“Ad impossibilia nemo tenetur”

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“No one is expected to do the impossible,” states Former Cassation Supreme Court member Gherardo Colombo in regards to Italy’s highest court’s ruling in regards to Ukrainian Roman Ostriakov’s food theft earlier this week.  Originally sentenced in 2013 after a customer in Genoa, Italy spotted him leaving a supermarket with more than he paid for, Ostriakov has won his appeal, and has been acquitted of his crimes.  Ostriakov was originally sentenced to six months and a fine of one hundred Euros for the crime of taking less than five Euros worth of cheese.  Similarly, in the United States of America, in 2013, two men were sentenced to twenty and fifty years of prison for stealing less than fifty dollars worth of food.  Both the difference in punishment for crimes and the lack of a successful appeal from other parties may be an indicator of some of the cultural values of each of the societies.  For example, in Italy nearly one quarter of the population lives below the poverty level so it stands to reason that there may be more leniency towards crimes done out of necessity, whereas America is often seen as a nation that hold personal property value above much else.

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