Roman Polanski drugged, raped, and sodomized a 13-year-old girl and then fled to Europe to avoid imprisonment. If his name was Tyrell Washington, and he was black, and did everything Polanski did except direct movies, people would be thrilled that he was arrested. But because Polanski is an Oscar-winning director, we get abhorrent comments like these:
France's culture minister Frederic Mitterrand also criticized the U.S. "Seeing him alone, imprisoned while he was heading to an event that was due to offer him praise and recognition is awful," he said. "He was trapped. In the same way that there is a generous America that we like, there is also a scary America, and that has just shown its face."
In Germany, there was also support for the director. The Berlin Film Festival demanded Polanski be freed. "The Berlinale protests the arbitrary treatment of one of the world's most outstanding film directors," the fest said in a statement. "We declare our deep respect for Roman Polanski and we demand his immediate release."
The German Film Academy also condemned Polanski's detention. Academy presidents Senta Berger and Guenter Rohrbach said in a joint statement: "The German Film Academy finds it revolting that Roman Polanski has been arrested for an act committed more than 30 years ago."
I'm the father of a 14-year-old girl, maybe that's why I find all this anger over the arrest of a child rapist disgusting and infuriating. I don't care if he's made good movies. Why?
Because Roman Polanski drugged, raped and sodomized a 13-year-old girl…and fled the country rather than go to jail for his horrible crime.
What is truly "revolting" is the defense of this criminal and the stunning hypocrisy that it represents.
What the French government, German Film Academy and other fans of the director are saying is that raping a child, and being arrested for it thirty years later, is "awful" and "revolting" … if the rapist happens to be a talented actor, writer or director. They don't seem capable of drawing a distinction between Polanski the director and Polanski the rapist. Yeah, his movies may be great, but he drugged, raped and sodomized a child…and then he ran.
We don't forgive other rapists for their crimes…we hunt them down. Why should Polanski be given special treatment? Because he's talented? Because he's married with kids? Because he's old? Because his now-adult victim has forgiven him? Because the judge may have intended to renege on a plea bargain and make Polanski do the prison time he deserved?
Hell no. Why? Because there's a message here, folks. And the message is: you can't drug, rape and sodomize children and run from the law. You will be punished for your heinous crimes.
How would Polanski feel if someone drugged, raped and sodomized his children? Would he want the rapist to walk free if he has directing talent?
I know that the French government, or the Berlin Film Festival judges, would be making the same appeals on behalf of a black American plumber who'd committed the same crime. We all know it.
I, for one, am pleased that the Justice Department has not given up, has not been blinded by celebrity, and has finally nailed him. I hope they drag him back here and make him do his time.
42 thoughts on “Why Are They Defending a Common Rapist?”
I think clearly Polanski was set up. The girl’s mother sent her back for a photo-shoot alone with Polanski after he’d already done things that, according to her, “made her uncomfortable.” I definitely think that CHINATOWN or no CHINATOWN, Polanski needs to take his medicine for the crime to which he’d already pled guilty. After all, when the mother dangled the bait, he didn’t have to take it.
But he’s not the only person who should be in the dock, either.
It is so nice to see someone else saying what I have been thinking. Frankly, I think it shows just how arrogant he was to go to get this award when he has been so smart hiding out for the last 30 years.
I hope our wheels of justice move very slowly for him.
Single guy with no kids
I’m with you 100 percent. When they came out with that movie last year about Polanski, even Roeper and Philips said things like, “I don’t mean to excuse his actions, but man that dead judge who has no way to defend himself really was awful.” Meaning they defended Polanski. It was disgusting.
You’re in Hollywood, what’s the take there?
I couldn’t agree more.
I agree completely. He did the crime he should pay for it.
What bothers me though is the knowledge of everyone how an African-American would have been convicted and hung without a backward thought. This was the first thing that had gone through my mind also. African-Americans are treated differently in America. Wrong is wrong whatever the color. Polanski makes me think of Manson and his crew…an African-American group having done the same unspeakable horror wouldn’t have gotten the chance to have multiple hearings or die serving her sentence in prison. Why there is bias treatment for crimes by race is ridic. If you do the crime you should be punished.
Here, from an article at Salon.com:
I have no empathy for Polanski, but what purposes are served by prosecuting a criminal? Deterrence is one. Revenge for the victim’s satisftion is the other.
Polanski has never repeated the crime. He is not a serial offender. The victim of his crime has clearly stated, 11 years ago already, that she does not wish to see this prosecution continue. To do so will only hurt her, not help her.
Indicting and trying Polanski is utterly pointless, except that it satisfies some feelings of envy and resentment on the part of some people who think that celebrities are undeserving of their success and deserve some comeuppance for it, no matter what the reason.
Well, the grown lady in question doesn’t seem to hold these feelings. She’s moved on.
Fame rules in America and the world. Everyone knows there are double standards.
“Polanski makes me think of Manson and his crew.”
With good reason. They slaughtered Polanski’s wife, Sharon Tate.
There was one headline in the (online) latimes this morning and I didn’t have time to read the story, but the gist was “why are we making him pay for a 30 year old sex crime”. Well why not, we are dragging the catholic church through the same prosecutions for their priests’ alleged decades old kiddy diddling.
