Speeding Ticket Becomes Free Speech Issue

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Geo Beats
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22-year-old William Barboza got a speeding ticket in Liberty, New York and he wrote a string of choice words on it. The New York Civil Liberties Union is fighting for his case after he was charged with “aggravated harassment”.

When 22-year-old William Barboza got a speeding ticket in Liberty, New York his anger took over and he wrote a string of choice words on it. For good measure he scribbled out the town name and wrote Tyranny in its place.

Chances are he had no idea how that was going to play out for him - especially the part about his case now being handled by the New York Civil Liberties Union.

After looking over the personal touches Barboza added to his ticket, a judge decided to reject payment and required the man return to Liberty for a court appearance.

When that day finally came, the judge gave Barboza a firm talking to but then also charged him with “aggravated harassment” and had him cuffed to a bench.

Several hours and 200 dollars in bail later Barboza was released, and after several months the charges were dropped but the case has not been forgotten.

Along with a law firm the New York Civil Literies Union is fighting to get the “aggravated harassment” statute stricken from the town’s books. They assert that arresting a person for a non-threatening outburst is crossing the line.

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