For these major crimes, Olson faced a sentence of up to 13 years in prison, one year for each count of vandalism as well as a massive fine. The judge in the case, Howard Shore, who appears to be a real tool, would not allow the forty year old man to bring up freedom of speech or even mention the first amendment in his defense. He even instituted a gag order on all parties last week. Hey Joe Stalin, a funny thing happened on the way to the gulag...
Listen to this deal Olson was offered, according to the San Diego Reader:
On May 16, Hazard told Olson the City would drop the case if he agreed to serve 32-hours of community service, attend an 8-hour seminar by the "Corrective Behavior Institute," pay Bank of America $6,299 in restitution for the clean-up, waive all Fourth Amendment rights guarding against search and seizures, and surrender his driver's license for three year period."Waive his Fourth Amendment rights, are you kidding me!
The jury saw through it, acquitting Olson in about two hours.
"The jury sent a real strong message that the First Amendment is alive and well in San Diego," Olson said. "You have the freedom of speech, you should use it."What a ridiculous waste of taxpayer monies by San Diego City Attorney Jan Goldsmith. Who purportedly received campaign contributions from Bank of America and whose staff played a game of rather intimate footsie with Bank of America. The mayor, Bob Filner, has rightfully ridiculed the prosecution as excessive.
The judge and the City Attorney believe that it is a case of pure vandalism and refused to consider or hear about the first amendment. But the City Attorney said something interesting; that kids playing hopscotch around the city had nothing to worry about. It was only when the chalked words had political content that they became an issue. And that is precisely why it is a First Amendment issue.
Of course, Goldsmith is a bit selective in deciding who to go after. If you want to scribble with chalk and you have a pro life message, well have at it. From Dorian Hargrove at the Reader.
“It looks like we were prosecuting someone at the insistence of Bank of America for writing political issues. I mean, it’s chalk. It’s washable chalk. It’s political slogans. We are not even responding to public complaints. They were complaints from Bank of America. I think it’s a stupid case and is costing us money. If these are the types of cases the City Attorney is prosecuting then I am not sure he needs as much money in his budget as he says he does.”
San Diego Mayor Bob Filner
In other news, Yoga does not lead children to hinduism, at least according to San Diego Superior Court Judge John Meyer. It turned out that the plaintiffs, the Sedlocks, and their attorney Dean Broyles, didn't even have any standing, or any children in the classes. Just keep that filthy eastern religion out of our county...
My favorite thing that I heard was that the administrators had changed the name of the lotus pose to criss cross applesauce. Sounds pretty darn subversive to me.