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 offence 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 said. 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 behaviour. I don't want to take away from the importance of free speech, but it's really comical," he said. Fuda said if the fake testicles were a free speech issue, "I don't know what they would be trying to express."