Breaking News: Smiley Sentenced to 3½ Years
A renowned dealer who admitted stealing nearly 100 rare antique maps was sentenced Wednesday to 3½ years in prison after one librarian described him as a “thief who assaulted history.”
E. Forbes Smiley III, a 50-year-old resident of Martha’s Vineyard, also was tentatively ordered to pay restitution of $1.9 million, though that figure may change. He is scheduled to report to prison Jan. 4.
The sentence’s length is closer to what the defence was asking for than what the libraries were demanding.
U.S. District Judge Janet Bond Arterton said she wanted to send a dual message with the sentence.
“If you steal human treasurers, then you will go to prison, but if you help recover them, this will be taken into account and weighed in the balance,” she said.
Earlier in this afternoon’s sentencing hearing, representatives of six libraries had urged a stiff sentence for Smiley. (Associated Press coverage: Boston Globe, Hartford Courant, International Herald Tribune, Newsday; the Chicago Tribune covers the Newberry Library’s statement.)
See previous entries: Prosecutors File Brief, Explain Smiley’s Motives; Forbes Smiley’s Sentencing Memorandum; Forbes Smiley Asks for Leniency; British Library/Forbes Smiley Update; Forbes Smiley Case: More on the British Library’s Brief; British Library Demands Harsher Sentence for Smiley.
Update #1, 5:30 PM
The money Smiley will make selling his home on Martha’s Vineyard and his summer house in central Maine is expected to cover only a fraction of what he owes. As he heads off to jail broke, with his business in tatters, few of the map dealers he betrayed are holding their breath waiting for payment.
Update #2, 6:00 PM
Update #3, 8:20 PM
The Times reports that the British Library “was extremely disappointed by the leniency of the sentence imposed.”
[British Library scholarship and collections director Clive] Field said: “In the library’s view, a term of imprisonment of 42 months — equivalent to around 12 days for each of the 98 maps Smiley admitted to stealing — and financial restitution of £1 million, do not adequately reflect the seriousness of the offences.
“Nor do they represent a commensurate punishment of Smiley for his serial thefts, or a serious deterrent to other would-be thieves of cultural property.” He added: “It will go down in criminal and library history as one of the largest, most prolonged, premeditated and systematic of all thefts from libraries, and with no mitigating circumstances.”
The New Haven Independent’s coverage is extensive, and includes anecdotal material from the hearing, plus photographs.
Update #4, Sept. 28 at 1:55 PM
Post your thoughts in the comments; that’s what they’re there for.
Update #5, Sept. 28 at 8:05 PM
Update #6, Sept. 29 at 8:00 AM
The New Haven Register’s coverage highlights some interesting information that may have been in earlier news stories, but I didn’t register it.
On Smiley’s upcoming state sentence:
He faces another sentencing, on state first-degree larceny charges Oct. 13 in Superior Court. Both sides have agreed to a cap of five years on that sentence, which will be served concurrently with the federal sentence.
On Smiley’s prison time:
Arterton agreed with a request by Smiley’s attorney, Richard Reeve, to put off Smiley’s reporting to prison until Jan. 4, 2007, so he can continue identifying maps. She also agreed to recommend Smiley serve his time at a “satellite camp” at Fort Devon in Massachusetts because it has a medical facility for his heart problems. The federal Bureau of Prisons will make the final decision.
Update #7, Sept. 29 at 9:15 AM
Update #8, Sept. 29 at 4:50 PM