South Carolina Astir Over Giant Truck Nuts
CHARLESTON, S.C. (CN) - A South Carolina woman is fighting for the right to hang giant red testicles from the back of her pickup truck.
Virginia Tice, of Bonneau, S.C., a small town about an hour outside of Charleston, was ticketed on July 5 when town Police Chief Franco Fuda saw her truck - and its appendage - outside a gas station-convenience store.
Fuda said Tice's testicles violate a state law that deems decals, devices and bumper stickers indecent if they offensively depict "sexual acts, excretory functions, or parts of the human body."
The offense carries a $445 fine.
South Carolinians are rallying to Tice's cause, among them attorney Scott Bischoff, with Savage & Savage in Charleston. Bischoff said his firm has offered Tice free representation as she fights the ticket.
"We'll let a jury decide whether this is really criminal behavior. I don't want to take anything away from the importance of free speech, but this is really comical," Bischoff told reporters.
Known as "truck nutz," the fake testicles have been swinging over the nation's roadways for nearly a decade. They are typically installed under a rear bumper for the viewing pleasure of people behind.
Police Chief Fuda does not appear to be enjoying his sudden fame - including a send-up by The Onion, which posted comments in its daily "What Do You Think?" feature.
The feature, presented as short "(wo)man on the street" interviews, included the alleged comments, "This ruling will have broad implications for the entire automotive genital-accessory industry," and, "I'm not sure using the 'contemporary community standards' test to determine indecency will help the state's case. At this point, the whole country pretty much associates fake-testicle car ornaments with South Carolina."
Fuda told Reuters last week that "this is certainly not a staple of my ticket writing in Bonneau."
The police chief told Reuters it was not a First Amendment case: "I don't know what they would be trying to express," Fuda said.