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    Artist's lawyer says 7 vandalism charges dismissed

    Date: 14 Apr 2009 | | Views: 2561

    Source: Boston Globe, by Lisa Poole

    Citing a lack of evidence, a Boston Municipal Court clerk-magistrate yesterday rejected some of the vandalism charges Boston police are trying to bring against celebrated graffiti artist Frank Shepard Fairey, Fairey's lawyer said.

    The clerk-magistrate said that seven of the 17 charges police wanted to bring against the Los Angeles-based artist should not go forward in criminal court because there is not enough proof he committed the acts of vandalism, said Fairey's lawyer, Jeffrey Wiesner.

    "The evidence has to be virtually nil for a clerk to do that," said Wiesner, who is based in Boston.

    But Fairey, 39, who gained acclaim for his "Hope" poster of Barack Obama, has not seen the last of Boston law enforcement officials. He still faces 17 other counts of vandalism.

    Today, he is to return to Boston Municipal Court to face the 10 other charges of vandalism.

    Wiesner said in court that Boston police are needlessly going after Fairey because stickers bearing his images have been posted on stop signs and guardrails throughout the city. Those stickers have been mass-produced, are sold on Amazon.com, and could have been posted by anyone, the lawyer said. The Institute of Contemporary Art, which is exhibiting Fairey's work, has distributed some of the stickers for free, Wiesner said.

    But prosecutors said that one of the charges stems from the Jan. 24 discovery of a 6-by-8 foot mural painted on a condominium on Massachusetts Avenue that took "time and knowledge."

    After the hearing, Fairey did not comment on the charges, but smiled wanly and offered this: "This is a fun process, I'll say that."

    About a dozen residents from Mission Hill and the Back Bay, neighborhoods plagued by graffiti, were in court yesterday to witness the proceedings.

    "We want the judge to know the community is here and wants something to happen, wants for this to be taken seriously," said Kathleen Alexander, cochairwoman of the Graffiti NABBers for the Neighborhood Association of the Back Bay.

    The residents also were in court yesterday to witness the appearance of another suspected graffiti artist, 27-year-old Danielle Bremner, who faces 34 counts of vandalism. She has been accused of spray painting her alleged tag - "Utah" - throughout the Back Bay during a six-month period between 2006 and 2007.

    Bremner, a slight, dark-haired woman, faces similar charges in New York City. She is scheduled to go to trial May 20 on the Boston charges.

    Bremner declined to comment. Asked if she wanted to meet Fairey, she smiled widely and said, "Not really. I'm good. Have a good one."

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