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Homeless man arrested for damaging glass doors at  governor’s office

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FOR  breaking the glass doors of the governor’s office on Capital Hill a homeless man was charged with disturbing the peace and criminal mischief.

On Thursday, Shanguo Zhang, 43, appeared before Superior Court Associate Judge Wesley Bogdan who appointed Assistant Public Defender Jean Nogues as defense counsel after learning through an interpreter that Zhang has no income.

Zhang, through interpreter Dennis Tse, told the court that he cannot pay rent nor buy food and he is unemployed.

Assistant Attorney General Heather Barcinas, who represented the government, said the offense of disturbing the peace is punishable by up to six months’ imprisonment and $500 fine while criminal mischief is punishable by imprisonment of six months and $1,000 fine.

She did not object to the judge lowering the $5,000 cash bail to $1,000.

If Zhang finds a way to post 10% of $1,000 he can be released,  the judge said, adding that he will also consider a suitable third-party custodian.

Police said Zhang was arrested after being identified as the person who cracked both glass doors of the governor’s office on June 30 around 3:39 p.m.

The damage amounted to a total of $588, police said.

In addition, Zhang approached the front desk and pulled a broken ceramic tile from behind and pointed it at a witness, police said.

Zhang then walked to the entrance to the governor’s office and began hitting the glass doors with the tile in his hand.

Police said another witness heard a loud banging and saw Zhang hitting the glass door.

Zhang admitted smashing both glass doors with a “brick” he said he found outside the building.

He said he wants the government to provide him with “refugee assistance,” and to “correct” the police “wrongdoing” when they arrested him June 29, 2020 for creating a disturbance also at the governor’s office.

Variety learned that Zhang has a pending immigration case and his passport is currently with the Enforcement Immigration Removal Office. No other details about the defendant were available as of press time Thursday evening.

After the hearing on Thursday, Zhang was remanded  to the Department of Corrections and ordered to return to court on July 9 at 1:30 p.m. for a preliminary hearing and on July 13 at 9 a.m. for his arraignment.

Vandalism

In related news, Chief prosecutor John Bradley said the Legislature recently amended the Commonwealth Code by adding a new section on vandalism.

Bradley said the amendment also altered the punishment for criminal mischief.

Vandalism has no confinement in the punishment while criminal mischief has a maximum confinement of six months, regardless of the value of the destroyed property, Bradley said.

He added that the change in the law is inconsistent with the punishment scheme established through the Penal Code and decriminalizes the destruction of property.

It abandons “any proportional punishment based on the value of the destruction,” he said.

For example, if a person destroys a glass door he will be treated the same as a person who destroys a brand new truck, Bradley said.

“The Legislature should consider amending the law to return the punishment range to how it was previously handled, protecting victims of property crimes from the destruction of their property. The amendment reduces vandalism to the level of a traffic violation. That encourages more crime. Punishment should discourage crime,” the chief prosecutor added.

November 2020 pssnewsletter

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