June 10, 2023

6 Months for UTAH?

When graffiti artist Shepard Fairey was arrested for vandalism in February, the charges sparked furious debate around Boston about the sometimes blurry line between art and crime.

From the Boston Globe:

Likely prison sentence for graffiti artist stokes debate
By Maria Cramer – Globe Staff / September 27, 2009

At about the same time, and with considerably less fanfare, another graffiti case was playing out in the courts. Danielle Bremner, a 24-year-old New Yorker, was charged with 13 counts of vandalism and defacing property for spray painting her moniker, UTAH in the Back Bay and East Boston.

Last week she pleaded guilty to the charges, and on Thursday she is expected to be sentenced to six months in jail, a sentence prosecutors said is extremely rare but just.

“In most cases we try to use finan cial restitution as a deterrent,’’ said Jake Wark, spokesman for Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley. “There are some cases, however, in which the damage is so extensive and so egregious that it requires incarceration. Financial deterrence simply is not enough sometimes.’’

But other attorneys and artists blasted the decision as draconian.

“I think it is really high time that our society rethink whether it’s humane to put a person in a cage for painting on a wall,’’ said Jeffrey Wiesner, a Boston lawyer who represented Fairey on his charges. “If someone is a danger, placing them in prison is justified, not when what they do is merely a nuisance.’’

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