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California man faces jail for writing anti bank messages in chalk on sidewalk outside BofA branches.

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A California man faces jail for writing anti-big bank messages in water soluble chalk on the sidewalk outside of Bank of America branches on National Bank Transfer Day. The messages included such incendiary statements as "Stop big banks," and "Stop Bank Blight.com." 

 

The Judge decided to prohibit the accused man's attorney from "mentioning the First Amendment, free speech, free expression, public forum, expressive conduct, or political speech during the trial."

 

See: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/25/jeff-olson-california-banks_n_3499177.html

 

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A California man faces jail for writing anti-big bank messages in water soluble chalk on the sidewalk outside of Bank of America branches on National Bank Transfer Day. The messages included such incendiary statements as "Stop big banks," and "Stop Bank Blight.com." 

 

The Judge decided to prohibit the accused man's attorney from "mentioning the First Amendment, free speech, free expression, public forum, expressive conduct, or political speech during the trial."

 

See: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/25/jeff-olson-california-banks_n_3499177.html

 

What was he charged with?  Damage to public or private property?  If so, then yeah, free speech does not apply.  Free speech rights do not including stealing my printing press.  Holding a sign that had these words would have been a lot safer, along with staying on public property.

 

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Most bank properties are leased so it can be argued that the bank lacks standing, However they have fined little kids for using sidewalk chalk so I am on the fence about this. I am curious to see how this plays out. Holding a sign is good making a flag is better.

wearing a tshirt with the message also better. getting 5000 friend to walk around the bank Gamora Style chanting anti bank slogans most effective.

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For what I could grasp over what they write on the internet (not first hand accounts so not really accurate of at all), it seems he used some kind of glass chalk on the glass of bank of America branches. Ok I'm not a lover of BoA, but if that was the case there is damage to the property, agreed not serious with a pressure washer or just a regular hose it's gone, the 13 years is for each graffiti it appears he did 13 branches, and most likely he will face a fine or something in that nature, not 13 years, but there's no sentence yet. I agree it's too much for a washable chalk graffiti to end on all these, but I also agree that he shouldn't have done it on private property, I mean I might dislike my mother in law but that doesn't give me the right to go and do a washable graffiti on her house cause I got freedom of speech, there's a limit on what I can do.

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Most bank properties are leased so it can be argued that the bank lacks standing, However they have fined little kids for using sidewalk chalk so I am on the fence about this. I am curious to see how this plays out. Holding a sign is good making a flag is better.

wearing a tshirt with the message also better. getting 5000 friend to walk around the bank Gamora Style chanting anti bank slogans most effective.

Standing really isn't germaine here. This is a criminal case that the San Diego DA's office is bringing. It's not BOA's decision.

As you 2 point out, a lot of ways to make a statement without resorting to vandalism. I hope he gets some jail time and is accessed the costs involved in the cleanup.

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I hope he gets jail time to draw the mainstream media into the discussion. He would really help accomplish what he wanted to do if he did that. Soap on a rope mandatory though.

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Please know my comment "The messages included such incendiary statements as "Stop big banks," and "Stop Bank Blight.com" was meant to be purely sarcastic. Hardly incendiary comments. The individual did not write on the bank's glass, or on private property, but on a city owned sidewalk using water soluble chalk. The "damage" could have been (and probably was) erased with a hose and water.  Jail time for this? Really?  

 

This same bank has committed massive fraud on the American public for the last decade, and was a primary bad actor in almost destroying our economy. Not a single executive at BofA was charged with criminal violations or went to jail, and this guy should go to prison for using chalk on a sidewalk? Give me a break.  

 

The only reason the City of San Diego pressed charges was due to the overzealous pursuit by their Chief of Security, and the bank's vengence for being shown up. 

 

Update:  In San Diego's BofA case, chalk one up for the jury system

 

See:  http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/opinion-la/la-ol-san-diego-chalk-trial-20130702,0,7084724.story

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I agree 100% that Bank of America is in the big black list of companies that should disappear for the well being of the nation.

 

As I stated before for what I read on the internet and for sure not accurate info, it seemed it was on the glass of the building, I guess those post where wrong that I also knew it could be the case. If it was in public property these case the side walk, then is a whole different story cause is not longer private property and many laws don't trigger on public property. Chalk on a public property is not vandalism, my kids many times went and play with chalk to the local playground and on my neighborhood street, if these man was fined/arrested for that then I guess I would have to turn in my kids ... 

 

Anyways I'm happen it caught the media attention, his chulk thingy is now well known!

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At first glance, I don't see a constitutional issue here at all. He is charged with vandalism, probably Cal. Penal Code 594.

 

If the statute he allegedly violated is actually intended to prevent damage or destruction to property, and not to silence constitutionally protected speech, the 1st Amendment argument isn't going to stick. I understand the guy's frustration but if he wants to protest he needs to express himself in a way that is constitutionally protected.

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The basic principle is "you don't get to steal my printing press to have your freedom of the press".

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WTF California. No wonder people are leaving in droves.

According to the city attorney, this was a fair plea bargin:

  1. 3 years probation
  2. 32 hours community service
  3. 8 hour seminar
  4. Restitution in the tune of $6300
  5. Lost of drivers license for 3 years
  6. Loss of 4 amendment rights for 3 years

Just at number 6, I would have told the city attorney up yours and went for a Jury Trial. If someone will take away my right like that for simple graffiti, it will be my peers, not some overzealous DA.