Can’t have it both ways, folks. If priests can go to jail for this 30 years after the fact, so can this guy.
He raped a child. You don’t get to rape a child and go free because you are talented. He fled the country (another crime). The message that needs to be sent is simple. Rape is a crime punishable by many years in jail. The raping of a child gets you a few extra because it pisses me off.
That’s a good point, Christopher. We’re getting so caught up in the rape (which is horrid), we are forgetting that he also is a fugitive who fled the country to avoid punishment.
So even if his victim is ready to forgive and move on (which is great for her), there’s still his other crime he needs to pay for.
As far as that aspect of the case, it’s not The Victim vs. Roman Polanski, it’s The People of the State of California vs. Roman Polanski. I think that’s where Lee, especially as a father, is coming from, although I do agree that it’s problematic that the victim has to deal with the memories and the attention again.
The main source of your anger is the girl’s young age, 13. But Polanski said she was 13 going on 35, meaning she participated with a degree of willingness and knowledge, in his opinion. So there’s that to consider.
Second, you think that Polanski has gotten away with something. But he’s had to live abroad for 30 years and to face all the persons he’s come across, which, I’m sure, has made him suffer very deeply. So there’s that to consider.
Third, you don’t want to forgive him. But if the girl, now woman, has forgiven him then, in her opinion, justice has been done for her and there’s no point to pursue it. So there’s that to consider.
Fourth, Polanski has lived an exemplary life since the incident so, is it justice or vindictiveness to endlessly pursue a person for an isolated event when the girl involved has already forgiven him years ago? So there is that to consider.
Fifth, Polanski was set up and is entrapment not a crime? So there is that to consider.
Six, other countries are supporting Polanski, having accepted he isn’t perfect, but also pointing out how much he has given the world through his films, which goes a long way to washing the stain of his sin off of him. So there’s that to consider.
Seventh, if anybody gets angry because another person would be hung, like an African-American, then this anger should be directed at the U.S. system of justice and not taken out on Polanski.
Lastly, I remember the case of Bobby Fischer, whom the Justice Department ruled had broken one of their directives by playing chess in Romania! They pursued him mercilessly and arrested him in a setup much like the Polanski case and may have been guilty, themselves, of kidnapping! Did the Justice Department exceed their authority? Are they exceeding it in the Polanski case? So there’s that to consider.
Plus there may be other extenuating circumstances we are not aware of, one of them being the emotional/psychological damage Polanski suffered over the death of his wife.
All these issues have a place and I’m not the one to make the final decisions, but something is wrong when forgiveness has been given and third parties don’t accept it, and something is wrong when, after 30 years of exemplery conduct, a person is set-up for an arrest. As the French analyst siad, this is a side of America that is a bit arbitrary and therefore scary.
It took a while to find this but I’ve always liked Joe Bob Briggs explanation for why the State takes over prosecution of crimes. http://www.joebobbriggs.com/jbamerica/1995/jba950417.html Whether the victim declares forgiveness does not mean the crime should go unpunished.
I’ve been dumbfounded by the support he’s received. Debra Winger describes it as a “minor technicality,” then Whoopi Goldberg says it wasn’t “rape-rape.” What the blue hell does that even mean?
Well, to be fair and split hair, is wasn’t date-rape. There was no dating between him and victim.
I only wish I had the energy to stick in some reference to Frantic. Oh, look, I just did.
This just keeps pissing me off so I vented in my blog. It also ticks me off that people keep saying that the victim has forgiven him. She has never said that. She said that she wants to move on that is far from forgiveness.
Posted new blog (Roman Polanski Is Not Special) at http://www.csdaley.com
Peter Winkler pointed out (by quoting from a Salon.com article) that the victim doesn’t want anything to do with this case anymore, although apparently that didn’t stop her from reaching a monetary settlement with Polanski in civil court some time ago.
I’d recommend another Salon article that provides a somewhat different point of view on this case, particularly for those who allege the 13-year old victim might have somehow seduced Polanski:
And for those wondering what the original judge’s controversial conduct was, this article from Slate puts it in perspective:
I can’t believe all the excuses you are making for this guy…
Let’s make a slight change, shall we. Let’s say Roman was 75-year-old Hispanic custodian instead of a 75-year-old white director. Let’s say the custodian’s mom was killed in El Salvador when he was a child…and, years later, his wife and unborn child were murdered by gang-bangers…and then a few years later, he gave a 13-year-old girl alcohol and drugs and, when she was nearly incoherent and helpless, he sodomized her.
Would you excuse him for that because of the tragedies in his life? How many psychopathic killers led tragic lives? Do we forgive them their crimes?
But wait, let’s even go one step further. Let’s say the 13-year-old girl tore off her shirt, waved her boobs in his face, and said “Please, Roman, give me champagne, and drugs, and jam your dick up my ass.” Let’s even say her Mom was there, cheering Roman on. “Do my daughter! Do her!”
Does that make his actions any less heinous? Does that justify him drugging the kid and sodomizing her?
He was arrested and, just before sentencing, he fled to France, where he led an exemplary life as a waiter before being arrested thirty years later in the Zurich airport.
