'SpiderDan' sentenced to probation, community service

February 1, 2011 9:25:00 PM PST
A man who scaled a luxury residential tower in San Francisco's South of Market neighborhood in September was sentenced today to probation, community service and restitution.

Dan Goodwin, 55, also known as "SpiderDan," used suction cups to climb up the side of the Millennium Tower at 301 Mission St. on Labor Day, Sept. 6. He was arrested after reaching a 59th floor balcony on top of the building about four hours later.

Goodwin was convicted on Jan. 25 in San Francisco Superior Court of being a public nuisance and delaying or obstructing arrest, and faced a maximum sentence of one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Judge Teri Jackson today sentenced Goodwin to two years' probation, 100 hours of community service, and various court administrative charges.

Jackson also ordered him to pay restitution to the city's police and fire departments for responding to his climb, although an exact amount has not yet been determined by the district attorney's office.

Goodwin said in court during the sentencing hearing that he climbed the building because he wanted to draw attention to the vulnerability of skyscrapers. Firefighters are unable to effectively fight fires in high-rise buildings, he said.

"We keep building these buildings taller and taller with no plans in place," he said.

Goodwin's attorney, Herman Holland, argued for a minimal sentence and pointed to the unique nature of the case. He called Goodwin "an individual who takes part in an act, not for himself, but for something he believes in."

Prosecutor Michael Maffei countered that this was not a unique case at all.

"People have engaged in protests for a long time," Maffei said. "If you break the law, you have to face the consequence."

Jackson ultimately sided with the prosecution.

"I'm not saying your cause is not admirable, but there are consequences," she said.

She also said it was "a bit of an irony, if the fire department is so under-equipped, that Mr. Goodwin would expend the very valuable and very limited resources that our city has."

Goodwin said outside of court following today's hearing that the judge's decision was "pretty much what I expected," but he said his attorney plans to appeal the sentence on Friday.