Freedom of Speech & Truck Nuts
A South Carolina woman was issued a $445 ticket for affixing truck nuts to her truck’s bumper. What are truck nuts you ask? They are a pair of metal or platic testicles that hang from a vehicle’s trailer hitch. Why are these auto accessories relevant in the legal arena? They are relevant because the above South Carolinian has contested the ticket and been granted a jury trial.
According to WCSC, the Defendant attached plastic testicles to her truck because she wanted to make a statement. Bonneau Police Chief Franco Fuda states “[g]enitalia is offensive.” Fuda goes on to say, “[a]s a law enforcement officer, I’ll advise that person if it warrants a citation I’ll issue a citation. As a father, I wouldn’t want my daughter looking at it.”
South Carolina indecency law states as follows: A sticker, decal, emblem, or device is indecent when:
(1) taken as a whole, it describes, in a patently offensive way, as determined by contemporary community standards, sexual acts, excretory functions, or parts of the human body; and
(2) taken as a whole, it lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.
UCLA Law Professor Eugene Volokh disagrees with application of the law to the present case insofar as “this [test] is broader than the obscenity test, it punishes speech that is constitutionally protected (vulgarity that has no sexually arousing component, and is thus neither obscene nor even obscene-as-to-minors). The law is thus unconstitutionally overbroad, and thus facially invalid.”
If you constitutional rights have been violated or you have been involved in a traffic related legal matter Miller|Conway is here to handle your case. Contact Miller|Conway to schedule a free consultation.