra things put in the envelopes. But for the most part if you put something on there that says “I hate you, you’re stupid” the only person that sees it is some poor schlub who spends all day scanning and keying in numbers. They really don’t care that you think your bill was too high.

    If you have a problem, then send your “F.U.” to someone who actually can do something about it, please.

  34. christoj879 says:

    That’s a really cheap parking ticket. Next time I’m in Doylestown I won’t bother to feed a meter or use the free municipal lot, $5 isn’t bad to park where I want for a ticket.

    But I can see that they’d follow this like a hawk, as well as I can see why this guy got the book thrown at him, Doylestown is the county seat of Bucks County, and as such holds all the main courts and everything.

  35. esqdork says:

    A few years back, on a juror survey I received, one of the choices in English was “Please check here if you cannot read or write English.” I noted the stupidity of the question in the comments section and was called for jury duty exactly 14 days later followed by quarterly jury duty notices until I moved out of state (not because of jury duty). I will never, ever, “mouth” off to governmental authorities again.

  36. Chris Walters says:

    @forgottenpassword: You mean something like this? [www.sigmaaldrich.com] (It’s artificial “corpse scent” btw, used for training police dogs.)

  37. forgottenpassword says:

    @cwalters:

    AWESOME!!!!!! Now there’s a scent I would have never thought of!

  38. Luftvier says:

    There is not a lot going on in Doylestown. I expect that Judge Daly wanted to teach him a lesson.

    It’s never a good idea to mess with the judge or his clerks.

  39. Curiosity says:

    @LilKoko: Yes it is a travesty that curse words have no power anymore. Don’t you remember the Federal court in Fox v. FCC [www.gao.gov], in which the court basically held:

    “If President Bush and Vice President Cheney can use vulgar language, then the government cannot punish others for doing the same thing on television.”

    I assume that this argument would apply here. [thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com]

  40. forgottenpassword says:

    @esqdork:

    you shouldnt have sent it in in the first place. Responding only gets you put on another list where your chances of getting picked again goes up.

    I dont send mine in at all (yeah, I am a horrible citizen who works a night job with a psycho of a boss who HATES having to find a replacement for me). What are they going to do? Arrest me for not sending back something I may have never recieved in the first place? It could have been lost in the mail for all they know…. (its not like they send it registered mail)… should I get an arrest warrant for that? And yes… they state alllllll kinds of threats of arrest on the jury summons card, but for the most part… its BS. The whole system is screwed up to begin with. I once recieved a jury summons from/for a county I didnt even live in.

  41. privatejoker75 says:

    Full story is here:

    [www.phillyburbs.com]

    Basically the argument is whether the word “fuck” on the check was meant in a sexually obscene manner. The arguments were never presented because the case was dismissed so we will never know the answer

  42. privatejoker75 says:

    cut and paste the link together

    [www.phillyburbs.com]

    /pb-dyn/news/137-01132008-1470219.html

  43. pete7919 says:

    There was a fact omitted from the story. Even though the charge was dismissed he had to pay his laywer $500 to represent him to that point. I’m friends with the cop that had to go to court for this and he had a good time with that thought in the end. The judge was rather disappointed as he wanted to put his opinion in and add to the case law for this.

    I did tell him I was happy that I am free to write vulgarities on all my official correspondence with the borough now that precedent was set. Water bill, tax payment, etc.

  44. KJones says:

    @doctor_cos:

    One could write this phrase:

    “Fine unfair. Cop knew, yet overreacted. Unacceptable.

    If anyone gets uppity, just say, “Really? Is that the acronym? I wrote that in a hurry and didn’t notice!” Let the bastards prove intent.

  45. digitalgimpus says:

    MEMO: Payment for sleeping with your mother.

    Seems to cover it.

  46. AaronC says:

    Its a sad world when people would rather defend the person cursing than an establishment. It is ok to use language like that. The world is really getting worse.

    Maybe I’m just old fashioned… (at age of 22)

    But even if I don’t agree, I’m not going to use language or threaten anyone. Or be vulgar in any other way. Just a tad childish…

  47. EtherealStrife says:

    @AARONC: The issue is the infringement of freedom of speech. Whether I use that freedom to commend or berate is irrelevant.
    What’s childish is thinking that the world is getting worse because of foul language.

  48. icemanik says:

    Fuck is just a word. Abusing the legal system to drag someone into court and dubiously repress freedom of speech, that is vulgarity, that is a sign the world is getting worse. Get your priorities straight.

  49. privatejoker75 says:

    @AARONC: It’s a sad world when you can no longer comment on what you think of your government in a “democracy”