Would you still be making excuses for his behavior? Would the French government be making calls to our Secretary of State? What Hollywood…or anybody…be rallying behind him?
I think not. I don’t think anybody would be.
Roman Polansky was a 43-year-old man. She was a 13 year old girl. Giving her alcohol and drugs and sodomizing her would be reprehensible and heinous even if she asked him to do it (which, if you read the Grand Jury testimony, she did *not*). It doesn’t matter if she has since forgiven him and been paid a settlement….he committed a crime against our society. He ran from the law. This is not about revenge, this is about morality, decency, and the rule of law. This is about a civilized society where certain conduct is never tolerated.
I applaud his arrest and the prosecutors who weren’t snowed by his celebrity or his tragic past.
(And comparing what Roman Polanski did to a child to Bobby Fischer and a chess game is totally absurd and belittles the suffering the poor girl has had to endure because of one man’s depravity)
If I just focus on the crime, sex with a 13-year-old, I feel as you do, too. But a lot has happened since the trial began in 1977.
First, Polanski pleaded guilty. But it was part of a plea deal. If the plea deal had gone through as it was supposed to, the matter would have ended decades ago. But the judge told reporters he intended to renege and put Polanski in prison so it’s this misbehavior by the judge which is responsible for the mess the case is now in. A 2008 HBO documentary, looking at the misconduct allegations, concluded that the behind-the-scenes manipulation by the now-deceased judge and by a prosecutor not assigned to the case resulted in Polanski fleeing the country. Polanski’s lawyers filed for a dismissal based on this documentary. The judge handling the request acknowledged “substantial misconduct” in the original case, but dismissed the filing because Polanski was a fugitive. So this judge is being obdurate. If there was “substantial misconduct,” then Polanski was right to flee the country, and the case should be dismissed whether he is standing in an L.A. courtroom or not. On top of this, the girl, named Samantha, now 45, told Larry King in 2003 that she was glad Polanski fled the country as then the story died down in the media. So the original judged misbehaved, the current judge is wrong-headed and obdurate, and Samantha is on Polanski’s side on this issue. His status as a fugitive should be overturned. The original plea bargain should stand. There is no case against Roman Polanski.
Second, the original crime has been paid for in the eyes of the victim. She sued Polanski and they settled out of court. Futher, he has had to live abroad for 30 years. He has had to struggle every day with people in his life over this case. There is no doubt he has paid in full, which may be a point you are overlooking. So there is no point in sending him to jail, now, when he never should have gone to jail at all.
Third, your supposed-case is hypothetical. No one can say how it would turn out. You can’t assume it is true in order to prove a point until it is a proven fact. On the other hand, the Bobby Fischer case is true, and it proves that the Justice Department does target some persons and, for it’s own ends pursues persons endlessly and wrongly and without mercy. Which is scary. So is the high-profile Polanski case being used by L.A. justice officials to enhance their own reputations? Or to satisfy their own sense of vindictiveness? Does it play well to the voters? Samantha says that it is the media and the prosecutors who are tormenting her. She even wrote to the prosecutors asking them to dismiss the case. In 2003, she said that Polanski should be allowed to attend the Academy Awards. She said she was over the original incident years ago. It is not because Polanski is rich and famous that he is getting away with something – it’s the other way around – he’s rich and famous, so he’s being pursued endlessly and with the substantial misconduct of the judge being overlooked.
Finally, everybody is guilty at one time or another of misjudgement. If we were all punished for our sins as we deserve to be, we’d all burn in hell forever! And that’s just for starters. People do pay and then they deserve a fresh start. It seems to me that Polanski has earned the right to be forgiven over the years and so his case should now be thrown out of court both on technical grounds and on moral grounds. But then, that’s just how I see it.
>>Polanski’s lawyers filed for a dismissal based on this documentary.<< If I ever decide to commit a crime, I'll be sure to ask for you on my jury. For a thorough fisking of the 'documentary' you seem to be basing some of your arguments on, you might want to read this: http://www.salon.com/ent/feature/2009/02/19/roman_polanski_documentary/
>>It seems to me that Polanski has earned the right to be forgiven over the years…<< Given that Polanski has never (as far as I can tell) publically indicated that he's sorry he raped this 13-year old, or that it was wrong (in fact here's a quote from an interview he gave to Martin Amis in 1979: “If I had killed somebody, it wouldn’t have had so much appeal to the press, you see? But… f—ing, you see, and the young girls. Judges want to f— young girls. Juries want to f— young girls. Everyone wants to f— young girls!”) I don't understand your reasoning.
My experience with the ‘justice’ system is it doesn’t matter if you steal bread to feed your family or steal a TV for the hell of it – stealing is stealing and punishment is due.
A 43-year-old man having sex with a 13 year old, regardless of circumstance is wrong and deserves punishment – and even though Dan thinks “no point in sending him to jail, now, when he never should have gone to jail at all” – I believe there is a lot of point to him going to jail then and now. If for no other reason, Dan, then for running – if an inmate escapes jail a month before he’s due to get out – do you think when he returns they’ll just keep him for that one month??
