in World News

Man facing 13 years in prison for criticizing banks; judge bars any mention of First Amendment in his defense









NaturalNews) “Insanity” is a term that best describes the large and growing  American Nanny State, but there are varying degrees of insanity within it. For  example, Nanny State insanity is compounded in states – say, California for  instance – where unrestrained progressive liberalism has so influenced the  lawmaking process that it completely confounds reasoned outside  observers.
Take the case of San Diego resident Jeff Olson: He is  currently being prosecuted for writing anti-big bank messages on sidewalks in  chalk. If convicted, according to the San Diego Reader, he faces an astounding 13 years in  jail for what is essentially the exercise of his First Amendment  rights.
Meanwhile, southern California remains a portal for illegal  immigrants, who are set to become our country’s newest citizens if Congress,  President Obama and big business interests get their way.

San Diego is a First Amendment-free zone

According to the  Reader:
The First Amendment has no place in Superior Court Judge  Howard M. Shore’s courtroom, not when it comes to vandalism with water soluble  chalk. …
On one side sat Jeff Olson, the 40-year-old political activist  who protested against the bailout of the big banks early last year. On the other  side was Deputy City Attorney Paige Hazard and law student and city attorney  employee William Tanoury…
Judge Shore granted Hazard’s motion to  prohibit Olson’s attorney Tom Tosdal from mentioning the First  Amendment, free speech, free expression, public forum, expressive conduct,  or political speech during the trial.

“The State’s Vandalism  Statute does not mention First Amendment rights,” Shore lectured.
No, but  the U.S. Constitution does, though apparently Shore believes state law trumps  that.
“Oh my gosh,” an exasperated – and worried – Olson said, exiting  the courtroom, according to the Reader. “I can’t believe this is  happening.”
Neither can Tosdal, who said, “I’ve never heard that before,  that a court can prohibit an argument of First Amendment rights.”
Olson  faces 13 counts of vandalism which carry a potential 13-year jail term and a  $13,000 fine, if convicted.
In an interview with San Diego’s ABC affiliate, KGTV, Olson – a former staffer for a U.S. senator from  Washington state – said, “Free speech is protected; just because you don’t like  what it says doesn’t mean that you can’t do it. If I had drawn a little girl’s  hopscotch squares on the street, we wouldn’t be here today.”
According to  various reports Olson became involved in political activism and took up with the  Occupy Wall Street movement, which sparked his chalk campaign in  2011.
“During one protest outside of a Bank of America branch, they drew  the ire of Darell Freeman, vice president of Bank of America’s Global Corporate  Security, who accused them of running a business with their demonstration,” the  Huffington Post reported.

Some chalk uses in public okay

Olson then began to show his  opposition to big banks by using chalk drawings outside various Bank of  America branches. His actions were apparently captured by bank security  cameras; eventually his actions earned him a call from San Diego’s Gang Unit in  August 2012, when he stopped using chalk to protest.
The Reader said  Freeman continued to pressure city attorneys to charge Olson; he finally agreed  to do so in April.
City attorney Hazard believes that some public uses of  chalk are okay – just not Olson’s use.
“The People do not fear that this  reading of [the appropriate vandalism statute] will make criminals of every  child using chalk,” wrote in court documents filed in the case. “Chalk festivals  may still be permitted. Kids acting without malice may still engage in their  art. Circumventing the rules, without permission, under the color of night, and  now waiving a banner of the First Amendment, does not negate the fact that  defacement occurred, a private business suffered real and substantial monetary  damages, and Defendant is responsible.”
All hail, the Nanny State –  deciding what is right and what is wrong for us, the lowly subjects. Welcome to  post-constitutional America, where statism is the new religion.
Learn more: