California Man Chalks Up A Victory For Free Speech In Bank Of America Case

JONATHAN TURLEY

220px-Chalkimages-1We previously discussed the case of Jeff Olson, Chalk Menace. Olson, 40, was charged with an excessive 13 counts for writing a protest on the sidewalk in front of a Bank of America location. A former aide to the U.S. Senator from Washington, Olson used water-soluble statements like “Stop big banks,” and “Stop Bank Blight.com” outside Bank of America branches last year to protest the company’s practices. The bank’s security contractor (a former police officer) demanded charges from the police and prosecutor who hit the protester with charges that would have allowed 13 years in prison. After Olson was dragged into court, the judge barred him from even mentioned terms like “free speech” or “the first amendment.” I am happy to report that a California jury made quick work of this excessive prosecution and acquitted Olson. It appears that, even with the gag of the court, the jurors could recognize…

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