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Michael Blanding to Speak about ‘The Map Thief’ at Newberry Library, Part II

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The federal charge against Smiley was due to the theft of a world map published circa 1578. Smiley was released after he posted $50,000 bond. According to Christofferson, Smiley was scheduled to be sentenced on the federal charge on September 21, 2006 and the state charges on September 22, 2006.

Smiley later pled guilty to three larceny charges in Connecticut state court in the Yale theft of state maps and one entitled "Divers Voyages Touching the Discoverie of America" published in 1582.

In a legal brief entitled “THE BRITISH LIBRARY’S SENTENCING MEMORANDUM,” the British Library’s lawyer, Robert E. Goldman explained, “At time of his guilty plea, defendant acknowledged in a ‘Stipulation of Offense Conduct’ that he had engaged in a series of thefts between January 1, 1998 and June 8, 2005 from other libraries in the United States and abroad. In the stipulation, the parties agreed that Smiley assisted in the recovery of 86 maps. Five maps have been acknowledged to have been lost by Smiley and therefore, presumptively, unrecoverable. The government has labeled 18 maps as provable against Smiley in absence of his cooperation. In a cooperation agreement with the defendant, the government has agreed that it would not use information provided by Smiley during his cooperation against him in subsequent, unrelated prosecution. The government agreed to ask the Court not to consider information provided by Smiley during his cooperation in tailoring an appropriate sentence. The defendant acknowledged in the cooperation agreement that the sentence to be imposed upon him is within the sole discretion of the Court. Smiley agreed to pay restitution to applicable victims relating to the 97 maps, as long as, the maps were recovered by time of sentencing or lost by defendant. Smiley, therefore, has not obligated himself to pay restitution for maps stolen and sold to dealers or collectors and not recovered by time of sentencing.”

In a blog post, trial lawyer Norm Pattis explained, U.S. District Court Judge Janet B. Arterton would sentence Smiley on Wednesday, September 27, 2006, and faced a sentence of up to six years, but his defense attorney had “filed a sentencing memorandum requesting no more than three years.”

In an unusual move in the federal courts, victim of Smiley's thievery have filed a sentencing memorandum of their own. They are requesting that the judge depart upward from the guidelines given the extraordinary harm Smiley is done.

My hunch is that Arterton will sentence him in the four year range.

Later in the week, Smiley will then appear in state court to be sentenced on state charges. He faces up to five years in that forum. The timing of the sentences here is key. By an unusual quirk of federal law, if Smiley begins to serve his state sentence first, he would then have to start his federal sentence once released from state custody. In other words, if sentenced to five years in state custody, he would serve that sentence, then be remanded to federal custody where he would begin the federal sentence. Lawyers call those consecutive sentences. However, ne [sic] can serve both sentences concurrently if sentenced in federal court first.

Arguing for a tough sentence, Robert W. Karrow, Jr., who was then Curator of Maps at The Newberry Library, testified, "If Mr. Smiley never steals again, his fame and monetary value of the objects he pillaged almost guarantee that he will have imitators. And some of them will learn from his mistakes and outwit us again…"

In a summary of the British Library’s victim impact statement, Goldman stated, “The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom, funded by the government. One of the world’s great libraries, it is often described as the steward of the ‘DNA of civilization.’ The first resort for American scholars who wish to gain access to Europe’s written and visual culture across all the continent’s languages, it is also the library of first resort for Europeans in search of information about the Americas. Any loss to The British Library is thus veritably a loss to humankind, including the United States.”

Goldman advocated a sentence for Smiley of imprisonment for between seventy-eight and ninety-seven months based on the figure of eighteen maps instead of the range of fifty-seven to seventy-one months to which the prosecutors and defense attorney had agreed. Goldman argued, “The victims of his crimes… are not simply the individual institutions. The stolen maps have been held in trust by the libraries for future generations. They had been cared for and preserved for centuries until Smiley ripped them from their volumes and slid them into his coat.”

The British Library questions the level of Smiley’s cooperation. When first asked whether he had stolen additional maps from the library, Smiley replied that ‘he did not remember.’ This was hardly an assuring response. When pressed further by the library through counsel, Smiley’s inability to recall transformed, late in time and close to sentencing, to a denial. This change is highly suspect.

We also note that our requests that Smiley agree that we may examine his statements to the authorities in order to assist us locate additional maps and prepare for sentencing have been refused. The government has also denied our request to examine the statements. We know that Smiley lied repeatedly when he was first confronted by Yale staff. Given the defendant’s and the government’s refusal to permit us to review the cooperation statements, we cannot assess for ourselves the progression of Smiley’s truth telling.

We note further that Smiley has refused our request to examine whatever records the government may have obtained from Smiley. The victims have not received a list of individuals to whom Smiley has sold the maps and the identification of each map sold to the dealers and collectors. Smiley has not provided sufficient answers raised to him through counsel. The victims are left, therefore, with no assistance from Smiley to locate the missing maps.

By September of 2006, the F.B.I. had recovered eighty-six of the ninety-seven maps. On September 27, 2006, Smiley was sentenced to forty-two months in prison and ordered to pay almost $2,000,000 in restitution, the F.B.I. stated.

On Wednesday, May 23, 2007, The Guardian posted an Associated Press story that gave a higher sum for the restitution Smiley would have to pay. “A man who admitted stealing about 100 rare antique maps has been ordered to pay $2.3m (£1.2m) in restitution to his victims around the US and Britain.”

Smiley was released from federal prison on January 15, 2010. Ford revealed, “Today, Smiley works as a $12-an-hour laborer in Martha's Vineyard and picks up extra cash designing websites, a skill he learned in prison, and attends Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.”

The Newberry Library has taken a few steps to upgrade security in the wake of Smiley’s theft of two maps. One of them was to install surveillance cameras in reading rooms.

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