California man will not face felony vandalism charge for trimming trees on city property

"I am so glad it's over," tree-trimmer says.
By Evan Bleier   |   Dec. 4, 2013 at 9:51 AM   |   0 comments

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Dec. 4 (UPI) -- The District Attorney's Office has dropped felony vandalism charge against Ocean Beach resident Juvencio Adame after he trimmed trees that were on city property.

Adame was facing the charges for clearing out shrubbery in an area which he said was harboring homeless people and litter. After pleading not guilty on Oct. 24, the charges were dismissed on Monday.

The case was being prosecuted as a felony because the foliage was valued at $3,000, substantially higher than the $400 limit for misdemeanor charges. But a city arborist asked to investigate the matter determined that the affected trees would grow back.

"The District Attorney’s Office arranged for an expert arborist with the City of San Diego Regional Parks Division to inspect the trees that had been cut," prosecutor Cherie Somerville wrote.

"The park arborist opined that the trees cut by Mr. Adame will re-grow, catching up with other trees in a few years. While the law of vandalism includes damage that can be repaired, the value of the damage involved due to the trees being cut cannot be precisely determined since the cut trees will recover, albeit it in a few years."

The motion continues:

"The defense attorney provided information today that sheds more light on Mr. Adame’s motivation in cutting the trees which is relevant to the elements of the charged offense. The benefit of the doubt in the assessment of the amount of damage, leads to the People’s motion to dismiss in the interests of justice."

"I am so glad it's over," Adame said.


[San Diego Union-Tribune]

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