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NH Man Fights State’s Denial Of ‘COPSLIE’ License Plate

By Michael Rosenfield, WBZ-TV
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BOSTON (CBS) — A Rochester, New Hampshire man’s desire to have a license plate that reads “COPSLIE” has taken his case to the Supreme Court of New Hampshire.

This COPSLIE license plate is up for debate in New Hampshire's highest court. (WBZ-TV)

This COPSLIE license plate is up for debate in New Hampshire’s highest court. (WBZ-TV)

David Montenegro, who has changed his name to “human,” was denied by the Department of Motor Vehicles in 2010 when he requested the plate.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens reports

DMV regulations say a vanity plate can be denied if a reasonable person might find it offensive to good taste.

“It was an accusation against all officers relative to their morality and their position as law enforcement officers,” said New Hampshire Associate Attorney General Richard Head, who argued on behalf of the DMV.

human, who represented himself at the hearing, claims his free speech rights are being violated.

“If I could condense all of the problems that I’ve seen in New Hampshire government down to a single sound bite small enough to fit on a license plate, ‘COPSLIE’ would be it,” said human after his hearing today.

human, an unemployed accountant, says he has been arrested twice for attempted jaywalking and protesting police misconduct.

Human is fighting the state's denial of his vanity license plate. (WBZ-TV)

Human is fighting the state’s denial of his vanity license plate. (WBZ-TV)

The New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union joined the case on human’s behalf and calls the DMV’s regulations too broad and discriminatory.

“I think what this case is addressing is a regulation that vests a tremendous amount of discretion in people who sit behind a desk,” said Gilles Bissonnette, staff attorney for the NHCLU.

Justices will like take several months to reach their opinion on the plate. They grilled both sides.

“The decision as to whether it’s offensive to good taste is inherently subjective and depends on who’s making the evaluation,” said Associate Justice Carol Ann Conboy.

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