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Graffiti Artist 'Smear' Sentenced to Graffiti Removal

Photo by Lord Jim via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr
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Graffiti artist Cristian Gheorghiu, a.k.a. Smear, has been sentenced to 13 days in jail and 45 days of graffiti removal for violating his probation, reports the LA Times. Gheorghiu was arrested in 2007 for tagging buses, and was recently charged with parole violation after he posted images of illegal graffiti on his website. Gheorghiu's lawyer, Blair Berk, told Judge Marcelita Haynes that Gheorghiu had since "created as an artist a life that is perfectly lawful," and that he "doesn't want to be the target of law enforcement," reports the Times.

Haynes claimed that she hoped his time as part of a graffiti removal team would help him become a role model to young taggers, letting them know that they could build a life for themselves as law-abiding artists. (Because that's so easy to do.)

At any rate, it seems like a poorly thought out sentence on a number of levels. A highly successful graffiti artist is more likely to encourage kids to keep up their tagging, rather than the other way around. And assigning someone to do graffiti removal who has built a career from street art seems particularly, and unnecessarily, harsh.