Court: Woman’s tirade against Stop & Shop manager was free speech

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — The Connecticut Supreme Court has ruled that a woman’s profanity-laced tirade against a grocery store manager was protected free speech.

The court on Friday ordered that Nina Baccala, of Vernon, be acquitted of a misdemeanor breach of peace charge. Four justices voted in favor of acquittal and three voted for a new trial.
Vernon police said Baccala became angry at an assistant manager at a Stop & Shop in 2013, after being told it was too late to process a Western Union money transfer. She called the manager various expletives.

Baccala was convicted by a jury in 2014 and sentenced to 25 days in jail.

The Supreme Court ruled that Baccala’s profanity and name calling did not fall within the “fighting words” exemption to constitutional free speech rights.

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