The DA then has the nerve to say that this was a fair deal and the defendant wasted the courts time and money with a jury trial? We all know that you should never bring a case to trial if there is a possibility you might lose. This DA might have been wise to remember that and had offered a decent plea deal.

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It was a bargain for the prosecutor of course! I don't get to work, and you just get screwed, who in is his right mind will accept those terms for chalking the side walk, is public property, if he get's convicted kids should be herded into jail early afterwards, I mean there's plenty of people that do chalk in public property including myself, I might not do an anti bank raid, but it's still the same thing, maybe Florida prosecutor will not give me such a deal but well. Seriously? if the jury didn't do a great job like these one then you'll need to call 911 every time you see a kid using chalk on public property, is a joke.

 

And I don't get the 6300 fine, theoretically BofA put his CEO to clean the street and spend 6000, on using a hose, but it was really public property so they do not have to clean it, nor should they be allowed to charge for a public service, my guess is the prosecutor got some kind of friendship with BofA. Do they have a contract with the city that allows them to bill for cleaning public property? I'm sure they don't so they can't charge that.

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While in my mind this man was definitely guilty of vandalism (so I disagree with the jury), I also believe the prosecutor's offer was just insanity.  WTF does a driver's license have to do with vandalism?  The First Amendment is a right, although technically unrelated ... so they separated.  But the prosecutor joins completely separate things in the plea offer, including amendment rights?  How hypocritical.  I'd say we have a case of a stupid prosecutor who needs to be removed.  So even though I would rather have had this guy spend a couple months in jail, and work his jail time cleaning graffiti, because of the prosecutor's stupidity, I'm actually glad the jury let him off, this time.

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While in my mind this man was definitely guilty of vandalism (so I disagree with the jury), I also believe the prosecutor's offer was just insanity.  WTF does a driver's license have to do with vandalism?  The First Amendment is a right, although technically unrelated ... so they separated.  But the prosecutor joins completely separate things in the plea offer, including amendment rights?  How hypocritical.  I'd say we have a case of a stupid prosecutor who needs to be removed.  So even though I would rather have had this guy spend a couple months in jail, and work his jail time cleaning graffiti, because of the prosecutor's stupidity, I'm actually glad the jury let him off, this time.

+1

I had in mind a few weekends in jail picking up trash and restitution to pay for cleanup.

This was ridiculous. How can a DL be linked to this?

Whatever judical oversight board or committee that is available in Ca. needs to review this DA's work.

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I think what we saw here is a case of jury nullification. The judge tried to avoid that by putting a gag order on the case but apparently it did not work.

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To me lately it seems that prosecutors are on a kick for pressing charges over nothing at all. A little girl in the county next to mine was taken to detention for not having a permit for her lemonade stand, the prosecutor is seeking 2 years in juvy and a 5000 dollar fine for the parents. 

 

I think that some prosecutors are stepping out of their bounds on some issues.

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That's insane, maybe next time I do a Garage sale I go to jail .... but wait! I just file an affidavit of a JDB not licensed in Florida and they didn't prosecute them ...

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To me lately it seems that prosecutors are on a kick for pressing charges over nothing at all. A little girl in the county next to mine was taken to detention for not having a permit for her lemonade stand, the prosecutor is seeking 2 years in juvy and a 5000 dollar fine for the parents. 

 

I think that some prosecutors are stepping out of their bounds on some issues.

Seems not enough real crimes are being committed in that county to keep the prosecutors busy.

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To me lately it seems that prosecutors are on a kick for pressing charges over nothing at all. A little girl in the county next to mine was taken to detention for not having a permit for her lemonade stand, the prosecutor is seeking 2 years in juvy and a 5000 dollar fine for the parents. 

 

I think that some prosecutors are stepping out of their bounds on some issues.

 

This is an excellent case for jury nullification. See fija.org.  Hope nobody minds I posted that - I think it's something we should all be aware of.

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WTF California. No wonder people are leaving in droves.

According to the city attorney, this was a fair plea bargin:

  1. 3 years probation
  2. 32 hours community service
  3. 8 hour seminar
  4. Restitution in the tune of $6300
  5. Lost of drivers license for 3 years
  6. Loss of 4 amendment rights for 3 years

Just at number 6, I would have told the city attorney up yours and went for a Jury Trial. If someone will take away my right like that for simple graffiti, it will be my peers, not some overzealous DA.

The DA then has the nerve to say that this was a fair deal and the defendant wasted the courts time and money with a jury trial? We all know that you should never bring a case to trial if there is a possibility you might lose. This DA might have been wise to remember that and had offered a decent plea deal.

Loss of amendment rights? I do not know of any language in the constitution that gives the states or the feds the legal recourse to "TAKE AWAY YOUR RIGHTS"

 

The First Amendment guards these rights by prohibiting the government from denying citizens their rights.

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I was talking about the fact that one of the parts of the plea bargain was that the defendant would have been required to submit to the police being able to search him or his belongings at will without needing a warrant or any probable cause. I forgot the term they use in CA but it throws the 4th amendment right out the window and is enough for me to say no, I am going to trial.

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