British Library Demands Harsher Sentence for Smiley

The British Library has unleashed its hired gun (see previous entry). In a court filing yesterday, the Library’s attorney, Robert Goldman, asks that Smiley be sentenced to up to eight years, rather than the five to six years agreed to by both the prosecution and defence.

The Hartford Courant and New York Times have the story; for the AP wire story, see, for example, the Boston Globe, the International Herald Tribune, the Belleville News Democrat, Newsday, the Stamford Advocate and WTNH. See also Map the Universe.

Alternating between the lyrical and the legally arcane in his 16-page brief, Goldman argues for a departure from the sentencing guidelines, citing two cases where sentencing guidelines were thrown away; in one, the subject of Travis McDade’s upcoming book, The Book Thief (see previous entry), a thief who stole $1.3 million in rare books and maps from Columbia had his sentenced doubled. He also argues for a departure from the guidelines because there were seven victims, rather than one, because the thefts involved cultural resources, because some of the returned maps were damaged by the process, because of the impact on access to material and library security, and because of the damage to the libraries’ reputations.

Goldman writes that “[t]he harm caused by Smiley transcends monetary loss”:

Like a drop of oil on a still pond, the number of his victims spreads with time. Smiley’s victims include students, scholars, academics, the general public and individuals yet to be born who will not have the opportunity to sit at a desk, open a leather bound volume, and see the world as Archbishop Cranmer and others saw it in the 16th Century. No one can predict with certainty what book or image will spark the curiosity of a reader to learn, to dream, to explore, to accomplish.

The brief is available on the Hartford Courant’s web site — in Word format. Tsk. I’ve converted it to PDF and uploaded it here.

Smiley’s attorney dismisses Goldman’s brief, arguing that 80 maps would not have been returned without his client’s cooperation.

Smiley’s sentencing has been moved back to September 27 to accomodate other libraries’ submissions.

See previous entries: The British Library’s Hired Gun; Stolen Maps Meeting Kept Private; Forbes Smiley Case: Another Missing Maps Update; Missing Map Overlap; Yale Issues Statement About Smiley Investigation; Boston Globe on Libraries’ Suspicions About Smiley; Libraries Suspect Smiley in More Map Thefts; Is Forbes Smiley Getting Off Easy?; Three Missing British Maps Still Missing.