Virginia Veteran Headed to Court Wednesday Over Controversial License Plate

Virginia DMV says personalized license plate encourages violence and is vulgar

Wednesday, Mar 13, 2013  |  Updated 8:01 AM EDT
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An Iraq war veteran and his attorney are headed to court Wednesday to argue that the DMV is violating his free-speech rights by attempting to cancel his personalized license plate.

Sean Bujno's plate reads "ICUHAJI," which can be read to say, "I see you, Haji."

Some Arab-Americans object to that phrase.

Bujno's attorney says the use of the word "Haji" is not intended as a slur. He says it simply refers to someone who has made a pilgrimage to Mecca, or the hajj. Bujno expanded the meaning to include soldiers who have served in Iraq, his attorney told The Virginian-Pilot last month.

A circuit court judge ruled last November that the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles couldn't deny the Chesapeake man's license on the basis that it denigrated individuals of a particular nationality.

The Virginian-Pilot reported last month that Bujno -- an Army sergeant honorably discharged in 2009 -- has displayed the plates on his car for more than four years before the DMV sent him a letter saying the plates had been revoked.

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