Very interesting story. Its one of those that make you question what is "right" and what is "just".
After 38 years, Michael Robert Smith figured no one was looking for him anymore. He escaped from prison on June 7, 1968, while serving time for a robbery conviction, then headed to Nevada, then New Jersey and into a marriage that didn't work out. Finally, five years ago, Smith moved to a tiny trailer in a heavily wooded area of Creek County, Okla. It turned out the California Department of Corrections was still on his trail.
Authorities found him Thursday, his clothes paint-splattered from one of the few jobs he could hold without a driver's license or other identification.
"He looked at the ground a little bit, then he looked up and said, `Yeah, that's me,'" Creek County Sheriff's Detective Les Ruhman said Friday. "He didn't dream people would be looking for him for so long."
There is nothing specific in the article about how Smith lived his life. My impression is he lived lawfully and harmed no one in those 38 years. Is imprisoning him because he escaped right or is it just?
If one believes imprisonment is meant to rehabilitate people, then the just thing to do is to give him amnesty. Read his reaction when confronted. Does he seem like a rabid dog that needs a cage? Does he seem docile and civilized?
I'm impressed with the law enforcement effort effected. After so many years it's impressive they found and captured him. Had he been robbing, burglarizing or been otherwise unlawful, I'd champion incarcerating him, but he seems to have been a model citizen.
How many years have you gone without any law enforcement figure checking your ID? Smith apparently was never even caught spitting on the street.(read more)