I don’t hear too many people interested in forgiving the guy who kidnapped Jaycee Dugard even though she eventually loved him and viewed him as her husband (after 18 years). It was so long ago, Dan, and well, everyone is guilty of misjudgment every now and then…we should just let that go too, right?
We don’t know how many children Polanski may have raped. Biographers have talked about his raping girls — provided by his “hosts” — while in the middle east. And there’s 15-year-old Kinskey. So far. Many of his “defenders” talk about how he’s still directing movies. If he can still direct movies, he can still sexually violate children, especially when he’s surrounded by equally debauched, adoring sycophants.
Arguments that prior suffering = the right to commit crime are pretty strange. What crime(s) does his victim now get to commit? Who does she get to harm? I was beaten repeatedly and sexually violated three times as a child, and I’ve never committed a crime worse than speeding. (And neither have at least 50% of other survivors of rape, molestation and violence.) Who do I get to attack? To maim? And, why is it assumed that I would even want to, as if harming people is like money — something that has some sort of value, something that even functional people secretly want? The whole argument set is simply sickening, and based on the assumption that cruelty, sadism and debauchery are somehow universal. I guess it’s true that degenerates see nothing in the world but mirrors of themselves.
Let’s get this pathetic, pedophile coward in prison where he belongs. http://www.polanskiprison.blogspot.com
When I was 10 years old, I was drugged and raped by two men. They were never prosecuted for their crimes.
The fact that I have, at the age of 41, partially healed from many of the emotional and physical wounds inflicted on me in no way mitigates the fact that those men perpetrated a crime on a child. The adult in me still wants justice for that 10 year old girl.
If Polanski feels he was the victim of judicial misconduct, the place to argue that is right here. When did we start allowing defendants to argue their cases after fleeing? Every other defendant has to return to court and argue the case in person.
Polanski made a plea bargain and then apparently decided he should be the master of his own sentence. He led a good life thereafter. Great. But we still don’t allow criminals to dictate how they will serve for their crimes.
We owe all of our citizens much better than allowing anyone, famous, infamous or otherwise, to bend the judicial system to suit their own desires, fears and temperaments.
I’d like to address your original post point-by-point.
1. You say: But Polanski said she was 13 going on 35, meaning she participated with a degree of willingness and knowledge, in his opinion.
I say: Why in hell do you take the word of the perpetrator? Don’t you think there’s a chance he might, in the slightest sense, be biased? And let’s assume he’s right. So what? It doesn’t matter if she was willing. She was a 13 year-old; Polanski was a “responsible” adult and, even if it were true she was “willing”, it’s still statuatory rape.
2. You say: But he’s had to live abroad for 30 years and to face all the persons he’s come across, which, I’m sure, has made him suffer very deeply.
I say: How do you know that Polanski had to “face”, in a negative way, all the persons he’s come across? Maybe they applauded him or shook his hand for getting away with it and getting out of the big, bad, imperialst U.S. And how are you “sure” he’s suffered very deeply? Are you a mind reader?
You say: But if the girl, now woman, has forgiven him then, in her opinion, justice has been done for her and there’s no point to pursue it.
I say: I already addressed this in an earlier post. In short, justice is done by the U.S. justice system.
You say: Fourth, Polanski has lived an exemplary life since the incident so, is it justice or vindictiveness to endlessly pursue a person for an isolated event when the girl involved has already forgiven him years ago?
I say: How in HELL do you know Polanski has lived an examplary life? Because publicly he hasn’t gotten broken the law in the countries he’s fled to? How do you have any idea what he does in his private life?
You say: Fifth, Polanski was set up and is entrapment not a crime?
I say: Entrapment has to be set up by law enforcement to be a crime. Polanski was not a victim of entrapment.
You say: Seventh, if anybody gets angry because another person would be hung, like an African-American, then this anger should be directed at the U.S. system of justice and not taken out on Polanski.
I say: Oh, NOW you mention the U.S. justice system. Very convenient. Also, if this were an african-american in 2009, he would NEVER have been brought back. Racially, the pendulum has swung the other way a number of years ago, which has allowed parasites like Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and Johnny Cockroach to play the race card and blame everything on “whitey”.
You say: Six, other countries are supporting Polanski, having accepted he isn’t perfect, but also pointing out how much he has given the world through his films, which goes a long way to washing the stain of his sin off of him.
I say: “he isn’t perfect”? What does that mean? That he stole a box of candy? Whatever “isn’t perfect” means, it’s a long way from rape. “given the world through his films”? Maybe I should give him the nickname Mother Teresa Polanski. This is the most infantile arguments you make. Do you really think Polanski makes films as some type of charity venture? You mention “sin”. What happened to the U.S. justice system? Oh, I see, now it isn’t convenient. “Sin” is a Biblical term and a moral term; people don’t go to jail in the U.S. for “sin”; they go because they break the law and commit crimes.
You say: “I remember the case of Bobby Fischer, whom the Justice Department ruled had broken one of their directives by playing chess in Romania! They pursued him mercilessly and arrested him in a setup much like the Polanski case and may have been guilty, themselves, of kidnapping!”
