• Graffiti artist sentenced to set example to young taggers

    Date: 04.04.11 | by Judge Tom.

    Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Marcelita Haynes told Cristian Gheorghiu, also known as “Smear” that he could help inspire teenagers to take their graffiti art into galleries and studios.

    Smear, now 34, was convicted in 2007 for vandalism – tagging city buses. He was given a 40-month suspended prison sentence, three years probation and restitution of $28,000. He violated his probation by continuing his nighttime escapades and spent three days in jail in 2009. Then in 2010, he was back in court for posting photos of illegal graffiti on his website, another violation of his probation. In March, 2011, Judge Haynes sentenced him to 13 days in jail and 45 days of graffiti removal.

    She wants him to work alongside other taggers as an example of his success as a tagger-turned-artist. He will be released from probation when he completes the terms ordered by the court and pays off the restitution in full.

    Born in Romania, Smear was a budding artist by day and a graffiti painter by night. Nothing escaped his spray cans and markers. His canvas was brick walls, utility boxes, concrete riverbanks, poles and newsstands throughout Los Angeles. His work can now be seen inĀ galleries and one-man shows around theĀ U.S. and a few other countries.

    Graffiti has evolved over the past 90 years from bold writing on railroad cars and warehouse sidings to serious reflections on urban life. See this story about two artists who exhibited their work at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C.

    Judge Tom

    This post was written by Judge Tom. Judge Tom is the founder and moderator of AsktheJudge.info. He is a retired juvenile judge and spent 23 years on the bench. He has written several books for lawyers and judges as well as teens and parents including the recently published 'Teen Cyberbullying Investigated' (Free Spirit Publishing). When he's not answering teens' questions, Judge Tom can be found hiking, traveling and reading.

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    2 Comments subscribe to these comments.

    • Oklahoma City Divorce Attorney Matt Ingham
      Wed, 06 Jul 2011 at 08:34

      Glad to see that the judge is thinking about others and using Smear to set an example. It sounds like Smear has talent, he just needs to learn how to express his talent in ways that are not socially disruptive.

    • lloan g
      Thu, 05 Jul 2012 at 08:54

      I had a car accident exacly 11months ago i fell asleep and hit the rail i recieved a letter in the mail from court saying i owe them $3,478.00 for causing state property damage is that an amount i HAVE to pay? Or is that a case i can fight to pay less or jus not??? Idk… I think the amount is really over compare to wat was damaged….ill apreciate ur answer thank u
      Dear lloan: Read the letter you received carefully. If you don’t pay the requested amount or pay less, it’s possible that a claim against you will be filed. There should be a phone number you can call to discuss your concerns and try to negotiate. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

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