My Day in Court for Making Art

10/14/2010 11:49 AM |

Julie Torres

Yesterday, on the day her story appeared in The L Magazine, Julie Torres had a second court date in her ongoing case following a July 17 arrest for painting on paper temporarily taped to a wall. Things are looking up.

Yesterday’s court date went more smoothly than my previous appearances, which I attribute to the tremendous amount of support I’ve received in the past few weeks. Having met with Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, and members of the group K.A.R.A.T.E. (who advise artists on art-related crimes), I felt confident and less overwhelmed by my criminal case. Both organizations generously offered their knowledge and assistance, and I cannot overstate how much that helped to focus me.

My best weapon in the courtroom was Hrag Vartanian’s Hyperallergic article, which single-handedly changed the DA’s offer. I was offered a Violation charge (down from Graffiti and Disorderly Conduct), which I declined. In response, I produced printouts of the Hyperallergic article (also picked up by Gothamist and Gawker) and within minutes was presented with the vastly improved offer of an ACD (Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal). I declined that offer as well, and my case has been adjourned for further documentation.

I return to court on Thursday, November 18, and I’ll keep going back until the case is dismissed, or goes to trial. I no longer feel that I have anything to lose in fighting this case to the end. This was especially true upon learning that there have been 2 civil lawsuits brought against the arresting officer in my case, for similar wrongful arrests.

I must thank everyone who has reached out to me over the past month via email, Facebook and my website. Your encouragement has been a great source of strength to me, and I am deeply moved by your continued kindness.