I say: Oh, there’s that messy U.S. justice system again. It turned out to be convenient for this point of yours. As for comparing this case to Bobby Fischer? I take back my earlier comment about your previous point being the most infantile and humbly beg your forgiveness, because this point is surely the most infantile. Can you honestly look at yourself in the mirror and compare breaking the law by participating in a foreign country’s chess tournament to rape?
You say: As the French analyst siad, this is a side of America that is a bit arbitrary and therefore scary.
I say: you’re points are more than arbitrary (they’re illogical, irrational, and insane) and you’re therefore full of crap.
Polanski did not commit a crime against society. He harmed an individual. He never committed a criminal act before or since that one episode. No one else has ever alleged that he raped them. He is not now a danger to society.
The criminal laws and the criminal justice system are designed to serve pragmatic ends. Prosecution is discretionary. The victim of Polanski’s crime is not in danger from him and doesn’t wish to see this case continue.
Sentencing Polaski now protects no one, helps no one, and harms the victim of the crime, by her own admission.
It satisfies some abstract notion of justice and some peoples’ desire for revenge against a person who did them no harm.
Polanski is no threat to you or me or anyone else in America. In fact, if you are concerned about preventing him from executing a delayed recidivistic episode, I suggest we’d be far beter off not bringing him back to the U.S.
You said, regarding my statement that, in a criminal case, it’s “the people” vs the defendant: It satisfies some abstract notion of justice and some peoples’ desire for revenge against a person who did them no harm.
I say: I bet it didn’t feel so “abstract” to the victim while she protested “no,no,no”, as Polanski performed multiple sex acts on her. (You can check this info in the transcript of the victim’s Grand Jury testimony at The Smoking Gun website.)
You say: In fact, if you are concerned about preventing him from executing a delayed recidivistic episode, I suggest we’d be far beter off not bringing him back to the U.S.
I say: You’re right. Maybe the newly-canonized St.Polanski should be jailed in a foreign country where the torture and raping he receives will feel less “abstract”.
I do agree that there is an area of pragmatism to consider when it comes to the media blitz the victim is now receiving.
Peter Winkler said: “Polanski did not commit a crime against society. He harmed an individual.”
That’s not how the criminal justice system operates.
Peter Winkler said: “He never committed a criminal act before or since that one episode. No one else has ever alleged that he raped them. He is not now a danger to society.”
How do you know that?
An interesting development in this case:
If you can’t reason out an argument without becoming abusive then don’t talk.
What everybody is missing is that the Polanski case is not about the crime. It’s not about what he did or didn’t do or how the girl acted, etc. It’s about the Justice System. Polanski pleaded guilty to one count of having sex with a minor. So now, all considering of the incident is over, it’s been resolved. The judge agreed to the plea bargain, but then intended to renege. That’s THE PROBLEM. So Polanski fled. To fix the problem, the Justice System needs to overturn Polanski’s status as a fugitive and then to institute the original plea bargain TO RESOLVE THE CASE. Period.
Now, as to personal opinions about ‘did the punishment fit the crime,’ and ‘did he get off lightly because he’s rich and famous,’ I understand that some people feel very, very angry at Polanski. My own feeling is that he doesn’t have to go to jail in order to pay for his crime because I believe he has paid for it ever since, although I cannot prove it, but I am not angry at him, just filled with some sympathy for the human situation he and the girl are in.
But I get it that some persons cannot get beyond the crime, and never will, and this is something that Polanski has had to face in his life ever since.
P.S. Peter’s arguments about the Justice System serving pragmatic ends and that prosecution is discretionary are very insightful and have helped me see the Polanski case in a new, wider context.
Are you the site owner? No? Then don’t tell me how the tone of my posts should sound.If I get a note from the site owner telling me to tone it down, I will respectfully do so.(Maybe I shouldn’t be so harsh; maybe I should humor the poor chap.)
Yes, Don. You’re right, Don. Poor St. Polanski has GIVEN so much to the world. He’s dressed in sackcloth and ashes to ATONE for his SINS. Those photos of St. Polanski whooping it up at a party soon after the rape must surely be doctored by evil purple and green aliens.Probably fanatical right-wing purple and green aliens. We should all beg St. Polanski’s pardon for even mentioning the subject, and kiss the hem of his garden. We should assist St. Polanski as he scuries from house to house, putting money under the pillows of children who’ve just lost their baby teeth. Dan, you have properly scolded me, and I will now repent of my “SINS” which, by right, should have sent me to jail long before now.
Oh, one more item, if I may have permission to speak: Your posts make about as much sense as a monkey dancing on a cupcake. In short, I called ’em as I read ’em. But don’t worry; I won’t respond to your posts anymore. I don’t want to catch whatever mind-scrambling disorder you’ve got.
Have a nice day!!!
Oops, I meant to write “…hem of his GARMENT.” Oh well, there’s another SIN the courts need to punish me for.
Yours in humility,
Dan, overturn his status as a fugitive? Really? Why? He IS a fugitive. He can change that status himself by returning to the court to complete sentencing.
Here’s an interesting piece addressing some of these issues:
Judge H. Lee Sarokin points out that plea agreements are entered with the defendant’s full understanding that the court isn’t bound by them and the judge may impose a sentence at his own discretion.
