Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Street Artist Heads to Trial in Detroit

Last May, famed street artist Shepard Fairey, in Detroit to complete commissioned artwork, was asked by a reporter whether he planned to leave his mark on the Motor City. His response -keep your eyes peeled- came back to haunt him the other day in the 36th District Court when he was bound over to the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice for a felony trial.

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.

1 comment:

  1. I wouldn't recommend timothy Flynn aka Clarkston legal for anything criminal or traffic related. I used Tim for A traffic misdemeanor Reckless driving. He was always soliciting business in a liquor store I worked in so I hired him due to his knit ties to the court. In my case i passed a car to avoid an accident in a non pass zone I was chased by an unmarked silver minivan with no markings on the car or flashing lights by an off duty police officer beeping his horn And I was threatened. I immediately hired Timothy P Flynn and Tim encouraged me to take a bench trial. I was looking For emotion from the jury because I'm still getting flashbacks today. I was really feeling uneasy with having a bench trial but timothy told me it would be fine and i trusted him because he was a customer in the store i worked in. I also wanted to file a complaint with the police department and he encouraged me not too?? Tim also didn't order a video of the officers that arrived on the seen which was important to my case! Tim implied that his ties to the court would make it a sure win (a fictitious trial) and jury trials are 50/50 at best. I trusted him I was vulnerable. He gave me the perception that if I waived a jury trial I could get one later if we don't do well. He he led me to believe we could talk about it at the judge and prosecutors houses. He told me in the end to take a plea (careless driving). I made it clear in the beginning I would not. I told him once again I expect a jury trial and hes going to pay me financially if I lost if he wishes to continue in efforts to get him to resign. He wasn't sincere with the situation and he didn't genuinely care. It was more of a game he was playing to manipulate me to plea bargain. After a brief argument he said fine when I told him my expectations. Before we entered the court I witnessed tim Shake the very same officers hand the same officer that threatens my life and tells me he owns Oakland County and that I was a punk kid that I don't have a car it's your moms car and if he ever sees me again he will arrest me. the officer said don't expect the prosecutor to offer a deal because i'm a punk kid. It was used against me by the prosecutor in trial that I didn't report it to the police department when I followed Tim P Flynn's poor advice. I should have fired him then and their when I witnessed him shake the officers hand and I should have asked for A new attorney and a jury trial. If the trial was fake why did the prosecutor cross examine me? He was supposed to rest the prosecution! I'm sorry I ever met him at all. It obviously says a lot about an attorney who supports this kind of police brutality!!! I thought he was a nice man for charging $500 but now I know his only intention was to McDonald's it!