Wednesday, September 2, 2015
Street Artist Heads to Trial in Detroit
District Judge Kenneth J. King conducted Fairey's preliminary examination. The exam included replaying the artist's various statements to the local media. In binding him over, the judge said that Fairey, although talented, cannot go around the Motor City tagging, and thus damaging, private property [abandoned buildings] without permission from the owner.
Makes sense, and we here at the Motor City Law Blog smell a conviction, but stories like this from the 313 are never that simple. Defense counsel asserted that what Fairey did was not malicious destruction of property but rather, "art".
Plenty would argue that creatively tagged abandoned buildings combat our urban blight and add to the gritty "culture" of the Motor City. Others would question the sense of exercising prosecutorial discretion in bringing such a high-profile case when the Wayne County Prosecutor's "murder unit" has a growing pile of unsolved homicides.
On the other hand, property is property, regardless of where situated and how poorly maintained. Our country is based on a set of laws designed to facilitate ownership of private property; that is central to our legal system and necessary for commerce.
Speaking of commerce, isn't it ironic that one of our local billionaires, Dan Gilbert, who has acquired an impressive collection of properties himself, commissioned Fairey for the mural -pictured- adorning his Bedrock Real Estate Services building.