Grocery store customer: Insults were not ‘fighting words’

Connecticut Supreme Court Building (Image:

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A Connecticut woman is claiming free speech rights in appealing her conviction for a profanity-laden tirade against a grocery store manager three years ago.

Nina Baccala was convicted by a jury a year later of misdemeanor breach of peace and sentenced to 25 days in jail.

Police in Vernon said she became angry at a manager at a Stop & Shop when the manager said it was too late to process a Western Union money transfer. She called the manager various expletives.

The state Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments in the case Thursday as it decides whether Baccala’s insults are protected speech under the state constitution and whether her conviction should be overturned.

State prosecutors say Baccala’s insults fall under a “fighting words” exemption to free speech rights.

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