Common sense and sanity prevailed - perhaps unexpectedly - in San Diego today. Now Bank of America can go back to defrauding America the old fashioned way, instead of demanding that the courts do their dirty work for them.
A 40-year-old man was acquitted Monday of 13 misdemeanor vandalism charges that stemmed from protest messages written in chalk in front of three Bank of America branches in San Diego. Jeffrey David Olson's attorney argued during the trial -- which garnered national attention -- that his client was engaging in a legal protest and was not maliciously defacing of property.The case made headlines and got lots of attention here on Daily Kos and in other blogs because of the ridiculousness of the possible penalty in contrast to the alleged "crime" of writing messages in easily removable chalk.
Olson could have faced up to 13 years behind bars if convicted of all counts. Jurors began deliberating Friday.Apparently the jury decided that Olsen wasn't being malicious, whereas the statute says that the action must be so, and that makes good sense:
Defense attorney Tom Tosdal argued that vandalism law required jurors to find something was "maliciously defaced." "His purpose was not malicious. His purpose was to inform," Tosdal said of his client.And here's the sweet part...
The prosecution of Olson brought condemnation of the City Attorney's Office from Mayor Bob Filner, who called it a waste of time.Unlike certain mayors who will not be named in Oakland and New York City, perhaps there is at least one sane one in these United States who doesn't think his or her City should be prosecuting peaceful protesters.