Saturday, August 29, 2015

Slow Saturday Special: You Can Curse in Vermont

Maybe I need to move north:

"Vermont court reverses conviction of dad who yelled at coach" by Wilson Ring Associated Press  August 29, 2015

MONTPELIER — The Vermont Supreme Court on Friday overturned the disorderly conduct conviction of a New Hampshire man who yelled profanity at a high school basketball coach and hit a parked car with his hand because he was upset his daughter did not get to play in a junior varsity game.

A father standing up for his daughter's honor. BRAVO!

The Supreme Court said David Tracy’s behavior at the game in Canaan could be seen as threatening but did not fall within the scope of the state’s disorderly conduct law. The court said the law pertains to speech that is ‘‘reasonably expected to cause the average listener to respond with violence.’’

‘‘Defendant’s expression was vulgar, boorish, and just plain rude. His conduct could arguably have been viewed as threatening ...,’’ Justice Beth Robinson wrote in the decision. But ‘‘the provision only reaches speech that, in the context in which it is uttered, is so inflammatory that it is akin to dropping a match into a pool of gasoline.’’

Essex County State’s Attorney Vincent Illuzzi, who prosecuted the original case but did not handle the appeal, said he was disappointed by the ruling and noted that the volunteer basketball coach quit as a result of Tracy’s conduct.

‘‘I don’t know if there’s a legislative solution to address this type of behavior,’’ he said. ‘‘We obviously felt it was over the top and warranted criminal prosecution.’’ 


Vermont Defender General Matt Valerio, whose office represented Tracy, called ‘‘the zealousness of the prosecution ... somewhat astounding.’’

I'm astounding by public $ervants trying to make a name for themselves.

‘‘Unfortunately there’s some level of rudeness and turmoil that you have to put up with living in a free society,’’ Valerio said. ‘‘Ultimately if bad language rises to the level of a crime, then lock us all up at some point or another.’’ 

I think that is what is behind the politically-correct censorship masking itself as tolerance.

According to the court decision, the Pittsburg, N.H., father approached the coach in the school parking lot after the Dec. 11, 2012, game. 

I once cheered for my team in a hostile visiting environment once, and stood up and applauded when my team forced a shot clock violation. The mob then descended on me with verbal threats and some people even made moves toward me. All this while I was with a friend and his elderly father. 

I kid you not, I felt my life was being threatened and was afraid in the parking lot when the game was over (thankfully, my team lost). It's an experience I will never forget, and no one rushed to my defense. Not even the police, who did accost me during a different game. 

Of course, now that I am mostly non-partisan and vaguely regional in my routing that isn't much of a problem, and officials always get respect (plus I know some personally, and they are great guys). Just want to see good basketball, that's all.


The ‘‘defendant was agitated and used profanity,’’ the decision said. And while talking with the coach, he hit ‘‘the car with his left hand,’’ it said.

I wouldn't do that now. Hurts too much. All I got is words.

The judge in the December 2013 trial found Tracy guilty of disorderly conduct ‘‘with intent to cause public inconvenience or annoyance, or recklessly creating a risk thereof ‘engaged in threatening behavior.’’’ He was sentenced to write a letter of apology and complete 75 hours of community service. Tracy appealed.

The Supreme Court also noted that what was once considered fighting words has changed.

‘‘The use of foul language and vulgar insults is insufficient,’’ the decision said....

Good. You get a lot of that here, although much much less than when I started and in censored ways now, cluing you in, rather than the full on diatribes I used to type. I'm tired.


Awww, f***, I spent too much time dribbling down memory lane here.