case of Jeff Olson who is being prosecuted for chalking
anti-Bank of America graffiti on the public sidewalks in front
three branches of the mega-bank in San Diego. From Reuters:
Jeff Olson, the 40-year-old man who is being prosecuted forApparently, Olson's protests against the bank pissed off a local
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
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.
cop who managed to get the city prosecutor's office to gin up
"vandalism" charges against him. Read the whole story here.
If after reading the whole story you'd like to express your
opinions to the San Diego prosecutors' office, consider using this
handy email: email@example.com.
Disclosure: The illustration is from the
Freedom of Speech Wall in Charlottesville where I spend most of
my time. My wife is a financial advisor for Merrill Lynch which is
owned by Bank of America.