Tyranny is Infinitely More Obscene than Naughty Wordsby Will Grigg
Jun. 18, 2013
In May 2012, William Barboza, a Connecticut resident, was stopped for speeding while driving through the village of Liberty, New York. As an out-of-state resident, Barboza wasn’t aware that the portion of State Route 17 that runs through the tiny village is one of the most notorious speed traps in the state.
Not surprisingly, Barboza wasn’t happy about the ticket. When he mailed his payment to the Sullivan County Court, the 22-year-old included a vulgar message expressing contempt for the town, to which he referred as “Tyranny” rather than “Liberty,” New York. The court rejected his payment and ordered Barboza to make a two-hour trip to attend court. At the October 2012 hearing, a judge upbraided Barboza for his language, and police handcuffed and arrested him for violating the state’s “aggravated harassment” statute. Barboza was booked, fingerprinted, handcuffed to a bench, and forced to pay $200 bail. He has filed a lawsuit against the police officers who arrested him.
The charge was eventually dismissed as facially unconstitutional – but not before Barboza had been humiliated, verbally abused, and forced to make several expensive trips for gratuitous court proceedings.
Tyrannical bullying by arrogant government officials is immeasurably more offensive than vulgar language.