philaw

Comments by philaw

Chalking the plank: Judge won't allow bank protester to claim first amendment rights

just graduated law school out here in syracuse, ny and saw this story from a friend on facebook. here's the email i sent them and their horseshit response: Dear Mr. Goldsmith, I recently became aware of this case, and while I am not a resident of San Diego, my mother, two sisters, and nephew are, and I am appalled that this prosecution is taking place. I ask that your office drop these charges against Mr. Olson immediately for the sake of fairness and justice, and to preserve the dignity of our profession. Best, James Marvel STATEMENT FROM CITY ATTORNEY'S OFFICE ON PEOPLE V. OLSON (GRAFFITI CASE) 1. This is a graffiti case where the defendant is alleged to have engaged in the conduct on 13 different occasions. The trial judge has already held that, under California law, it is still graffiti even if the material can be removed with water. Most graffiti can be removed. Also, the judge and a different pre-trial judge held that the First Amendment is not a defense to vandalism/graffiti. 2. The defense is trying to make this case into a political statement, which it is not. This is just one of some 20,000 criminal cases that are referred to us annually by the police department. We have prosecutors who decide whether to issue cases. They are professionals. The City Attorney was not involved in deciding whether to issue this case as is typical practice in prosecution offices for most cases. He hadn't heard of this case until it was in the media. 3. The defense is whipping up hysteria about the prospect of 13 years in custody. This is not a 13 year custody case. It is a standard graffiti case compounded by the fact that the defendant is alleged to have done it on 13 separate occasions. Because there were 13 different occasions when the defendant allegedly engaged in the conduct, the law requires them to be set out separately in the complaint. This increases the maximum sentence, but it still is a graffiti case and nothing more. The courts routinely hear graffiti cases and handle them appropriately using judicial discretion. 4. It is not unusual for victims to contact police or prosecutors about a case. Our prosecutors are trained to focus only on their ethical standards in deciding whether to file a case. 5. We prosecute vandalism and theft cases regardless of who the perpetrator or victim might be. We don't decide, for example, based upon whether we like or dislike banks. That would be wrong under the law and such a practice by law enforcement would change our society in very damaging ways. Thank you
— June 26, 2013 4:28 p.m.

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