July 24, 2007
Albany -- Dougherty County Sheriff Jamil Saba says a lot of people are driving around with offensive bumper stickers on their cars. The sheriff says he wants to ticket the drivers of those cars, but it turns out having a lewd sticker on your car isn't illegal.
Michael Blaylock has one of the Calvin and Hobbs character emblems on his truck window, enacting Tony Stewart disrespecting Jeff Gordon's number 24. Blaylock said "Tony Stewart is my favorite driver, and I don't like Jeff Gordon. That's why I put it on there". Do you think it's offensive? "No I don't."
Dougherty County Sheriff Jamil Saba said he thinks those emblems are inappropriate for children, and found Code OCGA 40-I-4, that says "no motor vehicle in the state can have any sticker, decal, or emblem....that is lewd or profane, describes sexual acts, excretory functions, or parts of the human body."
But that law was ruled unconstitutional by the Georgia Supreme Court in 1991, saying it violated freedom of speech. But the code was not taken off Georgia law listings that law enforcement use. Saba warned drivers in his newspaper column Tuesday that his deputies would ticket drivers with offensive decals, but now has rescinded that order after finding the change in law.
Speed Shop and Truck Accessories in Albany has many different versions of questionable decals, but say they have sold very few lately. And they say they understand the Sheriff's point. Speed Shop Manager Ronnie Bowden said "some stuff can get out of hand. There are a few thinks that are not all that great. Should we have it on our back? No, I've got kids, and I don't necessarily want them seeing them."
Blaylock says he thinks the decals are funny, not offensive. Blaylock said "no, this ain't nothing big. It don't make no sense."
And the Georgia Supreme Court says he does not have to take them off his truck.