First Amendment

Jury Trial Planned re $445 Obscenity Ticket Issued Over Plastic Dangling Bull Privates


At least three states have considered banning the fake plastic bull testicles some drivers hang on the back of their pickups, but haven’t yet done so.

So that puts a South Carolina town that issued Virginia Tice, 65, a $445 obscenity ticket earlier this month on the front lines of a cutting-edge constitutional issue. Represented on a pro bono basis by Savage & Savage, she was going to ask for a jury trial but discovered that Bonneau’s police chief had already done so, according to the Post and Courier and Reuters.

“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,” attorney Scott Bischoff of the Savage firm tells the newspaper, explaining that he plans to pursue a First Amendment defense.

Tice was ticketed under a state law banning bumper stickers that describe, in an offensive manner, “sexual acts, excretory functions, or parts of the human body.” She could be fined a maximum of $445 but faces no jail time, if convicted.

“This is certainly not a staple of my ticket writing in Bonneau,” the city’s chief of police, Franco Fuda, told Reuters today. However, if the fake testicles pose a free-speech issue, he says, “I don’t know what they would be trying to express.”

Related coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Fla. Senate Seeks to Ban ‘Truck Nutz’”

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