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Jury Deliberations Begin In Sidewalk Chalk Vandalism Case

Jury deliberations began Friday in the trial of a 40-year-old man charged with 13 misdemeanor vandalism counts involving protest messages in sidewalk chalk in front of three Bank of America branches in San Diego.

Wikimedia Commons

Colorful sticks of sidewalk chalk.

The case, which has received national attention, pits the rights of someone to protest in public against repeated impositions on bank personnel. Jeffrey David Olson faces 13 years in prison if convicted of all counts, and if he's sentenced on each one consecutively.

His lawyer, Tom Tosdal, said vandalism law requires that jurors find something was "maliciously defaced.''

"His purpose was not malicious. His purpose was to inform,'' Tosdal said of his client.

Olson has not denied that he scrawled anti-bank messages and artwork outside the banks last year.

The prosecution of Olson has brought condemnation of the City Attorney's Office from Mayor Bob Filner, who called it a waste of time.

Tosdal said it was an "enormous waste of public resources.'' He said bank officials demanded the prosecution because they didn't like his client's message.

However, Deputy City Attorney Paige Hazard told the jurors that there are ways to get one's message out, and the defendant intentionally chose to break the rules.

If he'd used the chalk just a couple of times, he wouldn't have ever been caught, but "he went back again and again and again,'' she said.

Hazard said Olson had to make "a real nuisance of himself'' to attract the attention of law enforcement.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | June 29, 2013 at 9:18 p.m. ― 3 years, 8 months ago

A crime has occurred here, and the person responsible should be vigorously prosecuted.

I'm not referring to the person who wrote on the sidewalk with chalk, I'm referring to the over zealous, politically motivated crook we have for a city attorney.

Mayor Filner is exactly right to call this. Waste of time.

13 years in prison for writing on a sidewalk with chalk!?


I sure as hell don't want my tax dollars going towards prosecuting and imprisoning someone who wrote on a sidewalk with chalk, and I would imagine most tax-payers agree.

Does the idiot Goldsmith also want to imprison 10 year old girls who play hop-scotch on San Diego sidewalks using chalk?

This is getting national attention.

Now the world can see what a moron the city attorney is!

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Avatar for user 'imominous'

imominous | June 30, 2013 at 9:01 a.m. ― 3 years, 8 months ago

Goldsmith needs to go.

Do you remember Ed Miller? The jerk who persecuted (yes I spelled it right) that poor guy Dale Akiki who was accused of child molestation by a bunch of brats at some church?

Remember how Miller dragged that on and refused to give up until the kiddies spun stories about Akiki torturing giraffes stolen from the zoo?

Oh, then Miller realized he'd stepped in it. He lost his job, nobody voted for his reelection.

Goldsmith reminds me of Ed Miller, wasting public resources and time pursuing something so stupid the rest of the world points and laughs.

I hope you enjoyed your brief stint of public service, Goldsmith. We will not invite you back for a second term.

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Avatar for user 'Mmikey'

Mmikey | June 30, 2013 at 9:32 a.m. ― 3 years, 8 months ago

Gold smith, Filner, et al. people with real lives don't run for office in order to control people.

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Avatar for user 'Len'

Len | June 30, 2013 at 10:51 a.m. ― 3 years, 8 months ago

A former B of A employee recently revealed how they were instructe4d to lie and mislead customers for loans, among other things. None of the CEOs of financial companies which committed illegalities contributing to the latest "bubble" crash has been prosecuted. Something is seriously wrong with Goldsmith's protecting banks from hurt feelings. San Diego needs more Filners and fewer Goldsmiths.

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Avatar for user 'Mmikey'

Mmikey | July 1, 2013 at 7:14 a.m. ― 3 years, 8 months ago

his connections as he was Chairman of the Banking and Finance Committee

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Avatar for user 'benz72'

benz72 | July 1, 2013 at 8:58 a.m. ― 3 years, 8 months ago

Why are people defending vandalism?
If we can't rely on the courts to give murderers maximum sentences it is unlikely we will jail this offender for 13 years. As long as he stops I don't care if he is put away for 13 hours.

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Avatar for user 'skopas'

skopas | July 1, 2013 at 10:15 a.m. ― 3 years, 8 months ago

Seriously, this guy is getting jail time for writing on bank walls with chalk..?? I understand you cant do this....but jail time..!

....give the dude some community work....with a min wage. He might like it.

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Avatar for user 'jsmappy'

jsmappy | July 2, 2013 at 5:11 a.m. ― 3 years, 8 months ago

It's called chalk - look it up brainiac

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