PHILADELPHIA – Free-speech lawsuits being filed Wednesday accuse Pennsylvania State 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 state police in a recent one-year span and found that most of them involve profanities and other legal, nonobscene speech.
The ACLU plaintiffs are a pizza delivery driver cited for cursing at an officer over a parking ticket and a Luzerne County woman cited for hurling a derogatory name at a motorcylist who swerved at her.
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 had no immediate response.