Smiley Sentenced to 3 1/2 Years

- by Michael Stillman



U.S. District Court Judge Janet Arterton reportedly stated she was trying to make two points by her sentence. The going-to-prison part was to show that if you steal such historic treasures, you will do hard time. The diminished sentence was to say that if you cooperate to help find the material, your sentence will be reduced. However, it should be noted that prosecutors already had agreed to charge Forbes for theft of only 18 of the 97 maps he is known to have taken, meaning that the six-year guideline was already reduced from what it might have been had they proven he stole more. In a sense, Smiley was able to use his cooperation twice to reduce his sentence. This did not sit well at all with the British Library in particular where they remain unconvinced Smiley cooperated fully in locating maps of theirs that have disappeared.

Smiley still faces sentencing on state charges in Connecticut in October for thefts at Yale, but any sentence received will reportedly be served concurrently with the federal term. He is scheduled to begin serving his time on January 4, 2007.

Smiley was reportedly very contrite at sentencing. He apologized profusely and acknowledged the hurt he has caused. He admitted to being "ashamed" of his actions. However, the most telling comment may have come from Smiley's attorney, Richard Reeve. He was reported to have said the sentence did not amount to a "slap on the wrist." When a lawyer protests his client's sentence was not a slap on the wrist, chances are good he believes it was.