Thursday, October 05, 2006

Courant Editorial Bashes Smiley Sentence

The Hartford Courant's editorial board comes out swinging today at the 42-month federal sentence meted out to map thief E. Forbes Smiley last week:

"Let's get this straight: E. Forbes Smiley III was caught stealing nearly 100 rare maps from some of the world's finest libraries and selling them for personal profit, and yet was given a substantial reduction in his jail sentence because he helped recover the loot. Where is the justice in that?

Should a judge forgive a car thief because he returned the vehicle? Should a mass murderer get a lighter sentence because he led police to more bodies? To imply that Mr. Smiley's cooperation is somehow ennobling is an affront to his victims, and they include all who value history and view its irreplaceable artifacts as sacrosanct.

... Judge Arterton, in meting out a lighter sentence at the reported request of the government, used odd logic in giving the thief a break. She justified Mr. Smiley's reduced jail time by noting it is roughly equivalent to the time it took him to commit the thefts. By that rationale, an assassin who kills by gunshot would serve just seconds for the crime."

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