Saturday, October 14, 2006

State Sentence for Smiley "Largely Symbolic"

Convicted map thief E. Forbes Smiley received his sentence on state charges yesterday, and got the maximum five-year prison sentence. However, according to the Hartford Courant's report today, that sentence is "largely symbolic, and unlikely to add time to the 3½-year sentence Smiley has received in federal court. The state and federal sentences will run at the same time, with Smiley eligible for release from federal prison after three years. In state court, he can apply for parole after serving half his time."

For the first time (that I'm aware of, at least), the judge faulted the federal prosecutors for not continuing to investigate the case and searching for the other maps that the victim libraries believe may have been stolen by Smiley. "The problem is they're taking the word of a thief," judge Richard Damiani said in announcing the sentence. Damiani refused a request from Smiley's lawyer that the prison term be four years, noting that he's sentenced convenience store robbers to more time: "The man stole $2 million," the judge said. Of course this misses the point entirely - Smiley did much, much more than steal $2 million, he eviscerated priceless materials for his own personal profit at the expense of our cultural heritage and institutions.

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