September 27, 2009

Graffiti artist draws 6-month sentence

Civil rights advocates and artists say a six-month jail sentence given to a Boston graffiti tagger is a draconian punishment.

Danielle Bremner, 24, of New York, drew the sentence in Suffolk County Superior Court last week after pleading guilty to 13 counts of vandalism and defacing property for spray painting her moniker, Utah, around East Boston and the city's Back Bay, The Boston Globe reported Sunday.

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, Boston lawyer Jeffrey Wiesner, who has represented another charged graffiti artist, told the newspaper. If someone is a danger, placing them in prison is justified, not when what they do is merely a nuisance.

In most cases we try to use financial restitution as a deterrent, countered Jake Wark, spokesman for Suffolk District Attorney Daniel 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.

Wark told the Globe that Bremner will also have to pay a five-figure settlement to repair the damage.