New Hampshire

Live Free and Call Cops Liars on Your License Plate in New Hampshire

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Somebody's gonna get audited.
Gamma Man / photo on flickr

New Hampshire's highest court has ruled that the state's Department of Motor Vehicles erred when it told resident David Montenegro he could not get a vanity license plate that spelled out "COPSLIE." The Associated Press reports:

In a unanimous decision, the state Supreme Court agreed with the arguments of David Montenegro, who wanted the vanity plate reading "COPSLIE" to protest what he calls government corruption.

State law prohibits vanity plates that "a reasonable person would find offensive to good taste." But the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union argued that the law is unconstitutionally vague and gives too much discretion to a person behind a Department of Motor Vehicles counter.

New Hampshire had argued that state workers were right to deny the plate, because the phrase disparages an entire class of people — police officers.

The justices said that state law does not define the phrase "offensive to good taste."

Montenegro was represented by a lawyer from the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union.

During arguments for the case last November, justices grilled attorneys as to whether approval of a license plate would be dependent on whether a DMV worker agreed with the sentiment. One pointed out that a license plate pointing out how awesome cops are would probably not be rejected.

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  1. I agree he’s certainly free to do so, but I’m not sure of the wisdom.

    1. I predict he will get pulled over more often.

      1. Indeed. What an idiot.

      2. conversely, cops are known to be cowards and this plate could tell them they’re in for a law suit if they don’t have probable. I see the stupidity angle, but this could be brilliant too.

        1. But cops have a lot of discretion. They don’t ticket everyone with a broken taillight. A plate like that is just begging for strict enforcement of some infraction or other.

          1. Cops love to brag about how they can always find an excuse to pull over pretty much anyone. All they have to do is follow them around for a while, eventually they’ll fuck up and do something to give them an excuse.

            1. Exactly.

              1. Seconded – or thirded…

                Which means, while I disagree strongly with the court decision – I do firmly believe they did this idiot a favor.

        2. I’ve sued cops before and I’ve never known one to be afraid of a lawsuit. Even if you cleared all the skyscraper-high hurdles to finding a cop liable for something, in almost all of those cases, it’s the gov that pays the tab, not the cop.

          1. Exactly – what’s to fear when you’re not responsible for the legal fees, any judgement, any… thing….

    2. Maybe he has his car rigged up with cameras that upload to the cloud – so if/when he gets harassed, he will cash in (at the taxpayers expense, unfortunately).

      1. He’ll have the most lavish funeral money can buy!

        And his murderer will probably show up during his paid vacation (read: administrative review period) to beat the man’s corpse a few more times for extra measure.

        1. That could be a significant risk.

    3. I would certainly advise him not to make any sudden movements or have any object in his hand such as a cell phone during any of the numerous petty traffic stops that are heading his way.

  2. New Hampshire had argued that state workers were right to deny the plate, because the phrase disparages an entire class of people ? police officers.

    In all but a few jurisdictions, truth is a valid defense against a charge of libel.

  3. LUVACOP

    HUGACOP

    COPSRUL

    GR8COPS

    4ACOP

    COPLOVE

    GO COPS

    Are all perfectly acceptable.

    1. Now go wash out your mouth with soap.

      1. And not with any weak soap, but that black lava stuff.

    2. Hug a cop! Yeah, go ahead, I said it!

      – Irwin M. Fletcher

      1. I think I’ll walk up to a random NYC cop and see what happens.

        /it was nice knowing you all

        1. dammit

          insert “hug” in there somewhere

    3. Isn’t bestiality illegal in most states?

  4. How is anyone in the DMV supposed to know what a reasonable person would think?

    1. HAHAHAHA. I’m not even sure that DMV workers are people, much less reasonable. They seem to be some sort of ape/slug hybrid.

      1. Stop insulting apes and slugs!

    2. With one exception, the NH DMV people I’ve dealt with have seemed like reasonable and decent people.

  5. An example of exercising the right to be foolish.

    1. I will ask my kids about this…

    2. Ugly Americans…or Awesome Americans?

  6. He should expect a visit from SWAT sometimes this week.

  7. Wait, so there is now Supreme Court precedent that cops and government officials aren’t “reasonable person”s? This is stupendous!

    1. Whatever, you sissy. If we don’t fight them over there, we’ll just end up fighting them over here. Radical Russism is the greatest threat the world has ever known.

      1. Wrong damn thread, tree rats!

      2. Somehow, this almost made sense.

        1. We still gonna manwrestle at the Tegan and Sara concert tonight?

          1. Yes, but no Warty rules. The last time someone got excited about the “shocker” and damn near ruptured my taint.

            1. OK, OK. Folding chairs only.

  8. Since this is NH, he should park the car with that plate, on the sidewalk between 2 parking meters.

  9. New Hampshire had argued that state workers were right to deny the plate, because the phrase disparages an entire class of people ? police officers.

    Can a statement still be considered disparaging if it’s true?

    Best of luck to this guy. If he’s lucky he’ll just get pulled over for petty bullshit a lot. If he’s not so lucky it’ll be “FURTIVE MOVEMENT!” *BLAM* *BLAM* *BLAM* “STOP RESISTING!”

    1. Since when are cops a “class of people”?

      They have a job. That is all. That doesn’t make them a separate “class”.

      1. In the eyes of a rational person, yes. This is govt we are talking about; rationality has nothing to do with it. In fact, it is discouraged.

      2. They have a job. That is all. That doesn’t make them a separate “class”.

        Don’t be ridiculous! The responsibilities and obligations apply to everyone equally unless you wear a costume. Costumes render you as a separate class of people. Fact.

  10. In a unanimous decision, the state Supreme Court agreed with the arguments of David Montenegro, who wanted the vanity plate reading “COPSLIE” to protest what he calls government corruption.

    Dude’s a brave man.

    1. Dude’s a brave man.

      Possibly, but I’ve always found there is a very fine line between bravery and stupidity.

      As since most humans today firmly believe that if they learned something new today, they would’ve known it yesterday (even though they didn’t), making them all perfect armchair quaterbacks for everything – the dividing line today seems to be defined (based upon use) thusly:

      Bravery means the crazy thing you tried worked. Stupidity means it failed.

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