San Diego’s Chalk Case: Not Guilty in all counts!

by on July 1, 2013 · 5 comments

in Civil Rights

Just minutes ago, a jury reached its verdict in San Diego’s infamous Chalk case: Not guilty of all counts!

Jeff Olson, accused of 13 counts of vandalism for drawing messages about Bank of America with water-soluble chalk , is free to go.

Olson had been brought to trial by San Diego City Attorney Jan Goldsmith.  Judge Herbert Shore – the trial judge – had issued a gag order for all parties and witnesses, which is unheard of for a misdemeanor case.  Judge Shore had also ruled that Olson could not raise First Amendment issues during the showdown in court.

This was the case that had drawn national attention, where Mayor Bob Filner had stated to the media on Friday, June28, that he believed that the city attorney’s prosecution of a protester for chalking anti-bank slogans on city sidewalks outside Bank of America branches is “a stupid case” and a waste of city money.

Filner said:

  “It’s chalk. It’s water-soluble chalk. They were political slogans.”

 Goldsmith had prosecuted Olson for graffiti vandalism and had said that Courts have held that graffiti remains illegal even if it can be easily washed off.   Goldsmith said:

“We prosecute vandalism and theft cases regardless of who the perpetrator or victim might be. We don’t decide, for example, based upon whether we like or dislike banks. That would be wrong under the law.”

Goldsmith denied that there was any First Amendment issues in the case, as it “is a graffiti case and nothing more.”

This was the case during which the Bank of America had contacted the city attorney’s office to reportedly urge prosecution.

One message in chalk said: “No thanks, big banks.” Another, “Shame on Bank of America.”



{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar gailpowell July 1, 2013 at 1:52 pm

Jury nullification at it’s finest! There is hope after all for “justice” sometimes at the “Hall of Justice!”


avatar barbara July 1, 2013 at 1:57 pm

OMG! Yay! Celebrations are in order!


avatar Michael Valentine July 1, 2013 at 4:20 pm

Jan Goldsmith is a tool of the .01%. I can’t wait to vote him out of office.


avatar Frances O'Neill Zimmerman July 1, 2013 at 6:21 pm

City Attorney Jan Goldsmith who brought this case to trial will never be able to live it down. Prosecute a Bank of America sidewalk chalker/protester from Occupy? Have the judge forbid mentioning “free speech” or “First Amendment” rights? Put a gag order on everybody? Goldsmith lacks both common sense and political sense and probably should resign.


avatar jim grant July 2, 2013 at 11:15 am

CHALK one up for common sense..


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