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Escaped Convict Recaptured After 38 Years
Associated Press ^ | May 20, 2006 | DON THOMPSON

Posted on 05/20/2006 5:20:08 AM PDT by decimon

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - 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."

The case had long grown cold until December 2003, when Judy Foster, a special agent at the California corrections department who found another escaped convict in 2004, reopened the investigation.

Smith's family and friends all denied knowing where he had gone, but Foster eventually discovered that Smith was using the his mother's maiden name - Gallion - and living outside Sapulpa, 13 miles southwest of Tulsa.

"The truth is, we never stop looking for these people," said department spokeswoman Terry Thornton. She refused to explain how Foster found the men, saying she didn't want to tip off future escaped convicts.

A department report says 21 inmates escaped from prisons and camps last year, and 20 from community programs. Of those, 31 had been recaptured, the report said.

Smith's case was unusual because he escaped from a prison, while most escaped convicts walk away from a work camp or community program, said department spokeswoman Elaine Jennings.

Smith, now 63, is being held without bond and likely will be shipped back to California within 10 days, after an extradition hearing.

He had served three years of a five years-to-life sentence at the Correctional Training Facility in Soledad, 67 miles southeast of San Jose.

"It's just amazing he made it all these years and never had a run-in with the law," Ruhman said.


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Government; News/Current Events; US: California; US: Oklahoma
KEYWORDS:
If there's nothing else to be held against this guy then I'd give him probation.
1 posted on 05/20/2006 5:20:09 AM PDT by decimon
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To: decimon

Isn't the statute of limitations, 7 years, for most everything except murder?


2 posted on 05/20/2006 5:25:50 AM PDT by butternut_squash_bisque (.)
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To: decimon

Living in a trailer park with the constant threat of tornados is punishment enough.


3 posted on 05/20/2006 5:26:00 AM PDT by garyhope
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To: decimon

"She refused to explain how Foster found the men, saying she didn't want to tip off future escaped convicts."

I think that should call for a hearing and investigation and disclosure of what they're doing at the California corrections department.


4 posted on 05/20/2006 5:26:29 AM PDT by nuconvert ([there's a lot of bad people in the pistachio business])
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To: decimon

P.S. And have you ever been to Soledad? No wonder he left.


5 posted on 05/20/2006 5:27:53 AM PDT by garyhope
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To: decimon
If there's nothing else to be held against this guy then I'd give him probation.

I reluctantly agree. He obviously isn't a threat to the community and he seems to have shown that. There are plenty of people running free right now who need to occupy a jail cell much more than this guy.

Probation wouldn't be letting him off scot-free.

6 posted on 05/20/2006 5:29:46 AM PDT by Drew68
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To: nuconvert

Yeah, where's the ACLU supporting the rights of jail breakers? Put him on the Hillary! campaign staff.


7 posted on 05/20/2006 5:29:53 AM PDT by Paladin2 (If the political indictment's from Fitz, the jury always acquits.)
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To: butternut_squash_bisque

The statute only holds if you haven't already been convicted of a crime.


8 posted on 05/20/2006 5:31:04 AM PDT by Mariposaman
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To: decimon

The huge un-answered question in the aritcle is what he was in prison for. His original sentence was 5 years to life. They don't throw out "life" sentences for jaywalking. Giving him probation is the moral equivalent of giving amnesty to illegal aliens.


9 posted on 05/20/2006 5:32:19 AM PDT by contemplator (Capitalism gets no Rock Concerts)
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To: butternut_squash_bisque
Isn't the statute of limitations, 7 years, for most everything except murder?

Not a lawyer, but... He was caught and convicted within the statute time period. I escaping, he committed a second crime for which, I think, there is no statute of limitations.

Nonetheless, with nothing to go by but this news article, he seems no threat to repeat his crimes so I would would put him on probation.

10 posted on 05/20/2006 5:32:28 AM PDT by decimon
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To: butternut_squash_bisque

The Statute of Limitations stops when you've been indicted, even in absentia or "john doe." IIRC that is.


11 posted on 05/20/2006 5:33:52 AM PDT by PLMerite ("Unarmed, one can only flee from Evil. But Evil isn't overcome by fleeing from it." Jeff Cooper)
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To: garyhope
P.S. And have you ever been to Soledad?

