The suspect arrested in vandalism of Donald Trump star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is named James Otis. His actions made headlines on Wednesday when he showed dressed up as a city worker began destroying Donald Trump’s star on the Walk of Fame. Otis told reporters that he was destroying the star in an effort to help the 11 women who recently made sexual assault allegations against the candidate. Otis’ plan was to destroy the star, sell the pieces, and then donate the profits he made to the women.
When interviewed by the media, Otis took responsibility for the action. He said that he was going to hold a press conference, and then shortly thereafter turn himself in to police. When police got wind of the news, though, they located and arrested him. As of Thursday morning, he was in police custody facing vandalism charges.
Vandalism is covered under California Penal Code 594 PC. The low prohibits the defacing of someone else’s property via graffiti, damaging it or destroying it. Vandalism can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the value of the property that was defaced or destroyed. If the value was less than $400, the crime is usually charged as a misdemeanor. If the value is $400 or greater, it can be charged as a felony (though that doesn’t necessarily mean it will be).
Interestingly, if a person defaces or destroys more than one piece of property, and the prosecutor can prove that each act was part of the same “intention, impulse and plan,” the values of the properties will be added together to see if they qualify as misdemeanors (less then $400) or felonies (more than $400).
The penalties for misdemeanor vandalism include summary probation, up to 1 year in county jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. Felonies carry the potential penalties of up to 1 year in county jail, fines of up to $10,000 (or $50,000 if the property damaged was worth more than $10,000) and summary probation.