To some they are artists, but to Santa Clara prosecutors a group of South Bay taggers, responsible for years of vandalism around San Jose, are members of a gang and should be sentenced like any other gang member convicted of a crime.
On Tuesday, Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Rise Jones Pichon will rule on a plea bargain for several members of taggers who sign with a ‘Have You Seen Us’ handle.
Under the deal, the six taggers will serve county jail sentences ranging from six to eight months, perform community service, pay restitution and stay on probation for five years, according to the San Jose Mercury News.
Under a 2004 state appeals court ruling, prosecutors were given the option of charging taggers with a gang enhancement.
So the ‘HYSU’ taggers will also earn one strike in the state’s three-strike sentencing format. They will also prohibit contact with each other and face a probation violation if they do communicate.
San Jose residents Sesar Diaz, 32; John Arquero, 21; Jordan Burgerson, 18; and Manuel Villagran, 18, were arrested on vandalism charges on Tuesday, December 13, 2011, and identified as members of “HYSU.”
The HYSU crews has allegedly caused more than $60,000 in damage by painting elaborate tags throughout Santa Clara County on overpasses, fences and the walls of businesses.
Watchdogs are questioning an exclusive agreement between the City of Oakland and a non-profit group, tapped to lead a multi-million dollar project to redevelop the area around the Coliseum BART station.