He also says a variation on what I said above, but with more eloquence. In essence, Polanski’s individual circumstances, the victim’s wishes and his good life over the last 30 years may well have a bearing on his sentencing. But none of that has anything to do with his extradition. He must return to court and resolve this matter in its proper venue.
Dan said: “Peter’s arguments about the Justice System serving pragmatic ends and that prosecution is discretionary are very insightful and have helped me see the Polanski case in a new, wider context.”
Peter said: “The criminal laws and the criminal justice system are designed to serve pragmatic ends. Prosecution is discretionary. The victim of Polanski’s crime is not in danger from him and doesn’t wish to see this case continue.”
Interesting logic. Since homicide victims are in no further danger from the people who murdered them, and seldom get an opportunity to posthumously express their preferences with respect to their cases, does that mean we shouldn’t prosecute murderers anymore?
Peter Wrote: “Polanski did not commit a crime against society. He harmed an individual.”
Actually, Peter you are wrong. You are ignoring a fundamental truth about our justice system and civilized society.
When you commit a crime, you aren’t just victimizing the bank you robbed, the person you’ve murdered, etc. You are violating the laws of a society, laws enacted to maintain order and uphold certain standards of acceptable conduct. That’s why it’s not “the victim v. the accused” in a court of law, it’s “the county or the state or the federal government v the accused.” What the rape victim feels about her rapist at this point is irrelevant. Polanski broke the laws of our state and must pay for those crimes.
Peter said: “He never committed a criminal act before or since that one episode.”
If you believe Polanski, that is not accurate:
Brian, I didn’t tell you what the tone of your posts should be. I told you that if you can’t reason out the arguments without being abusive then stop talking. And then you turned around, misunderstood me, became abusive again and ranted to the point of being silly. I don’t have to be the site owner to tell you to not be abusive. I just have to be a person who finds you abusive. Now stop it. When somebody finds you to be abusive and tells you to stop it and you continue, that’s rape.
Lee, you say that Polanski committed a crime against society and I agree and he agrees. But you seem to think that the trial didn’t occur. It did. He pleaded guilty. He is not on trial all over again. He did not flee from justice, he fled from a judge who agreed to a plea bargain only to go back on it. This all occurred 30 years ago and we have to respect the decisions all the parties made at that time. They made the plea deal because the girl, Samantha, would probably not give testimony at a trial. In fact, she didn’t want her mother to report the incident at all. As a result, the best the prosecution could do was the plea deal. Polanski is not a fugitive from justice, but ran from a judge who committed substantial misconduct, and so his status as a fugitive from justice should be overturned without his having to appear in the U.S. It is the obdurate and arrogant insistence on his appearing in L.A. that makes the U.S. justice system seem scary at times and prolongs the case. Why would he come to L.A. if they are going to lock him up for any number of years they decide to, dependent on their whims, and after they broke the plea bargain? If you are charged with a crime, Lee, and they make a deal and then break it, how would you feel? And would you leave the jurisdiction or not? Is justice served if you don’t? Or simply the whims of a publicity seeking judge?
I find the crime to be as heinous as you all do, but nobody is putting it behind them and taking ALL the circumstances into account after it happened. You can’t look at 13 year old girls today and say, “What if it happened to her?” and then get mad and take it out on Polanski. It wasn’t her. That didn’t happen. The girl it happened to has forgiven Polanski, and good for her, she’s doing the right thing. As we all should do instead of focusing only on the crime. Polanski’s crime is not the issue. He hurt society but he has greatly benefitted society with his films over the years. We can’t just look at the negatives as that’s not just. Polanski has paid for his crime and is paying for it every day even if persons who only look at the crime want to go on punishing him forever. Real justice is based on understanding and mercy. Once people pay for their crime they are entitled to a fresh start.
3)To deter others from committing similar acts 4)To provide the victim of the crime a sense of revenge: this is why victims or their survivors are allowed to speak during the sentencing phase and at parole hearings. Because they are the affected party.
“Actually, Peter you are wrong. You are ignoring a fundamental truth about our justice system and civilized society.
When you commit a crime, you aren’t just victimizing the bank you robbed, the person you’ve murdered, etc. You are violating the laws of a society, laws enacted to maintain order and uphold certain standards of acceptable conduct. That’s why it’s not “the victim v. the accused” in a court of law, it’s “the county or the state or the federal government v the accused.” What the rape victim feels about her rapist at this point is irrelevant. Polanski broke the laws of our state and must pay for those crimes.”
Sorry Lee, but you remain wrong. Criminal cases are stated as “The State of California v. Certain Defendant because the state acts as the vehicle for executing a criminal prosecution, not the individual. But the underlying philosophy of law is that we prosecute criminals not merely to uphold the integrity of criminal statutes but for four practical reasons: 1)To remove the perpetrator from society 2)To deter the perpetrator from repeating his act
The laws were upheld in this case up to a point. Polanski was arrested, charged and plead guilty. Many people, here and elsewhere, keep screaming for blood and saying that if Polanski was a poor schmoe, he’d of done hard time, so they feel that there was a miscarriage of justice in the Polanski case.
