The court and police department will probably take the $140.00 fine and buy
doughnuts. And buy them with pennies. LOL
I double-dog dare him to do the same with the $140
It's nice things are so quiet in Vernal that the police don't have anything
better to do than get involved in a civil matter where no one was threatened or
Seriously, Utah has to be the most uptight state in the nation. The incident
upset clinic staff? West's behavior served "no legitimate purpose."?
First the dragnet that was put out on the teens who rapped into the
McDonald's drive thru and now this. Is it really this slow in Utah?
This is a case of two wrongs don't make a right. If he had paid his bill in
pennies by delivering them in some sort of container, nothing would have
transpired. But you don't walk into a business and dump a huge pile of coins on
top of someones desk. He deserved the fine.
People maybe afraid to visit Vernal, knowing the cops are harassing the locals.
As a tourist, I probably won't visit there this year.
Are you kidding me? Arresting a guy for disorderly conduct because he didn't
stack his pennies properly? The police and the clinic just bought
themselves a lawsuit that'll cost each a lot more than $25. Title 42 of the
United States Code section 1983 will provide the vehicle. And pursuant to
section 1988, when this guy wins, his lawyer gets attorneys' fees. Lends an all new meaning to the adage about being penny wise and pound
If the receptionist can't handle her own stress, she shouldn't be working in a
doctor's office where traumatic actions occur.
If he gets fined, I'll be the first to step up and save as many pennies as I can
for him. 14000 is that many.
I would have payed it with Trident Layers Gum.
"The incident upset clinic staff, said Campbell, adding that West's
behavior served "no legitimate purpose."Utah Code
76-9-102. Disorderly conduct. (1) A person is guilty of disorderly
conduct if: (a) he refuses to comply with the lawful order of the
police to move from a public place, or knowingly creates a hazardous or
physically offensive condition, by any act which serves no legitimate purpose;
or (b) intending to cause public inconvenience, annoyance, or alarm,
or recklessly creating a risk thereof, he: (i) engages in fighting or
in violent, tumultuous, or threatening behavior;This is related to
the common law tort of Assault:"In common law, assault is the tort of
acting intentionally and voluntarily causing the reasonable apprehension of an
immediate harmful or offensive contact." (Wikipedia)The
Disorderly Conduct citation is a nod to the verbal assault, coupled with an
aggressive act when he tossed a large quantity of metal disks at the office
staff, which caused apprehension among the staff.The cops may not be
so far off-base here, though they could easily have suggested that the man
apologize and let it go at that.
The man should request a jury trial. I don't think he would be convicted. I
know if I were a member of the jury that I could not convict him. It would take
all my power to just stop laughing at the cop as he gave his testimony.
Do you really think this is about the pennies? After hearing about disgruntled
employees, mad ex-husbands, disaffected students, (etc. etc.) taking a gun into
a school or place of business, I don't blame them for calling the police if they
felt threatened or intimidated. Easy for armchair (or computer keyboard)
quarterbacks to make fun. We weren't there.
As has been previously stated, the portion of the law that applies to the Legal
Tender issue is the Coinage Act of 1965, specifically Section 31 U.S.C. 5103
(also cited previously in this comment thread).In practice, it may
not be quite that absolute, though. From the U.S. Department of the Treasury
website:This statute means that all United States money as
identified above are a valid and legal offer of payment for debts when tendered
to a creditor. There is, however, no Federal statute mandating that a private
business, a person or an organization must accept currency or coins as for
payment for goods and/or services. Private businesses are free to develop their
own policies on whether or not to accept cash unless there is a State law which
says otherwise. For example, a bus line may prohibit payment of fares in pennies
or dollar bills. In addition, movie theaters, convenience stores and gas
stations may refuse to accept large denomination currency (usually notes above
$20) as a matter of policy.
What happened to "Common Sense?"
The cops are way off base even responding to a call on a situation like this,
let alone writing a citation. Don't they have any "real" crimes they
could be working on instead of wasting time on this? Please start
FIRING police who more and more abuse the power WE THE PEOPLE have GIVEN
them.The Police and policing are out of control.
