Here's a pretty ridiculous story about a traffic court judge who increased a driver's traffic fine from $39 to $100 just because the driver mailed in a $39 check on which he had scrawled "go to hell." According to the story:
Zusman declined to be interviewed, but wrote a letter telling the Tribune he would not comment on the case, explaining that, “Those who cannot express themselves in an adult, respectful way subject themselves to an enhanced fine.”
I guess Judge Zusman missed the day of Con Law on Cohen v. California, in which the Supreme Court struck down a California law used to punish a guy for wearing a jacket with the words "F--- the Draft" in the courthouse (well, the whole word was spelled out).
I remember covering, back in my brief foray into journalism, a story in Berkeley where a police officer gave a driver a ticket, ending the stop with "Have a nice day." The driver responded, "Have a nice day too, asshole," and drove off. The cop pulled the driver over again and gave him a second citation, this one for violating a Berkeley municipal ordinance for insulting a police officer. (I am not making this up.) The driver got a lawyer and challenged the second citation in traffic court, and as you might guess, the traffic commissioner dismissed the ticket on First Amendment grounds.