San Francisco looks to civil courts to curb graffiti vandals

By The Associated Press | Posted - Aug. 22, 2015 at 1:41 p.m.



This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — You spray, you pay.

In a bid to slow a graffiti epidemic, San Francisco is using an innovative legal maneuver and asking courts to treat the city like a property owner and allow it to seek damages for cleanups.

The San Francisco Chronicle (http://bit.ly/1I325xh) reports Saturday that the city has sued a woman that officials describe as an infamous graffiti vandal. In a complaint, the city alleges Cozy Terry is responsible for 28 acts of vandalism on city buses, as well as other instances of defacing city property.

Deputy City Attorney Jill Cannon tells the newspaper that cleanup and repairs will total nearly $54,000, and the city wants a judgment against the woman to cover the bill.

"We are trying to send a message," said City Attorney Dennis Herrera, "that this will be taken seriously and it is going to cost them."

City officials tweaked local laws to make it easier to bring such cases to civil court. Generally, a civil lawsuit is easier to prove than a criminal one. The latter requires guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, while civil judgments need a preponderance of evidence, a lower standard compared to criminal court.

Evidence being compiled by city attorneys includes social media postings of graffiti.

"I hope graffiti taggers take notice," Cannon said. "When the victim is San Francisco, we are going to do something about it. You can't do this and expect no consequences."

___

Information from: San Francisco Chronicle, http://www.sfgate.com

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

The Associated Press

    SIGN UP FOR THE KSL.COM NEWSLETTER

    Catch up on the top news and features from KSL.com, sent weekly.
    By subscribing, you acknowledge and agree to KSL.com's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

    KSL Weather Forecast