Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Let The Punishment Fit The Crime?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10571122

We've been talking about it, so I'm not going to rehash the details.  Crazy dude (allegedly, gah, I hate that I have to say allegedly) steals First Folio, mutilates it, then has the cajones to walk back into Folger and say "Hey, I found this, is it worth anything?" 

His trial's been going on for awhile, and finally he's convicted ... not of stealing it, or mutilating it, but merely of "handling stolen goods."  WTF?  Is that really how the system works over there, the only evidence you had to work with was the fact that the bloody thing was in his hands, so you get to charge him with handling it?  He didn't even offer any words in his own defense, and now I think I understand why.  He didn't need to.  Geez.

He hasn't been sentenced yet, so what's your guess at what he gets?  I recommend 375 years.  That's how many years of stolen history he was handling.

2 comments:

Max said...

It looks as though 14 years might be the maximum sentence, if this site is up to date: http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/s_to_u/sentencing_manual/handling/.

He would get more in the States, I'm sure. But we have an unconscionably huge prison population, at huge government expense, largely run by for-profit private corporations. European sentences appear much more reasonable to me than US sentence ranges, but in this case I think 14 years may be too little. And I bet he doesn't get 14 years, because there was no violence involved.

Ren du Braque said...

I can't help it, but I like too much to point out links and similarities and differences. You write later about forgiving and forgetting and even earlier about irony and here about giving this fool a sentence just as harsh as Bernie Madoff's. Even in this crime I see so much at stake, history, crime, punishment, art, corrupting influences of money, our Bardolatry... For what's it's worth perhaps it's best to ask "what would Will want?"

I believe Shakespeare is so generous in his writing, so careful that we may just have to think he gave us his gift. Since we are endowed with free WILL (whoops a bad pun) it's up to us to figure out what to do with it. In general gift-giving and gift-receiving are acts that require grace and generosity. They can never be forced or imposed. Of course, that doesn't stop us from wanting to haul that moron out in public and...