The problem was dumping all of the pennies on the counter and floor. The man
should have just politely placed the bag of pennies on the counter and just
left. 2500 pennies is a lot and I am sure there was a huge mess. As much as I
can relate to the gentleman's outrage he was wrong to do it in the manner he
did. Disorderly conduct is probably a suitable charge.
GiuseppeG: The policeman quoted in the article very carefully specified, he
caused "alarm" and his behavior served "no legitimate
purpose." Crazy.Be sure you don't hang out at the
park doing nothing legitimate such as cloud watching or smelling the roses.
For all of you claiming 'they must accpet' since it's 'legal tender,' I hope
your boss pays you in legal tender pennies, every bit of change you get from a
store is given to you in legal tender pennies, and that your IRS refunds come to
you in legal tender pennies. Ya'll are being a bit dense here.
Im with Kimd @ 7:55 Would be nice to get a penny drive for the clinic..Penny in
a card folks?
The law is clear that the coins are legal tender:31 USC Sec. 5103 "Legal tenderUnited States coins and currency (including Federal
reserve notesand circulating notes of Federal reserve banks and national
banks)are legal tender for all debts, public charges, taxes, and dues.Foreign gold or silver coins are not legal tender for debts."If he made the offer to tender payment, and was refused, the doctor's office
has only 2 paths to pursue under law: 1) write off the debt, or 2) accept the
payment. Of course, they could always negotiate with him to see whether they
could work out another arrangement. The one path NOT open to them is to take any
action in a court seeking to compel the payment, since tender was made. If the local police arrested him solely for attempting to pay his bill,
there isn't much of a case -- although the police officer's sworn statement will
be legally-acceptable proof that tender was made. I wonder what
happened AFTER he made the tender of payment. I think THAT had to be what caused
the police to arrest him.
Whatever happened to customer service. I haven't seen madness like this since
living in a X-communist country in Eastern Europe.
I feel a Supreme Court case coming on. Last I heard, pennies were legal tender.
Below is the disorderly conduct code. Wonder what part they charged this dude
on? 76-9-102. Disorderly conduct. (1) A person is
guilty of disorderly conduct if: (a) he refuses to comply with the
lawful order of the police to move from a public place, or knowingly creates a
hazardous or physically offensive condition, by any act which serves no
legitimate purpose; or (b) intending to cause public inconvenience,
annoyance, or alarm, or recklessly creating a risk thereof, he: (i)
engages in fighting or in violent, tumultuous, or threatening behavior;
(ii) makes unreasonable noises in a public place; (iii) makes
unreasonable noises in a private place which can be heard in a public place;
or (iv) obstructs vehicular or pedestrian traffic. (2)
"Public place," for the purpose of this section, means any place to
which the public or a substantial group of the public has access and includes
but is not limited to streets, highways, and the common areas of schools,
hospitals, apartment houses, office buildings, transport facilities, and
shops. (3) Disorderly conduct is a class C misdemeanor if the offense
continues after a request by a person to desist. Otherwise it is an infraction.
People people coins are legal tender, here is the law:TITLE 31, SUBTITLE
IV, CHAPTER 51, SUBCHAPTER I, § 5103§ 5103. Legal
tenderUnited States coins and currency (including Federal reserve
notes and circulating notes of Federal reserve banks and national banks) are
legal tender for all debts, public charges, taxes, and dues. Foreign gold or
silver coins are not legal tender for debts.
@Tyde, When did it become illegal to be rude?
I think he got the disorderly conduct charge not for paying with pennies, but by
being rude and dumping them all over the counter. He was probably mouthing off
being rude thinking he was making some kind of statement. If he had paid in
rolls on pennies or even put a big bag of them on the counter, he wouldn't have
been cited. No doubt he upended it scattering them all over the place,
intentionally being disruptive. I mean I get it, he is taking a stand and
sticking it to them by wanted to pay in pennies. The issue is not the value or
the coin itself, it's how he went about it. I think this guy deserves the
fine and he should check his attitude before he unloads on some poor
unsuspecting minimum wage medical clinic schlub.
