San Diego jury acquits on anti-bank chalk-art, thumbs nose at City Atty's 13 year jail threat

When Jeff Olson used chalk to draw an octopus whose tentacles were full of money, and to write “No thanks, big banks,” and “Shame on Bank of America,” on a San Diego sidewalk, Bank of America complained to the Republican City Atty. Jan Goldsmith. Goldsmith threw the book at him, charging him with misdemeanor vandalism… READ THE REST

Somehow, we have to come up with a term for overzealous application of laws. This case reminded me of blowing bubbles at a police officer = assault.

Glad at least sensible heads prevailed here.

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

“We are an unthinking and rule bound entity,” Goldsmith continued, "…incapable of foreseeing the consequences of our unmeasured and inhuman behaviour.

Pausing to wipe a single small tear from the corner of an eye she then continued, “The only language we understand is the harsh reciprocation of large monetary fines and departmental funding cuts, levied upon instances of our bad behaviour.”


This is a great example of why we have jury trials: they are a check on over zealous prosecution.


But the defendant, even when acquitted, generally goes through personal and financial hell. It would be nice to see prosecutors busted for malicious prosecution a lot more frequently, pour decourager les autres.


Shows how some people in public office are willing to serve the monied and powerful against the common man.

I don’t disagree. The City Attorney of San Diego is an elected position and can be turned out by the voters.

An elected position? What a truly terrible idea.

Sheriffs are generally elected, too. Thus malicious law enforcement to pander to the voters by being “tough on crime”.

I live here in San Diego, and was going to be a sheriff, they are not elected but are used for corrections facilities. they go through all the same police academy crap and then have to work mostly in jails unless in a rural area where they can be elected sheriff but it has to be unincorporated as far as i can remember

SF and LA have elected Sheriffs.

What you thinking of is Sheriff as in head of the sheriff’s department akin to police commissioner those yes are elected, however the rest of the people in beige and black sheriff on the arm and back or correction officers. not beat cops however they can and will be called to large scale raids and operations where a large amount of prisoners are going to be captured or as i said in an unincorporated county that is low on man power

Yes, that’s a Sheriff. All those other ladies and gentlemen in uniform are Deputy Sheriffs. The Sheriff sets the policy and tone for the whole Sheriff’s Department.

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