Flag thief scolded, sentenced

Anne Landman holds the remains of a bracket which was torn down as she stands by the flag she displays near her home on Glade Park.

Troy Milam entered an Alford plea, essentially a plea of no contest, Friday in a Mesa County courtroom to the charge of stealing a world peace flag from a Glade Park resident last year.

Milam then was sentenced by Mesa County District Court Judge Bruce Raaum to 30 days of in-home detention with an ankle monitor and $684.50 in fines and court costs.

Milam could have been sentenced to a maximum of 40 days of in-home detention and $1,000 in fines for the charge of theft of less than $500.

Raaum called Milam’s actions “completely inappropriate.”

Using an analogy, Raaum equated Milam’s actions to someone running into the back of another person’s car simply because they did not like their bumper sticker.

“That is something the law does not allow,” Raaum told Milam.

Raaum noted that in the 233-year history of the United Sates, men and women have fought and died to preserve the rights of Americans to express themselves. The Bill of Rights begins with a phrase banning Congress from making laws restricting those rights. Chief among those rights is the right to free speech.

“It was really about so much more than a flag,” Anne Landman said after sentencing.

She is the Glade Park resident whose flag was stolen by Milam on March 16, 2008.

“If Milam had gotten off very easily, it would have been open season on people like me,” she said. “Open season on politically progressive people who maybe don’t agree with the majority.”

Landman said she would have preferred to see Milam sentenced to the maximum, but she added, “Justice was served.”

Milan did not comment after the sentencing. In open court, though, prior to sentencing, Milam, who served in the U.S. Army, apologized.

“My intention was not to steal her flag,” said Milam, who used to live on Glade Park.

“It was an anti-American flag, and it was very offensive to everyone up there (in Glade Park). I had no intention for it to go this far.”

Landman described the theft in detail to the court. She said she had been out walking her dog when she saw Milam steal her flag and jump back into his pickup. Landman said she stood in front of Milam’s truck until he gave her flag back to her.

All the while Milam kept shouting at her, “‘Are you an American? Are you and American? I’m sick of these flags,’” according to Landman.

Milam’s attorney, Gregory Mueller, downplayed the crime.

“She (Landman) was deprived of this thing of value for less than 10 minutes,” Mueller said.

Mueller went on to say Landman’s flags have been stolen in the past by other neighbors, and Landman has been very demanding of the courts, the district attorney’s office and media.

“She has claimed to the media that this is a hate crime,” Mueller said.

During sentencing Landman unfurled the flag that Milam stole and did not back down.

Deputy District Attorney Carmen Rickard also asked Milam to pay for the cost of prosecution. Raaum gave the prosecution until Sept. 11 to provide Milam with an itemized list, but he did not rule whether Milam would be obligated to pay.


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