My husband, John, has been charged with "criminal
damage, intentional vandalism" for restoring and painting a rusty neighborhood fire hydrant red. We live in Tucson, AZ. He was arrested, cited and given a court
date to appear in municipal court on 8/28/15
for the aforementioned charges. Before he painted the hydrant he contacted the City of Tucson Water Department customer service, told them of his plan and was referred to another department within the water department. After 4 transfers, he finally reached
the "hydrant department". He asked about regulations related to fire hydrants. The woman who answered the phone looked for such regulations and when she returned to the phone said she could not find anything written that prohibited painting fire hydrants.
He iterated with more details his plan, e.g., that he were going to remove the rust from the hydrant, wire brush it, apply special rust resistant primer and paint the hydrant red with silver cap accents. The woman on the phone concurred with this plan and
joked with John that a red hydrant reminded her of her childhood. They both chuckled and the call was terminated. John completed his plan ( we think around April, 2015). In July, 2015, when we were in Cleveland for a week, someone repainted the hydrant silver.
When we returned to Tucson, we thought someone had repainted the hydrant in order to deface John's latest attempt to enhance our neighborhood. On the day he was arrested, he was in the process of repriming the same hydrant when he was told in an ugly, intimidating
tone that he were breaking the law. He was threatened that the police would be called. John stopped what he was doing and came home. A short time later, the police came to our home and arrested John and gave him the citation accusing him of the criminal damage.
The police told him that he would have to appear in court. We bought a copy of the police report
and that's where are. What is your opinion of ths case? None of the definitions of criminal damage or intentional vandalism seem to fit the accusation. We think
it would be appropriate to take a referenced definition of criminal damage and intentional vandalism to the hearing. Is there anything we can do to prepare for the court hearing?