CHARLESTON, South Carolina (Reuters) - The police chief of a small South Carolina town will ask a jury to decide if a woman broke the state’s obscenity laws by driving a pickup truck with plastic testicles hanging from the back.
Bonneau Police Chief Franco Fuda ticketed Virginia Tice, 65, in early July at a local convenience store after spying the adornment dangling from her truck.
South Carolina law considers a bumper sticker, decal or device indecent when it describes, in an offensive way as determined by contemporary community standards, “sexual acts, excretory functions, or parts of the human body.”
The offense carries a maximum fine of $445 but no jail time, Fuda said.
“This is certainly not a staple of my ticket writing in Bonneau,” the police chief told Reuters on Wednesday.
The Charleston law firm Savage & Savage will represent Tice for free, attorney Scott Bischoff said. The trial had been scheduled for next week but was delayed because the defendant will be out of town.
“She’s such a sweet lady and she just says ‘I don’t want to pay the fine.’ We’ll let a jury decide whether this is really criminal behavior. I don’t want to take away from the importance of free speech, but it’s really comical,” he said.
Lawmakers in some states have sought to ban the colorful plastic or rubber devices that go by brand names such as Bulls Balls and Truck Nutz.
Fuda said if the fake testicles were a free speech issue, “I don’t know what they would be trying to express.”
“I went to (a) few websites that said, excuse the expression, ‘show your nuts,'” he said. “I didn’t see anywhere it said support your local proctologist or farmer.”
Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Cynthia Johnston