Stephen and Virginia Pearcy, Berkeley lawyers who have a home in the Land Park district of Sacramento, CA have faced a constant barrage of vandalism and threats by right wing vandals against the anti war art displays at their house over the past year.
Right wing radio talk show hosts and Move America Forward, an extremist organization that slavishly supports Bush's war in Iraq, even held a demonstration in front of the Pearcy's house last February to attack the display of a soldier's uniform with a noose on the neck, with the caption, "Bush Lied, I Died."
Finally these vandals have come to justice, thanks to the persistence of the Pearcys. Brian O'Malley, the first vandal who tore down the Pearcy's soldier display last February, has lost his appeal of the original small claims judgment awarding them $5,000.
"At the appeals hearing last Friday, O'Malley was represented by OJ Simpson 'Dream Team' attorney Robert Blasier," said Steve Pearcy. "However, it didn't help O'Malley save one dime."
The appeals judge heard two hours of arguments last Friday and then took the matter under submission. "Today, exactly one week after the hearing, we received letters from the court declaring the new judgment, again in our favor, in the amount of $5,000," said Pearcy on Friday, November 4.
Earlier this week, even as the O'Malley case was being decided, the Pearcys received a check in the amount of $3,500 from an attorney representing the vandal of their second soldier display, put up after the first one was vandalized. "That vandal, Mike Coates, whose identity only recently became known to us after we submitted a DMV ownership info request (based on a license plate number caught on video), unequivocally chose to accept all of the terms of our initial demand letter," said Pearcy.
O'Malley was not so smart in coming to terms with his crime against the Pearcys. "In our first demand letter to him, we sought $2,500," stated Pearcy. "A week later, we received a letter from his attorney (Blasier) offering us $350. We rejected that offer and increased our demand to $3,500. O'Malley never countered, so we filed suit in small claims court seeking $5,000 (this included a request for punitive damages). We won everything at the first hearing, and now we've won again."
Republican Jan Scully, the supposedly "hard on crime" Sacramento County District Attorney, issued a press release back in February calling the trespasses and vandalisms "de minimus." Like the vandals who committed the property crimes against the Pearcys, Scully's statement showed how the "hallowed" right wing principle of "property rights" apparently does not extend to progressives.
"To the extent that her statements had the effect of legitimizing the willful destruction of our property, the recent civil judgments and settlement, if publicized, certainly would send a different message," concluded Pearcy. "The right wingers are finally getting a taste of justice: from the Bush administration all the way down to the small time, ignorant followers of local, trashy hate radio. Sometimes it takes a while, but it all comes out in the wash!"
I congratulate the Pearcys on their legal victories against the right wing vandals! Stephen and Virginia Pearcy are true American heroes who are fearless in opposing the reactionary supporters of war, racism, torture and the destruction of the Bill of Rights.
In addition to their house displays, Stephen Pearcy's "Tank's To Bush" painting of an American flag in the toilet, displayed at an art exhibit in the cafeteria of the California Department of Justice this summer, drew intense opposition from Move America Forward and right wing talk radio hosts Mark Williams and Melanie Morgan. The Pearcys have also organized peace demonstrations in Sacramento in solidarity with their good friend, Cindy
I hope that the Pearcy's recent court victories demonstrate to the pro-war thugs that they will pay dearly for any more vandalism to such creative anti-war art displays.
* Story reference: Eric Bailey, “War Protest Has Captive Audience,” Los Angeles Times, October 24, 2005.
Dan Bacher is an outdoor writer, alternative journalist and satirical song writer from Sacramento, California. He is editor of the Central America Connection and contributes to numerous publications and websites, including Dissident Voice, CounterPunch, Because People Matter and the Sacramento News & Review. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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