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Cursing Police Not Probable Cause for Arrest

The Court of Appeals needed only a memorandum opinion to explain that police did not have probable cause to arrest, for disorderly conduct, a man who shouted obscenities at them in a subway station. Unlike typical probable cause determinations that are beyond review in the State's high court because they involve mixed questions of law and fact, there was "no record support for the motion court's determination that the defendant's rant against the police officers constituted disorderly conduct."

After shouting obscenities at the officers, the man was prevented by the police from leaving the subway station.  This was not a proper detention, and the defendant's motion to suppress the alleged "gravity knife" that was found on him was granted.

The lesson learned is that, as long as no direct threats are made, it usually is not a crime to swear and curse at a police officer.  However, setting aside the fact that there usually is not a good time and place to go on a curse-filled rant in public, you still may end up spending a night in jail......although the case will surely be dismissed later.

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