But Polanski isn’t a poor schmoe. He had and has the resources to hire competent counsel. The district attorney and Polanski’s attorney worked out a plea agreement. Had Rittenbrand not threatened to reneg on said plea bargain, Polanski would have probably served a relatively short imprisonment.
If Polanski is returned to California custody, there is little chance of a trial now, since the victim has stated that she dosn’t want to pursue this, let alone have to testify against him in open court and subject herself to cross examination and additional public scrutiny.
Also, the original plea agreement, which was never rescinded, may bar a trial under the doctrine of double jeapordy.
That leaves Polanski to finish the obligation of the plea agreement and to face some penalty for jumping bail.
Unfortunately, that falls far short of having Polanski’s head on a pike, as many people seem to desire.
As I said before, prosecution is discretionary. That alone disproves your premise that prosecution is done to uphold the law. If that were so, prosecutors would be legally bound to prosecute every violation of the criminal code, no matter the severity of the crime.
Since Polanski is almost certainly not going to be severly punished, given the judicial and legal circumstances of the case, I continue to maintain that pursuing this case is a waste of resources in pursuit of a judgement that will have little more than salutary value.
Roman Polanski is never going to receive the harsh punishment that many desire, even if he returns.
This comes at a time when the state is being forced to release thousands of dangerous criminals under an early release program due to insufficient state funding and the concomitant prison overcrowding.
Gary Cameron wrote:
Yes, it does. See my reply to Lee Goldberg. Also, Mr. Cameron, “Because I say so” is not a valid counter-argument. If you want to argue the philosophy of law and the function of the criminal legal system with me, you’ll have to actually construct an argument, complete with a premise and facts.
In our judicial system, which you are so desirous of returning Polanski to, there is a trivial little thing called the presumption of innocence. Unless you can prove that Roman Polanski engaged in other criminal acts, then he is not considered culpable. One can only prove a positive, not a negative, and that proof requires substantiating evidence, which you have not presented.
As to the Nastassja (Nastasia) Kinski anecdote, I don’t know which country Polanski’s sex with her occurred in, but the age of consent in Germany is 14. In France it is 15. Kinski has led a very public life and career but has never made so much as one allegation that Polanski coerced her.
You, sir, are shooting blanks.
I like Judge H. Lee Sorkin’s essay on this subject so much that I am reprinting it here in its entirety:
One can certainly understand why friends and colleagues of Roman Polanski would be upset by his arrest and possible extradition after all of these years, but the opponents of his arrest have merged arguments against his extradition with those that should be made if and when he is extradited and faces a United States court.
We must start with the fact that he is guilty of a serious crime and is a fugitive. It is alleged that his motive for flight was because the presiding judge “reneged” on the plea bargain respecting his sentence and threatened to impose a longer sentenced than agreed. I do not know what happened here, but judges are not usually parties to plea agreements. I accepted pleas for 15 years, and in each and every instance, the defendant was advised that the court was not bound by any agreement and the sentence was in the sole discretion of the court. Pleas were then entered and accepted on that basis. My guess is that the judge here indicated informally that he was not going to follow the recommendation of the parties, and then Polanski skipped. Certainly this scenario is not a defense to extradition.
There is also a suggestion that there was some misconduct on the part of the judge in respect to the sentencing. That, of course, is a matter that could be presented to the court, although it is difficult to understand how it would affect a sentence that was not imposed or served. Polanski’s lawyers attempted to present this claim of misconduct, but it was denied based upon Polanski’s refusal to appear. The court concluded that he could not avail himself of the system while defying it. He can raise that claim by presenting himself to the court.
The extradition is also opposed by his supporters on the grounds of delay. At first blush this has a great deal of appeal, until the argument is examined. It would mean that the fugitive who is most successful in eluding capture gains an advantage over one who is less successful, which, in turn, would mean that the wealthier criminal would have a greater chance of avoiding extradition than the poorer one. I had a case in which a bank robber sued the FBI for injuries he sustained in a shoot-out, claiming that the FBI should have arrested him sooner and the injuries would have been avoided! The same argument is being made here — that Polanski should have been arrested sooner, and since he was not, he can avoid extradition.
It is also pointed out that the victim does not wish the charges pursued. Here again, this is an argument to be made in respect to the future sentence, not the arrest and extradition. One can well understand her desire to put the matter to an end.
Polanski’s supporters point to his great works over the years, the tragedies in his life and the lack of any subsequent wrongdoing. Likewise, all of these matters are appropriate considerations for sentencing or subsequent proceedings, but they cannot serve to dismiss the charges for which he has pleaded guilty and for which he is now a fugitive.
In today’s New York Times, Robert Harris asks in an op-ed piece in respect to the proceedings against Polanski “So cui bono — who benefits?” The answer is the judicial system. Roman Polanski committed a serious crime and then escaped punishment. Everything that he has done since that day is relevant in enhancing or reducing his punishment, but none of it warrants dismissal. To do otherwise would put things backwards — it would reward the successful fugitive and punish the legal system.
Read more at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/judge-h-lee-sarokin/the-defenses-to-the-polan_b_304567.html
Why, O’ why, must our love affair end?
