Friday, January 05, 2007

Charging graffiti as a state jail felony?

Here's an example of prosecutorial overkill: In Fort Bend, three "taggers" were charged with state jail felonies for allegedly spray painting graffiti at more than 1,300 spots in southeast and central Texas over the last two years. "Property damage to buildings, vehicles, bridges, signs and other public areas was enough to qualify the offenses as state jail felonies," reported the Fort Bend Herald on December 15.

Felony graffiti? There must be better ways to deal with this problem than punishing it as a felony?

A state jail felony is a two-year sentence with no possibility of parole - does Texas really need to be spending its scarce incarceration dollars on graffiti artists?

11 comments:

123txpublicdefender123 said...

At least in Texas, it takes $1500 worth of damage for vandalism to be a felony. Here in Washington, it only takes $250. Any kid who breaks a car windshield gets tagged with felony charges.

Anonymous said...

Once again, Grits, you slam something and leave us wondering what you think we should do. What's your solution? You tag my Suburban, I want your ass in jail!

Don't you think that crimes are classified for deterrent purposes as well as punishment?

I do agree with you on the drug law stuff, but sometimes I wonder what crimes you think actually deserve prison time. Murder? Okay. Unless of course it was a cop who was killed. In that case he deserved it. Child molesters? well no, they're mentally disturbed and just need society's love and a good bout of counseling.

C'mon Grits. Tell us how you would solve this problem.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

These kids committed this particular criminal act 1,300 times before they were caught - my guess, quicker enforcement would be a bigger "deterrent" even if they were only charged with misdemeanors. That'd be a start. A 2 year jail stint doesn't help stop graffiti nearly as much as simply identifying and arresting the taggers in the first place.

As for the rest, you write, "sometimes I wonder what crimes you think actually deserve prison time Murder? Okay. Unless of course it was a cop who was killed. In that case he deserved it." Cheap shot and a lie. What an asshole - no wonder you're anonymous!

"Child molesters? well no, they're mentally disturbed and just need society's love and a good bout of counseling." Nobody ever said that, I have only argued that if you give them the death penalty as opposed to lengthy sentences you'll decrease crime reporting by family members and increase the likelihood victims are killed. It's true, btw.

Anyway, this post was about graffiti, and all of a sudden we're to murder and child molestation? (The link in the story, btw, suggested two alternative approaches to graffiti.)

You've never seen me argue against stiff sentences for violent criminals on this blog, ever. OTOH, nonviolent crimes like graffiti, no, don't deserve stiff prison time.

Anonymous said...

With global warming, IMO driving a suburban should be punished as harsh as tagging! Or maybe that's just an inconvenient truth.

Anonymous said...

{sarcasm on}

Wait until they're doing it at night, then shoot them.

After all, Texas law says that you can use deadly force to protect your property at night. A few dead taggers would be the best deterrent.

I can think of four or five such cases where the politically-insulating no-bill validated the DA's decision not to charge such vigilante crimes in San Antonio.

In one particular case the tagger was using sidewalk chalk!

800 pound gorilla said...

With your luck [kharma?] you'd shoot a kid with rich parents who accidentally broke a tail light and was leaving a message for you to contact his family for compensation. The "shoot first and ask questions later" sounds so macho - but it only works in cinema. OK, so it backfires there too. And yes, if you shoot some rich, mostly innocent kid, you will face some serious consequences. Manslaughter or wrongful death could be one of them. If the kid is poor and still leaves contact number you will get away scott free. Prosecutors see little return in prosecuting on behalf of lower income people wrongfully killed.

Dirty 3rd said...

Go get 'em, Grits.

Anonymous said...

Odds r they wouldnt be taggin ur car,unless they had beef with u! Wich n that case their probally gangbangers & probally would have a couple guns their selfs. So you may get shot b4 u get the chance to shoot them! Or say their not bangers & u miss & hit ur car instead & they get away. How stupid would you feel,now ur payin for more than graff to get removed from ur car. YOU GOT A BRAIN??? IF SO FUCKIN USE IT!!!

Anonymous said...

1,300 counts!! should be considered a felony. 5 counts...thats another story,right.

fuzzylemondrop said...

People do make mistakes and people also get wrongfully accused and after being even charged with a felony,convicted or not,it will haunt you for the rest of your life. It can destroy the lives of innocent people. The system will make and has made honest persons dishonest.

Anonymous said...

I received a state jail felony in Texas at the age of 17 for spray painting my school and was sentenced to 8 months in Bradshaw state jail. I committed the crime with 3 others who received misdemeanors because one's father was a sheriff for the same county the other was the 2 time state champion winning soccer coaches son for the same town and the other turned the principals son...I now have a felony and I'm 23 years old. I made one stupid choice..but that's not all I was charged for, I was charged for throwing a brick through a church window, a local business spray painting a graveyard and pouring oil in the symbol of an anarchy sign...yet all I honestly did was spray paint the school. Later about a year and a half ago they told me they did those other things but didnt want a felony so their lawyers (who they had money to pay for) bid against me which I understand...but because that's the law in Texas, and I didnt have money for a lawyer I cannot go to medical school but those who did worse than me and lied about it can If they choose...because that's the law because they had lawyers not just a court appointed one that treats you like a pawn in a one day game of theirs with the prosecution. Plus as a side note I was the salutatorian of my class..and if you would shoot a kid that spray paints ANYTHING of yours you yourself needs to be shot..be a fucking human/adult and make him clean it up, let his parents know etc...