No. I've not always been a saint but I am prison averse.

12 posted on 05/20/2006 5:34:43 AM PDT by decimon
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To: contemplator
The huge un-answered question in the aritcle is what he was in prison for.

Agreed. No suggestion, in the news article, of violence against persons to warrant that "...to life" part.

13 posted on 05/20/2006 5:37:14 AM PDT by decimon
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To: decimon

I think it was for robbery.


14 posted on 05/20/2006 5:45:31 AM PDT by babydoll22 (If you stop growing as a person you live in your own private hell.)
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To: PLMerite; decimon

Thanks for the clarity.


15 posted on 05/20/2006 5:46:02 AM PDT by butternut_squash_bisque (.)
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To: decimon

Maybe they could grant him "not amnesty." Restore full citizenship, grant him social security benefits, offer him some incentives to blend in with society, etc. Or is that just for a different type of lawbreaker.


16 posted on 05/20/2006 6:02:52 AM PDT by FreePaul
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To: decimon

What a numb nut. This guy should have worked on a Spanish accent and claimed he was an illegal. He could have moved to CA and fit right in. Just one of millions. My name ees Jose Jimenez!


17 posted on 05/20/2006 6:13:53 AM PDT by Right Wing Assault ("..this administration is planning a 'Right Wing Assault' on values and ideals.." - John Kerry)
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To: decimon

Meanwhile, 12~20M alien law-breakers roam the country freely and the President wants to grant them Amnesty that's not Amnesty.


18 posted on 05/20/2006 6:17:24 AM PDT by DTogo (I haven't left the GOP, the GOP left me.)
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To: decimon

Read through all the replies. I'm still trying to form a reasonable opinion about what to do with this guy. Yes, he escaped prison. Yes, he was in prison for armed robbery, but went 38 years without further breaking the law.

The court system is a punitive system, but I cannot see how sticking him back in prison is going to do him or society(taxpayers) any good.


19 posted on 05/20/2006 6:38:56 AM PDT by TheSpottedOwl (If you don't understand the word "Illegal", then the public school system has failed you.)
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To: TheSpottedOwl

The article mentions robbery but not armed robbery. But considering his sentence, that is a good assumption.


20 posted on 05/20/2006 6:48:30 AM PDT by decimon
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To: Drew68

You have to give the guy 60 to 90 days just so there's no reward for being an escapee. Generally 63 year old criminals have passed the burn out stage and no longer pose a threat to society.


21 posted on 05/20/2006 7:12:08 AM PDT by appeal2
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To: decimon

"but I am prison averse."

Me too, but I was talking about the town of Soledad. Hot, dry, ugly, out in the middle of nowhere. Somewhat lacking in charm to say the least.



22 posted on 05/20/2006 7:12:16 AM PDT by garyhope
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To: decimon

At his age, getting caught was actually the best thing that could have happened to this guy. Besides the problem of getting the medical assistance he was sure to need soon as he continued to age without a drivers license or insurance etc.., it wasn't like he could go down to the Social Security office and apply for benefits.


23 posted on 05/20/2006 7:13:26 AM PDT by contemplator (Capitalism gets no Rock Concerts)
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To: butternut_squash_bisque
Isn't the statute of limitations, 7 years, for most everything except murder?

...kidnapping and defrauding the IRS...

24 posted on 05/20/2006 7:16:56 AM PDT by null and void (Islam wasn't hijacked on 9/11. It was exposed.)
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To: contemplator
Giving him probation is the moral equivalent of giving amnesty to illegal aliens.

And we would never do THAT!!!

25 posted on 05/20/2006 7:18:30 AM PDT by null and void (Islam wasn't hijacked on 9/11. It was exposed.)
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To: null and void

We have done it in the past. Right or wrong, all I'm saying is that it poses the same ethical delimma.


26 posted on 05/20/2006 7:22:14 AM PDT by contemplator (Capitalism gets no Rock Concerts)
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To: decimon
If the man had half a brain he would have paid the Mexicans to help him get a new identity. They sell packages of false ids on the street in La La Land for about $ 300. Basically all a guy would have to do is walk through a cemetery. Fill in the blanks with your imagination.
27 posted on 05/20/2006 7:25:39 AM PDT by ex-Texan (Matthew 7:1 through 6)
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To: contemplator
Yeah. He's kept his nose clean for 38 years. Isn't the whole point of the system to effect precisely this change in behavior?

