Italy just came one step closer to feeding its poor.
The country's highest court ruled this week that stealing small amounts of food is no longer illegal for Italy's destitute and starving, the Associated Press reported Tuesday. But before college students get too excited, we're talking really poor, and really hungry.
Roman Ostriakov, a 36-year-old homeless man originally from Ukraine, stole €4.07 (that's roughly $4.50) worth of cheese and sausage from a supermarket in Genoa in 2011. Ostriakov was sentenced to six months in prison and ordered to pay a €100 fine until the General Prosecutor's Office appealed the ruling. Italy's Supreme Court of Cassation ultimately decided that Ostriakov "could not live without feeding himself, so acted out of necessity." The appeal hinged largely on the fact that Ostriakov was apprehended before he had the opportunity to actually leave the store with the stolen goods.
"The condition of the defendant, and the circumstances in which the seizure of merchandise took place, prove that he took possession of that small amount of food in the face of an immediate and essential need for nourishment," the court wrote.
The ruling represents a small step forward for those less fortunate. Eventually, this may lead to something revolutionary worldwide—though hopefully it's a more comprehensive approach to feeding the hungry than simply allowing petty crime. In the United States alone, one-in-five Americans were not able to pay for food at certain points of the year in 2012.