Just because of the laws St. Roman did bend?
You’ve grown on me; I’ve grown on you.
Your posts reek as bad as St. Roman’s goo.
Brian (I can’t live without you, Dan) Ritt
At the risk of boring everyone else here to tears:
Peter Winkler said: “Polanski did not commit a crime against society. He harmed an individual.”
I said: “That’s not how the criminal justice system operates.”
You replied: “Yes, it does. See my reply to Lee Goldberg. Also, Mr. Cameron, “Because I say so” is not a valid counter-argument. If you want to argue the philosophy of law and the function of the criminal legal system with me, you’ll have to actually construct an argument, complete with a premise and facts.”
I read your reply to Lee and it didn’t make sense to me. The article Lee quoted pretty much demolished your argument. However, as you requested, here’s my argument, as simply put as a simple non-lawyer can put it: A long, long time ago we as a society decided that rather than be governed by a system of vigilante justice where we pretty much took the law into our own hands and took revenge whenever we felt slighted, the state would instead act on our behalf whenever our complex and at times nonsensical laws are violated. That’s why, for instance, Nicolle Simpson’s family didn’t get to hang OJ Simpson from the nearest lamppost. That’s why we can truthfully say Polanski harmed an individual AND committed a crime against society.
Now that we’re clear on that, let’s take a look at the straw man you erected in this argument:
Peter Winkler pontificated: “He never committed a criminal act before or since that one episode. No one else has ever alleged that he raped them. He is not now a danger to society.”
I (quite innocently) then asked: “How do you know that?”
You then proceeded to lecture me about the presumption of innocence and the age of consent in various countries, when clearly the onus is on you to at least attempt to justify your argument. Let’s take a closer look at your original statements, one at a time, shall we?
“He never committed a criminal act before or since that one episode.”
Well Peter, you didn’t say he wasn’t CONVICTED of a criminal act, did you? There’s a world of difference, you know. Almost all of us have committed criminal acts, perhaps driving when we’ve had a bit too much to drink in our younger days, or smoking (but not, of course, inhaling) ganja, but we don’t get convicted for criminal acts unless we are accused, arrested and then found guilty. Do you still contend that Polanski has “never committed a criminal act before or since that one episode” when in truth you have no way of knowing that?
“No one else has ever alleged that he raped them.”
Once again, I have to ask how you know that to be an accurate statement. I can’t prove it isn’t true, but you can’t prove it is, can you?
“He is not now a danger to society.”
Here’s where it gets interesting. I asked how you know that to be true, and of course you ignored the question once again. I think it’s fair to argue that he IS probably a “danger to society” and as evidence I’d submit the following fact pattern which, since I’m not a prosecutor and you’re (presumably) not a judge, will have to suffice for our purposes:
1) We know he had sex with Natasha Kinski when she was 15 because he brags about it in his book.
2) Mark Steyn in his weekend column quotes Robert Towne, the screenwriter of Chinatown, who says he “found it hard to concentrate during writing sessions at Polanski’s place, what with “the teenyboppers that Roman would run out and take Polaroid pictures of diving off the f***ing diving board without tops on. Which was distracting. With braces.”
3) We know Polanski drugged and brutally raped a 13 year-old because he pled guilty to the charge back in the seventies.
4) In an interview with Martin Amis Polanski states: “If I had killed somebody, it wouldn’t have had so much appeal to the press, you see? But… f—ing, you see, and the young girls. Judges want to f— young girls. Juries want to f— young girls. Everyone wants to f— young girls!”
Now, this isn’t a criminal case I’ve assembled here, just a fact pattern. However, I think it establishes that Polanski believes it’s acceptable for him to have sex with underage girls. In our (North American) society rape or statutory rape is against the law and is considered a violent crime. Again, before you erect more straw men to argue with, I ask you how you know Polanski “is not now a danger to society” when all the evidence before us clearly indicates that he may well be.
Can you justify your statements, or are you “shooting blanks?”
I have already justified myself. I will only address one of your points. We know that no one has alleged an instance of sexual misconduct on Polanski’s part because there is no evidence of any such act subsequent to the episode for which he was arrested.
In my world and our justice system, as well as common sense, we make decisions and judgements based on empirical evidence, not suspicion.
In your world, you may wish to convict someone of all manner of crimes because you suspect them of committing them.
Polanski’s belief about the acceptablity of sex with young girls is irrelevant. Only his actions are.
Polanski is a celebrity and if any girl accused him of sexual misconduct, whether such an accusation was valid or not, it would have been investigated by the appropriate law enforcement agency and then probably would have been made public.
As one of my law school professors, who was also a Jesuit priest, once exhorted an student making an assertion, “Prove it!”
You can suspect Polanski of anything you want, and you seem to, but you don’t convict people based on suspicion.
“I said there was a society of men among us, bred up from their youth in the art of proving by words multiplied for the purpose, that white is black, and black is white, according as they are paid. To this society all the rest of the people are as slaves.”
Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), Anglo-Irish satirist. Gulliver, in Gulliver’s Travels, pt. 4, “A Voyage to the Country of the Houyhnhnms,” ch. 5 (1726), describing his native land.