Sculptor avoids $2,000 fine for taking thrown-away TV antenna for art project
Albert Prince spotted the rooftop antenna on a pile of garbage outside a Canarsie home. When he pulled his van over to move the device into the vehicle, he got slapped with a summons for ‘unauthorized removal of residential recyclable material using a motor vehicle’ by sanitation workers and had his van impounded.
One man’s trash is another man’s legal nightmare.
After a two-year battle, a Brooklyn carpenter has beaten a $2,000 ticket for picking up a discarded TV antenna for an art project.
In February 2011, Albert Prince, 56, spotted a rooftop antenna — which can sell brand new for less than $100 — on top of a pile of garbage bags outside a Canarsie home. Prince, a sculptor who belongs to a group called Art by Construction Workers, said in court papers he thought the antenna could be “a very good piece.”
When he pulled over at a nearby store, he was confronted by two sanitation cops. He said he was “kind of perplexed” by their demeanor and they made him feel like he “murdered somebody.”
He was slapped with a summons for “unauthorized removal of residential recyclable material using a motor vehicle,” and his van was impounded. He had to pay the fine to get his van back — plus another $500 to get it out of the impound lot.
Two lower court judges upheld the fine, saying what he did was a clear violation of the city law and they had no leeway to reduce the amount of the fine.
In a decision Tuesday, the state Appellate Division found the fine was so excessive it violated Prince’s constitutional rights. But they refused to refund the $500 in impound fees, finding he would have paid less had he dealt with the matter sooner.
Janet Zaleon of the city law department said the agency was reviewing the decision.
Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/brooklyn/artist-avoids-2-000-fine-thrown-away-tv-antenna-article-1.1352343#ixzz2U7wY8WJh