Pennies, like all US coinage is not simply legal tender. It is "limited
legal tender". As such, it must be accepted as payment of obligations to
the following limits:Quarters: $10Dimes: $5Nickels: $2Pennies: 35 cents.The clerk was required to accept 35 cents in
pennies and revise the debt to be $24.65.
Last time I checked the penny was still a form of legal tender in the United
States. It's cash, they MUST accept it.If the courts fine this guy,
I hope he pays that fine in pennys as well. It's time more people started taking
a stand against the ridiculousness of modern government.
Gotta admit, kind of funny. Reminds me of the Seinfeld episode with Todd
Gack.But come on folks, lets be adults. If you walked into the
grocery store, dumped a bucket of change all over the counter and called it
good, you deserve a kick in the you know what. You want to pay in
pennies fine, buy some coin sleaves, count it out, and drop that on the counter.
Don't throw a temper tantrum at the office. Act like a grown up.
What kind of a cop would write a citation for this? Probably one who figures
he's the most important person in town and abuses his authority as a cop....oh
wait, that's about 90% of the cops. This guy should fight this all the way,
make a mockery of the Vernal cops until they decide to stop acting like every
person is a criminal and realize they aren't nearly as important as they think
they are. Can't wait for my next trip to Vernal, just so we can laugh at the
It is legal currency, The bill was disputed but the guy paid anyway with cash.
The police should have cited the clinic for making a false complaint.
My doctor is a physician at Basin Clinic in Vernal. While he is an excellent
physician, I too have been exasperated by the office staff of the clinic on more
than one occasion. They seem not to be well-trained in the requirements of
HIPAA, and most of them could take a lesson or two in courtesy.I had
a run-in with them over billing a few months ago. They decided, 14 months after
the fact, that I owed them about $100. I (and my insurance carrier) had paid
each bill as it arrived. The attitude of Basin Clinic's front desk staff was
that it was my responsibility to prove that I didn't owe the money, not theirs
to prove that I did.If it were not for the need for continuity with
my doctor, I wouldn't go back.
Gee, and cops wonder why the public has a general loathing and mistrust of
them!Pennies are absolutely legal tender, and the man had every
right to pay with them. Just because he was proving a point is completely
irrelevant to the law.The fact that cops actually issues him a
citation for this just goes to show just how ignorant and apathetic they are
toward the actual laws.All I can say is that I'm just so glad the
cops took the time to deal with this dangerous criminal, instead of wasting
their time with all the harmless gang members and thugs out there.
@RBN - Dude, this is Vernal. Every day's a slow day in Vernal.
Every time I hear about someone paying a fine in pennies, they end up throwing
them all over the place, which leads to the police coming. I would like to hear
about someone calmly paying a disputed bill in pennies. It is legal tender, but
I can't think of a business that wouldn't put up a fight when asked to process
2500 pennies. Excellent point on the copper pennies, phyllo!
A penny a day keeps the doctor away.
He could of at least rolled them! I kind of laughed at first. But you know... he
wanted to bring attention to himself. And he got exactly what he wanted and
more... a fine for his poor behavior to boot. I think what he did speaks a lot
for his character.
I've got a bunch of pennies I would like to send to him to help him pay the new
fine. This is ridiculous. The hospital was in the wrong, he paid the bill that
they said he owed. Maybe we could all send postcards to the hospital with
pennies taped to them so that they could hire themselves some new staff.
Looks like Utah has crossed the line into Police State.1) The man
(regardless of his attitude) paid in legal tender2) It is the
responsibilty of the payment reciever to verify the amout tendered3) If
the medical office wants to restrict the ability of patrons to pay in certain
denominations / methods then it needs to have the policy clearly posted and
printed on forms provided at time of intake.4) To quote the President
(which I am loathe to do) "The police acted stupidly"Frankly it was a merchant client dispute that should have never had police
involvement and it is a pathetic sign of the times that they called the police.
