Judge prevents the mention of "the First Amendment, free speech" during trail

MalcomOopsGotShot

White House Spokesperson
May 23, 2013
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FBI Surveillance Van down the street
#1
http://rt.com/usa/california-man-13-prison-banks-237/
California man faces 13 years in jail for scribbling anti-bank messages in chalk




Jeff Olson, the 40-year-old man who is being prosecuted for scrawling anti-megabank messages on sidewalks in water-soluble chalk last year now faces a 13-year jail sentence. A judge has barred his attorney from mentioning freedom of speech during trial.

According to the San Diego Reader, which reported on Tuesday that a judge had opted to prevent Olson’s attorney from "mentioning the First Amendment, free speech, free expression, public forum, expressive conduct, or political speech during the trial,” Olson must now stand trial for on 13 counts of vandalism.

In addition to possibly spending years in jail, Olson will also be held liable for fines of up to $13,000 over the anti-big-bank slogans that were left using washable children's chalk on a sidewalk outside of three San Diego, California branches of Bank of America, the massive conglomerate that received $45 billion in interest-free loans from the US government in 2008-2009 in a bid to keep it solvent after bad bets went south.

The Reader reports that Olson’s hearing had gone as poorly as his attorney might have expected, with Judge Howard Shore, who is presiding over the case, granting Deputy City Attorney Paige Hazard's motion to prohibit attorney Tom Tosdal from mentioning the United States' fundamental First Amendment rights.

"The State's Vandalism Statute does not mention First Amendment rights," ruled Judge Shore on Tuesday.
Upon exiting the courtroom Olson seemed to be in disbelief.

"Oh my gosh," he said. "I can't believe this is happening."

Tosdal, who exited the courtroom shortly after his client, seemed equally bewildered.

"I've never heard that before, that a court can prohibit an argument of First Amendment rights," said Tosdal.
Olson, who worked as a former staffer for a US Senator from Washington state, was said to involve himself in political activism in tandem with the growth of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

On October 3, 2011, Olson first appeared outside of a Bank of America branch in San Diego, along with a homemade sign. Eight days later Olson and his partner, Stephen Daniels, during preparations for National Bank Transfer Day, the two were confronted by Darell Freeman, the Vice President of Bank of America’s Global Corporate Security.

A former police officer, Freeman accused Olson and Daniels of “running a business outside of the bank,” evidently in reference to the National Bank Transfer Day activities, which was a consumer activism initiative that sought to promote Americans to switch from commercial banks, like Bank of America, to not-for-profit credit unions.

At the time, Bank of America’s debit card fees were among one of the triggers that led Occupy Wall Street members to promote the transfer day.

"It was just an empty threat," says Olson of Freeman’s accusations. "He was trying to scare me away. To be honest, it did at first. I even called my bank and they said he couldn't do anything like that."

Olson continued to protest outside of Bank of America. In February 2012, he came across a box of chalk at a local pharmacy and decided to begin leaving his mark with written statements.

"I thought it was a perfect way to get my message out there. Much better than handing out leaflets or holding a sign," says Olson.

Over the course of the next six months Olson visited the Bank of America branch a few days per week, leaving behind scribbled slogans such as "Stop big banks" and "Stop Bank Blight.com."

According to Olson, who spoke with local broadcaster KGTV, one Bank of America branch claimed it had cost $6,000 to clean up the chalk writing.

Public records obtained by the Reader show that Freeman continued to pressure members of San Diego’s Gang Unit on behalf of Bank of America until the matter was forwarded to the City Attorney’s office.

On April 15, Deputy City Attorney Paige Hazard contacted Freeman with a response on his persistent queries.
"I wanted to let you know that we will be filing 13 counts of vandalism as a result of the incidents you reported," said Hazard.

Arguments for Olson’s case are set to be heard Wednesday morning, following jury selection.
 

BIV

I'm Biv Dick Black, the Over Poster.
Apr 22, 2002
79,197
27,688
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Seattle
#2
Judge prevents the mention of "the First Amendment, free speech" during trail
Strict rules in our national parks these days.
 

Your_Moms_Box

Free Shit / Socialism 2016
Dec 20, 2004
5,755
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628
Dover, Delaware
#3
Must be nice to win your appeal on the first day of your original trial.

Sent from my Samsung Galaxy S3 using Tapatalk
 

CougarHunter

Lying causes cat piss smell.
Mar 2, 2006
10,598
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KC Metro
#4
Must be nice to win your appeal on the first day of your original trial.

Sent from my Samsung Galaxy S3 using Tapatalk

This.

I'd do it in open court anyway, and say it was my first amendment right to do so.
 

gleet

What's black and white and red all over?
Jul 24, 2005
22,541
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Idaho
#6
Jul 2, 9:40 AM EDT

San Diego jury erases 'stupid' chalk charges
By ELLIOT SPAGAT
Associated Press
US Video

Buy AP Photo Reprints

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- The mayor called the case "stupid" and a jury swiftly said it shouldn't stick, taking the eraser to vandalism charges for a man who wrote anti-bank slogans on San Diego sidewalks.
A Superior Court jury deliberated for five hours after a four-day trial before acquitting Jeff Olson Monday of the 13 misdemeanor charges that could have brought 13 years in jail and $13,000 in fines.
Olson, 40, was charged with scrawling messages like "Shame on B of A" and `'No thanks, big banks" in water-soluble chalk on sidewalks outside San Diego Bank of America branches from April to August 2012. He included a drawing of an octopus reaching for dollar bills.
Olson turned to his attorney, nodded and smiled as the verdicts were read.
The trial was the latest in a series of dustups between City Attorney Jan Goldsmith, who prosecuted the case, and Mayor Bob Filner, who called it a "nonsense prosecution" that came in response to complaints from Bank of America.
"It's washable chalk, it's political slogans," Filner said last week. "I think it's a stupid case. It's costing us money."
Jail time is highly unusual for graffiti convictions, which typically result in fines or community service.
The city attorney's office said it offered to reduce the charges if Olson agreed to perform community service by cleaning up graffiti, but he refused. The office said the case was referred by the police department.
"Graffiti remains vandalism in the state of California," the city attorney's office said. "Under the law, there is no First Amendment right to deface property, even if the writing is easily removed, whether the message is aimed at banks or any other person or group. We are, however, sympathetic to the strong public reaction to this case and the jury's message."
The judge, who imposed a gag order on participants during the trial, refused to allow Olson's attorney to argue that the messages were constitutionally protected free speech. Instead, the attorney argued the messages caused no damage and were not malicious.
Olson, who was inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement, said he was relieved by the outcome and that the prosecution brought more attention to his views than he ever imagined possible.
"I couldn't have done better if I rented an airplane with a banner and put billboards up all over town," he said.
 

gleet

What's black and white and red all over?
Jul 24, 2005
22,541
13,853
608
Idaho
#8
Go fuck yourself, you hacky piece of shit.
Should this hurt my feelings or was I caught in a violent crossfire? Because I pride myself in my hackiness don't you know.
 
Jun 30, 2005
10,852
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outsiddah Boston
#15
So according to their reasoning in bringing charges they would prosecute someone for writing on dry cement with water...or for stamping a message in snow with footprints...asshats