American squirrel man escapes jail sentence

January 24, 2009

We have often written about Jeb Corliss, one of the most celebrated and well known names in the world of base jumping and wingsuit flying , who in April 2006 was arrested while attempting to jump off the Empire State Building in New York. Earlier this week Corliss, 32, of Malibu, California, received probation and community service for his thwarted stunt.

He was convicted of reckless endangerment in December. Prosecutors argued he could have caused injuries by jumping, despite his claims to have studied traffic patterns around the foot of the 102-storey tourist attraction.

The skydiver could have faced up to a year in prison for the offence. The judge, Thomas Farber, said he received letters from Raymond Kelly, New York City Police Department commissioner, and the Empire State Building owners asking for a jail term for Corliss.

Mr Farber, however, rejected the suggestion, saying, “I simply don’t find it warranted in this case.” He added that in all his years as a prosecutor and a judge presiding over murder, rape and other cases, he had never received a letter from a high-ranking police official asking for a specific kind of sentence.

“From some of the letters I received, you would have thought the defendant tried to commit a terrorist act,” the judge said. Mr Farber sentenced Corliss, who had no prior criminal record, to three years’ probation and 100 hours community service, which he said the Californian could complete in his home state.

Corliss has made more than 1,000 safe jumps in countries all around the world including Japan, Russia, France and Malaysia.

Regular readers of this blog will know that Corliss is attempting to be the first man to land on earth, with only a wingsuit and no parachute, and to survive, and then go up and do it again. Details of how this will be achieved are top secret but we do understand that a special landing strip is being designed, somehow to be suspended in the air, which Corliss will have to fly to with pinpoint accuracy.

OMG – sure sounds tough – good luck Jeb.

Below is a video from wingsuitflyer which gives an update on the wingsuit landing project and as its coming up to a year since that release any further news would be greatly received. As for Corliss’s escape from imprisonment – well thank goodness Judge Farber used his great common sense – Corliss is no criminal.


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