Pennies are legal tender. Vernal is looking foolish around the nation. Is
there a counter-suit somewhere in here? Maybe the local law enforcement head
will be voted out the next election.Advice to Vernal law enfocement
- rescind the ticket and apologize asap. Bury this issue deep and hope all will
The clinic over reacted. They should have thanked him for his payment, asked him
to take a seat while the counted the pennies (they could have let him sit for
hours) and then after verifying that the correct amount was there.. given him a
receipt and sent him on his way with a smile. He'd be the one feeling foolish.
But by their reaction and getting the police involved they've got a lot of
negative publicity, a reputation for having no compassion, and they are the ones
looking foolish.Better luck next time.
Granted, dumping 2500 pennies on the counter might have upset staff or even
other patients, but does it really rise to the level of disorderly conduct? Did
he damage anything, speak profanities or threaten anyone? It sounds like this
is a case for the ACLU to counter-sue the city, and doctor's office if they
requested the citation.What is happening to this country and the
preservation of personal freedom???
It appears that we are missing the mark, here. Seems to me that this is a
classic case of assault with a deadly penny (multiple counts!) with intent to
pay a bill... serious by any standard...! As a civil society, we cannot
tolerate this behavior! First, he pays a twenty-five dollar tab with pennies...
Next, he buys a car with $1 bills... Pretty soon, he's making real estate
purchases with twenties... utter chaos...! We simply must stop anyone from
making purchases with money they actually have! Doesn't anyone remember that
according to the "new" American way, purchases must be made with
government-loaned monies (likely loaned to those who have no intention of ever
repaying, or ability to repay those loans)... It's obvious that in this new
world, deep debt is considered much preferable to pennies, any day... Heaven
This is outrageous. It may be immature and obnoxious to dump pennies out on the
counter/floor of a clinic, but it is not a crime. There were no damages
(disrupting business is a looong stretch), physical or otherwise. Even more disturbing is the behavior of the police. The clinic called the
cops, and when they arrived on the scene, the employees of the clinic identified
the man (presumably using information garnered from his medical records), and
made a big fuss about his behavior. The cops pursued him and cited him.As you read this, you are probably sitting in front of your computer. But if I
called the cops right now and told them that I just saw you speeding down the
freeway at 95 mph, and they showed up at your door with a citation for traveling
30 mph over the speed limit, would that be just? Of course not. Our public
servants can't just go around writing citations based on the heresay of
disgruntled citizens. That's not how this works, and the police who responded
should be ashamed of themselves.
i think he should have paid the bill with susan b anthonies---after all she is
noted for fighting injustices---besides much easier to carry than 2500
pennies---wouldn't have been so disrupting to the office of course
since it would be much easier to count---
This story is now on the YAHOO! web site opening page.
This story is now on the "Drudge Report" web site!!!
Well,.......I certainly will feel a lot safer now, should I happen to be in
Vernal, because the police don't mess around with trying to sort out any kind of
trouble, they just cite you and then you can explain it to the judge. Just
think what life would be like if every police department operated that
way.....maybe we could give Cube a run for its money. (Sarcasm)
IF in fact he paid with any pennys dating 1981 or older,he actiually paid MORE
that the fine due. pennys minted before 81 are pur copper and worth about 2.8
cents right now!
2500 pennies is probably worth more than any other method of payment,
particularly three pieces of paper (two tens and a five). The clinic should
have been happy about it.
So if I paid with a $20 and five $1s and the $1s fell on the ground, I'd get
fined? Immature, sure, but the money is legit, So perhaps can pay his $140 fine
in pennies as well, just roll them first.
I really hope that this guy gets 14,000 pennies ready in case the judge decides
to fine him.
Joejohnson is right...but don't make us out to be anarchists. It's legal tender
so get over it. Shamrock, why is the bill payer a doofus? Why are
you a sheeple? Why are poeple so quick to come down on the side of
the system/gov't and not the individual?
