San Diego county prosecutors announced Tuesday that they planned to drop felony charges against 46-year-old Juvencio Adame.
But it’s the fact that they even considered charging Adame in the first place that has some people asking questions.
Prosecutors originally planned to bring a felony charge against the 46-year-old because he decided to take his shears to some overgrown shrubs located on public property. Police said Adame may have trimmed the shrubs because they were blocking the view from his property. The 46-year-old denied this, however, saying he trimmed the shrubs because they had become a dumping ground for vagrants.
Police estimated that the San Diego man caused approximately $3,000 worth of damage to the shrubs, prompting the District Attorney’s office to file papers Monday. Obviously, the estimated $3,000 is well above the $400 threshold for misdemeanor accounts, CBS Sacramento notes. Therefore the charge would have been felony vandalism.
A city arborist was sent to inspect the “damage” and determined that the shrubs would grow back, prosecutors said. This influenced the DA’s decision to drop charges.
“The initial charging decision in this case was based on police reports showing more than $3,000 in damage to city property. According to state law, vandalism causing more than $400 in damage is a felony,” said DA spokesman Steve Walker. “However, further investigation in consultation with an arborist revealed the trees will grow back and as a result, the District Attorney’s Office is dismissing the case.”
Adame said he he is “relieved” with the decision to drops the felony charges.
Had the DA pursued the charges, Adame's attorney said, it would have set a precedent for " any Joe Blow citizen who wants to clean up city property."
“The felony charges never should have been brought in the first place. Let’s hope that other jurisdictions act with less haste and use more common sense,” The Heritage Foundation’s “The Foundry” added.
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