The F-Motion

By Vanatta, Eric | Constitutional Commentary, Summer 2004 | Go to article overview

The F-Motion


Vanatta, Eric, Constitutional Commentary


Just another highly questionable juvenile filing, I thought, as I threw the file on my desk. A fellow public defender stood in my door as I began to complain about dealing with cussing as a crime. At first, I didn't see the deeper issues involved. Then it hit--the biggest and brightest light bulb of my professional career. I never believed it would cause a national reaction, but I knew a well crafted motion on the F word would certainly be fun to research and write. The creative side of me said be bold with your prose, but I knew that in order to be taken seriously, the motion would have to cover all the legal bases to support the implicit argument that Fuck is an acceptable term--even when said to the school principal. I spent several days piecing together the motion in between dealing with a variety of other cases. While walking to and from the local courthouse, I attempted to think novel ways to show Fuck isn't such a bad thing, and in fact, it can be a good thing. I needed to show that Fuck has come a long way from its meager beginnings, thus the evolution throughout history. Finally, I needed to show that judges from across the land agreed with me.

After being filed, the motion took on a life of its own--from being ranked as the hottest subject on the internet, to three national television appearances, and finally to being published in this journal of law. I hope you appreciate what the motion really stands for--freedom of speech and the right to say what you think and what you believe. I've really enjoyed the feedback I've received on it, so feel free to contact me here in the Larimer County Office of the Colorado State Public Defender.

DISTRICT COURT, LARIMER COUNTY, COLORADO 201 LaPorte Avenue, Fort Collins, CO 80521 (970) 498-6100

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF COLORADO, Plaintiff,

In the Interest of:

--, a Child.

DAVID S. KAPLAN Colorado State Public Defender

ERIC VANATTA (#24823) Deputy State Public Defender Fort Collins Regional Office 1 Old Town Square, Suite 201 Fort Collins, Colorado 80524 Phone: (970) 493-1212, Fax: (970) 498-8867 E-mail: ftcollins.defenders@state.co.us

MOTION TO DISMISS: THE CONSTITUTIONALITY OF FUCK, "FUCKER" AND "FUCKING FAG"

Counsel hereby asks the Court to dismiss the case at bar. He states the following:

1. Mr.--is charged with Interference with Staff, Faculty or Students of Educational Institutions, a class three misdemeanor. The charge was amended from the original charge of Disorderly Conduct.

2. The basis of the prosecution is an alleged statement Mr.--made to his principal at school. During lunch, Mr.--was contacted by the vice principal for suspicion of smoking in the boy's room. He was taken to the principal's office where he allegedly called the principal a "fucker, a fag, and a fucking fag." He was charged with the present offense based on his statements to the principal and he is being prosecuted for the words he spoke.

3. In order to provide a context for the alleged crime, we must first examine the history of Fuck and its evolution in society. Fuck's earliest recorded use is prior to the year 1500 from the English-Latin poem Flen Flyys: "Non sunt in celi quia fuccant uuiuys of heli," which traslates to "they are not in heaven because they fuck the wives of Ely." See www.wikipedia.org/wiki/fuck.

4. Although still offensive to some, Fuck is a more commonly used and accepted term in today's twenty-first century society than it was in the past. Use of the word Fuck "has been accepted in R-rated movies (and occasionally in PG-13 movies, though not often). Since the 1970's, the use of the word Fuck in R-rated movies has become so commonplace in mainstream American movies that it is rarely noticed by most audiences." Id. Some movies such as Scarface, Porky's and Goodfellas are known for the extensive use of the family of Fuck words (Fuck, Fucking, Fucker, Fuckface, Fucked, Absofuckinglutely, etc. …

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