June 22 2011

Bucks County Courier Times Editorial Supports Cooley & Handy’s Appeal of Custody Contempt Order Imposing Sanctions on Father for Profanity Use

Blog Written by  Alisa

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To the Bucks County judge who fined a divorced dad $2,000 for cursing in front of his 9-year-old son.  That’s not to condone the practice.  It is both shameful and reprehensible for any adult to use foul language in front of any child.  But there is such a thing as free speech.  And, like it or not, the Supreme Court has ruled that “courts and legislatures cannot limit speech to appease the most squemish among us.”

The judge’s ruling has been appealed to state court, which we expect will rule that the judge’s order and fine amounts to, as the dad’s attorney argues, “unenforceable prior restraint on free speech.”

We don’t condone the dad’s behavior or even excuse it.  But, in our view, the judge went too far.

Cooley & Handy Blog Editor’s Note: The appeal technically involves the judges’ first order, which prohibited father from using profanities or other “inappropriate language” in front of the child.  Father is claiming that order cannot be enforced because it is an overly broad prior restraint on free speech that clearly encompasses constitutionally-protected speech.   The appeal was also taken to the Superior Court of Pennsylvania and the case involves father’s daughter, not his son.

(This editorial appeared in the May 1, 2009 edition of the Bucks County Courier Times.)

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