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'Truck Nuts:' Jury Trial for SC Woman with Fake Testicles

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By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on July 29, 2011 12:28 PM

When Bonneau, South Carolina resident Virginia Tice adorned her pickup's trailer hitch with "truck nuts," chances are she didn't see herself fighting for the right of plastic testicle lovers everywhere.

A recipient of a $445 ticket, the 65-year-old woman is challenging the application of South Carolina's obscene and indecent bumper sticker law to her beloved car ornament.

She says their display is free speech.

For those who have never encountered "truck nuts," they're basically a pair of anatomically correct plastic testicles that can be affixed to a truck's trailer hitch.

While Bonneau Police Chief Franco Fuda may not know exactly what message truck nuts are supposed to express, one can only imagine that there are many meanings--both big and small.

For this reason, Virginia Tice and her attorneys are likely correct in asserting that truck nuts are speech under the First Amendment, and are thus not a ticketable offense.

However, while the First Amendment protects indecent speech, it does not protect obscene speech.

For speech to be obscene it must:

  1. appeal to the prurient (sexually arousing) interest
  2. depict, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct
  3. lack serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value

Besides the fact that South Carolina's statute is overbroad because it does not define indecency as appealing to the prurient interest, one has to question whether truck nuts are even remotely sexually arousing.

Even Virginia Tice is likely to admit that truck nuts aren't exactly the most visually appealing things in the world.

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