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Judge Upholds Anti-Swearing Law

February 8, 1999

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) _ A judge Monday upheld an 1897 Michigan law against cursing in front of children and ordered a man who let loose with a stream of profanities after falling out of a canoe to stand trial.

The ruling came in the case of Timothy Boomer, 24.

``If Mr. Boomer’s words, when used as they were, were constitutionally protected speech, then a person could stand on a crowded public beach and shout those same words all day,″ County Judge Allen C. Yenior ruled in Standish.

``This cannot be what the framers of the Constitution and the First Amendment intended to protect.″

A sheriff’s deputy said he heard Boomer explode in a three-minute barrage of profanity after the mishap on the Rifle River last summer. A woman and her two young children were nearby.

Boomer could get up to 90 days in jail and a $100 fine if convicted. His trial was set for Feb. 25.

Boomer insisted his words have been exaggerated. He and the American Civil Liberties Union say the law violates the right to free speech.

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