Free Speech Road Rage Over "Truck Balls"

A South Carolina grandma is defending your right to hang plastic Bulls Balls from your car

Another battle over free speech is brewing, this time in South Carolina, over a pair of plastic balls.

A police officer ticketed a 65-year-old grandmother after she parked her grandson's pickup truck at an Exxon station. Hanging off the back of the truck near the trailer hitch was a pair of bright red, plastic testicles.

Bonneau, S.C. Police Chief Franco Fuda asked Virginia Tice to remove the dangling ornaments, she refused.

Fuda said he was kind of shocked by the car's adornments:

"I've never seen a vehicle with a pair of testicles," he told AOL Autos. "I don't think that's natural."

And he certainly wasn't entertained:

"If some small child had seen it or if someone had pulled up with a clergyman in the car or an elderly grandmother, they would have to be confronted with that," he said. "I don't think that's amusing."

But Tice doesn't plan to pay the $445 ticket without a fight. She's asked for a jury trial.

Her attorney says this case is less about free speech, and more about whether or not his client broke the obscenity code. Since there were no images depicting intercourse and no human body parts shown, the case is pretty clear:

"It's not an obscenity issue," said Scott Bischoff, Tice's attorney. "The 'balls' don't "qualify as human body parts: They're red and they're from an animal."

Bischoff is representing Tice for free.

The South Carolina law governing bumper stickers, which says they can't be offensive or show excretory acts or human body parts, has been described as overly broad.

The plastic parts mimic steer testicles. Bischoff said the 17-year-old pickup owner was just using the decorations as "unique way of expressing himself."

The police chief doesn't buy that argument. "Freedom of speech is certainly protected, but it doesn't give you the freedom to break the law," Fuda said. "The law is on the book. It's very specific."

Bulls Balls are made by a company called Truck Nutz, which also makes a similar accessory called BikerBallz. The company is owned by 78-year-old Wilson Kemp, who bought the company about 10 years ago. He says they sell about 100,000 sets of balls annually. They go for $21 for plastic ones, and $46 for chrome.

They are intended to make people laugh, Kemp says.

"We intended to be humorous," he said. "We don't intend it to be offensive. If you're going to outlaw these, the next step would be to have people cover their pets and farm animals."

In the past five years, three states -- Maryland, Virginia, and Florida -- have tried to have their legislature open cases trying to ban these testicular decorations.

"In no case did it even come to a vote," he said, "it was so ridiculous."

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