Metro

N.H. man can have ‘COPSLIE’ license plate, court rules

The New Hampshire Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that a man can have a license plate reading “COPSLIE,” saying that the regulation the Division of Motor Vehicles cited to bar him from owning that plate was “unconstitutionally vague.”

David Montenegro’s application for the plate was rejected under a regulation that bars plates “which a reasonable person would find offensive to good taste,” the court said.

Advertisement

Citing a decision in another case, the court said it concluded the restriction “ ‘authorizes or even encourages arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement’ . . . and is, therefore, unconstitutionally vague.”

Because of its vagueness, the court held, the regulation violates the free speech right guaranteed in the New Hampshire Constitution.

Get Fast Forward in your inbox:
Forget yesterday's news. Get what you need today in this early-morning email.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

Montenegro applied for the plate May 4, 2010. On his application, he said the intended meaning was that “cops lie.”

That same day, the application was rejected because several DMV employees believed the plate to be insulting.

Montenegro appealed to the director of the DMV, then to the commissioner of safety, and then went to court. A lower court judge upheld the DMV’s denial of the plate. The high court’s decision reversed the decision.

Martin Finucane

Martin Finucane can be reached at martin.finucane@globe.com.
Loading comments...
Real journalists. Real journalism. Subscribe to The Boston Globe today.
We hope you've enjoyed your free articles.
Continue reading by subscribing to Globe.com for just 99¢.
 Already a member? Log in Home
Subscriber Log In

We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles'

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com