Fan Demands More Prison Time To Honor Larry Bird:
Bloomberg has the scoop on one of the more unusual criminal law stories I have heard recently:
  A 27-year-old man demanded extra prison time because he wanted to honor his basketball hero, Larry Bird.
  A lawyer for Eric James Torpy reached a plea agreement with Oklahoma City prosecutors for a 30-year jail term on two charges of shooting with intent to kill and one count of a weapons violation, District Court Judge Ray Elliott said in a telephone interview.
  Torpy then insisted on getting 33 years to match the uniform number Bird wore when he led the Boston Celtics to three National Basketball Association championships during the 1980s, Elliott said. The judge on Oct. 18 accommodated his request.
  "He told his attorney that Larry Bird was his long-time hero, and that if he was going to go to prison he wanted to go down with that number," Elliott said.
  I wonder if he'll feel the same way when he is 57 years old. Thanks to Kristen Murray for the link.
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
As a psychiatrist friend pointed out, criminals are not famous for having good judgment..... You'd think that after (I assume) weeks or months in the slammer, he'd have figured it wasn't really a place where he'd want to spend three extra years.
10.21.2005 12:29am
EricH (mail):
Well, speaking of famous athletes, it appears that Mr. Torpy's IQ is quite similar to the uniform number of dozens of Hall of Famers, including Nap Lajoie, King Kelly, Pud Galvin and more than 20 others.

They didn't have one.

10.21.2005 12:50am
He'll probably be out on parole before those 3 years affect him..
10.21.2005 12:50am
Ciarand Denlane (mail) (www):
Too bad he wasn't a Michael Jordan fan.
10.21.2005 1:04am
Nunzio (mail):
Classic. I'm sure Larry Legend is quite honored.

Bird actually wore No. 7 in the 1992 Olympics, the last time he played. A real fan would have known that and asked for 7 years, instead.
10.21.2005 1:19am
Why not a Wayne Gretzky fan?
10.21.2005 1:21am
Salaryman (mail):
As a Celtics fan, I admire Larry above all others. As a criminal defendant, however, I would have insisted on paying tribute to Robert Parish's 00.
10.21.2005 1:51am
If this guy finds a Celtics fan on his parole board in eight years, he might end up looking pretty smart. Perhaps Bill Simmons (ESPN's "Sports Guy") is his lawyer.
10.21.2005 2:13am
Jeremy (mail):
Obviously, this is a humorous post, but does anyone else find something wrong with the fact that the taxpayers of Oklahoma are being forced to house and feed this guy for however many extra years he serves behind bars, simply because he asked for it?

The state clearly felt that some amount of time less than the maximum sentence for armed robbery was appropriate in this case--why does the criminal have any authority to receive more?

I'm not suggesting that the accomodations in prison are worth his extra time there (this guy is most obviously stupid), but even those less-than-ideal circumstances require taxpayer funding.
10.21.2005 2:37am
Jeremy, that is actually a good point to note. I wonder if they thought about that before they decided to tack on his requested 7 years.
10.21.2005 3:02am
*sorry, 3 years*
10.21.2005 3:14am
The other Joshua (mail):
Why not a Wayne Gretzky fan?

That was my thought exactly! Great minds named Joshua think alike, I suppose.

Of course if this guy had actually killed someone, he could have been sentenced in honor of (former?) NFL wide receiver Antonio Freeman (#86).
10.21.2005 10:37am
The Freakonomics guys suggest that maybe he is rationally discounting the value of 3 years of prison 30 years' hence, and calculated that to be worth roughly 1.35 days of going free now, which he was willing to trade for the notoriety and special significance of the number 33. Or maybe he's just stupid. Hard to tell.
10.21.2005 1:03pm
Dave! (mail) (www):
Okay, born and raised in Indiana, I'm something of a basketball fan myself. But that is just plain nuts...
10.21.2005 2:22pm
Chris S.:
Jeremy, I wondered the same thing. If there are no other facts to this, the judge in this case is creating publicity where none need exist, and doing it on the taxpayers' dime.

House, feed, and provide medical care.
10.21.2005 2:53pm