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Man Gets Arrested for Writing a Crude Note on His Speeding Ticket
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speeding ticket

Summary: A Connecticut man paid his speeding ticket and included a little note with choice words complaining about the ticket which the town was not happy about.

You may not like what people write about you, your beliefs, or your town, but freedom of speech says we are protected for what we say. One town in New York did not like this fact. A Connecticut man was given a speeding ticket from the town of Liberty, NY that he was extremely unhappy about.


Michael Barboza wrote a nasty note on this ticket when he paid the $175 bill. The town was not impressed by his note that included crossing off Liberty and replacing it with “Tyranny” so they rejected his payment and instead requested he make a court appearance.

Barboza drove two hours to make the court summons and was then arrested for aggravated harassment. Barboza used the town and the district attorney, Robert Zangla, with the help of the New York Civil Liberties Union. He claimed the town violated his First Amendment rights. A judge finally threw out the charges a year later with citing a similar case.

The federal judge only said that although Barboza’s writing was “crude and offensive to some, did not convey an imminent threat and was made in the context of complaining about governing activity” so it was not harassment. There was no implied threat in his note towards a specific person so there was no threatening action. He was simply complaining about the ticket.

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