I'd say jail him for some token period of time, including time served awaiting any hearings, etc., plus some longish period of probation, and call it a day.

But that's just me...

28 posted on 05/20/2006 7:27:13 AM PDT by null and void (Islam wasn't hijacked on 9/11. It was exposed.)
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To: contemplator
He escaped from prison on June 7, 1968, while serving time for a robbery conviction...
29 posted on 05/20/2006 8:13:26 AM PDT by TheDon (The Democratic Party is the party of TREASON!)
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To: decimon
Les Miserables

FMCDH(BITS)

30 posted on 05/20/2006 9:04:34 AM PDT by nothingnew (I fear for my Republic due to marxist influence in our government. Open eyes/see)
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To: garyhope
" Me too, but I was talking about the town of Soledad. Hot, dry, ugly, out in the middle of nowhere. Somewhat lacking in charm to say the least..."

That's right, it sure ain't no Chular (born & raised in Salinas). I got to spend a whole day in the Soledad Correctional Facility when I got out of the service, testing for CO. Man, what a hole. BTW, when did they move Soledad 67 miles SE of San Jose??

31 posted on 05/20/2006 9:24:19 AM PDT by Chinito (6990th Security Group, RC-135/Combat Apple, SEA Class of '68)
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To: decimon
"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."

So he broke the law, big deal.

He just wants to hold down a job, the kind of job Americans won't do. His law-breaking is irrelevant. We should be more concerned with recognizing his right to work and live out the American Dream.
32 posted on 05/20/2006 9:43:33 AM PDT by Ghost of Philip Marlowe (Liberals are blind. They are the dupes of Leftists who know exactly what they're doing.)
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To: decimon

Maybe North Carolina could hire this investigator to find Frank Cuthbertson who still has an active arrest warrant out for him. He shouldn't be to hard to find since his is a current sitting superior court judge in Pierce county, WA.

http://www.knology.net/~bilrum/RedTide.htm


33 posted on 05/20/2006 9:58:06 AM PDT by connectthedots
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To: Drew68
There are plenty of people running free right now who need to occupy a jail cell much more than this guy.

If he were a Mexican, wouldn't they just practice "catch and release"?

34 posted on 05/20/2006 10:12:49 AM PDT by glorgau
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To: decimon

Forget for a moment what we should do with him. FOr 38 years he's been a fugitive, living ILLEGALLY outside of his prison.

So, ANYBODY here think he should lose all the social security credit he built up while working over the last 38 years?

Anybody?


35 posted on 05/20/2006 10:27:34 AM PDT by CharlesWayneCT
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To: Drew68

I agree since he has not been in any more trouble. I think most people would have no idea how to go about paying Mexicans to help them or create a whole new identity on their own. That is so easy to say but I can't imagine walking up to a Mexican and asking that.


36 posted on 05/20/2006 10:32:13 AM PDT by A knight without armor
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To: CharlesWayneCT
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.

I don't think he's been accruing SS credits.

37 posted on 05/20/2006 10:45:10 AM PDT by decimon
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To: butternut_squash_bisque

Not if your white


38 posted on 05/20/2006 10:50:05 AM PDT by Vaduz (and just think how clean the cities would become again.)
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To: butternut_squash_bisque

Not if your white


39 posted on 05/20/2006 10:50:26 AM PDT by Vaduz (and just think how clean the cities would become again.)
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To: decimon

There's a difference between those who just escaped and those who escaped a long time ago and have been working, paying taxes, and supporting their families ever since. I think any jail-breaker who isn't caught withing five years should be let go. They should be given, what's the word or phrase I'm looking for . . . a-a-a- . . .a-a-a-m . . . oh yeah, earned citizenship!


40 posted on 05/20/2006 10:58:16 AM PDT by jordan8
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To: decimon
Commute the sentence and wipe it off the books. I see no reason a good man should spend one day in jail. At his age, that would be a miscarriage of justice.

(Denny Crane: "Every one should carry a gun strapped to their waist. We need more - not less guns.")

41 posted on 05/20/2006 1:45:50 PM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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