Don't be Useful Idiots! These days its seems way too many people are primed and
ready to follow the herd to the slaughter. Paying in pennies is not a crime,
being irate with office staff is not a crime, Dumping money on a desk is not a
crime. A crime is what the police department did in issuing a citation in this
matter, and the medical office for harassing this gentleman who didn't bend down
and take it in the rear for them. Wake up before our own country becomes a
I believe Penny's ARE legal tender, it is those Illegal Federal Reserve
"NOTES" they are actually just i.o.u' s !
I also find it immature. If he wanted to pay his bill in pennies, he jhad the
opportunity to simply lay the bag down on the desk, as I'm sure he didn't lug
them in in his open hands. He wanted to make a scene, and yes while pennies are
a valid payment option, creating a scene by dumping them all over the place out
of his displeasure at paying bills isn't an option. Would you fling your
twenties around the store at Walmarts? Pay attention..grown up, Pay your bills,
in pennies if you want, but don't be a baby about it. The fine was earned and
consider it a life lesson.
I'm with DN Subscriber. Where's the crime? Sure, it was immature, but the guy
paid his bill with pennies. It is a legal way to pay debts and if they cite him
for that, what else can be cited?I think police are using that
"Disorderly conduct" as a catch all for anything they don't like.
Starting to look a little fishy.
Oops. I was wrong. After posting that reference to the 1873 coinage law, I
keptlooking, and see that it was superseded in 1965.31 U.S.C.
5103: "United States coins and currency (including Federal reservenotes and circulating notes of Federal reserve banks and national banks)
arelegal tender for all debts, public charges, taxes, and dues. Foreign
gold orsilver coins are not legal tender for debts."Treasury has instructive comments, here (you'll have to take the spaces out of
the URL; the site won't allow it posted intact):http://
www.treasury.gov/ resource-center/ faqs/ Currency/ Pages/legal-tender.aspx
Actually, pennies are legal tender only up to $0.25 worth. Regional
administrator of national banks told me that, in late 70's, when I complained
about similar mistreatment over attempt to buy a half-gallon of ice cream late
one evening from a local store. He even sent me a copy of the statute; I've lost
that but here's the reference:"The minor coins of the United
States are legal tender for any amount not exceeding 25 cents in any one
payment. Act Feb. 12, 1873, Rev. Stat. ' 387, Comp. Stat. ' 6574, 6 Fed.Stat.
Anno. 2d. ed. p. 298."I've seen cases where tax agencies,
banks, and such have accepted wheelbarrows, bags, boxes of coins: they were
being gracious, because they could have refused to accept and then applied the
penalty for non-payment.
It seems like this issue isn't so much about him paying with pennies, but about
him doing it in a confrontational and disruptive manner. As mentioned in the
article he was upset and threw 2,500 pennies onto the counter and demanded they
count it. That is an aggressive act and I can understand why it would be
disruptive to a business operation. Had he simply came in with a jar of pennies,
explained why he was using such an unconventional option and was polite about
it, I'm sure no cops would have been called.
Wow! The police department is way off base on this one. Slow day in Vernal?
Then it must stand to reason that business harassing individuals for payment on
a constant basis is also disorderly conduct, right? Why didn't the officers
write up the hospital for disorderly conduct? If the hospital denies the pennies
they also surrender any claimed debts.
Tell me again what the crime was?He paid a bill with lawful money of
the United States, in the full amount demanded.What next, arrest
people at the grocery store for "disorderly conduct" if they don't
have exact change for a $74.67 tab and hand the clerk a bunch of one, five and
ten dollar bills?The guy may be a jerk and deliberately trying to
annoy the vendor, but that is not a crime.The cops are way off base
even responding to a call on a situation like this, let alone writing a
citation. Don't they have any "real" crimes they could be working on
instead of wasting time on this?
if pennies were not legal tender, the clinic would have a legitimate complaint.
I guess there isn't enough crime to investigate so the police have to get
involved in what at most is a civil matter
Waste of police time. If a penny is not legal tender then they should stop
making them. The clinic, in my opinion, acted very childish. If you do not
want this to happen specify that the payment must be in the largest denomination
Funny because the pennies are legal tender. I swear I would pay the fine in
What a doofus.