Roman Polanski

by Kieran Healy on September 28, 2009

What happened is part of the public record, so there’s no reason to be unclear or misinformed about the nature of the crime and subsequent events. This includes the victim’s stated wish — repeatedly, later — that legal action not be continued, but also the actual facts of the crime, which was a one hundred percent real rape of a drugged 13 year-old. So, now. Who’s going to cover themselves in glory?

Thus far, I think Robert Harris is winning with “I am shocked that any man of 76, whether distinguished or not, should have been treated in such a fashion” and “One of the reasons I’m absolutely shocked and stunned by his arrest is that we have worked together extensively in Switzerland, where he has a home … “. (And he dresses so well! And The Pianist is such an affecting film!) Close behind is French Minister of Culture Frederic Mitterrand, who “strongly regrets that a new ordeal is being inflicted on someone who has already experienced so many of them”. Like Neddy at EOAW I don’t believe there’s anything more to these defenses than “He’s one of us”. But it’s early days yet. For instance, coming up fast now on the outside is Anne Applebaum of the Washington Post, who says the arrest is “outrageous” in part because,

Polanski, who panicked and fled the U.S. during that trial, has been pursued by this case for 30 years, during which time he has never returned to America, has never returned to the United Kingdom, has avoided many other countries and has never been convicted of anything else. He did commit a crime, but he has paid for the crime in many, many ways: In notoriety, in lawyers’ fees, in professional stigma. He could not return to Los Angeles to receive his recent Oscar. He cannot visit Hollywood to direct or cast a film.

See, you or I might think that not going back to the U.S. or U.K. is an action Polanski took in order to make sure that, having raped a minor and fled the country, he would not be rearrested. But you or I would be wrong. In fact these are punishments that Polanski has suffered. But tiens, it was a long time ago. Puritanical Americans simply do not have the enlightened attitude toward wine at the dinner table, quaaludes, and child rape that the Europeans do. In Ireland, for instance, there are quite a number of seventy-odd year old men (and even older) who spent their youth ministering to children and raping them — some of their victims have been able to forgive them, and many want never to speak of those events again, so why all the legal fuss? Perhaps that’s a bad example. Ireland isn’t really a European country.

In any event, I look forward to more detailed explanations of who the Real Victim is here, and more fine-grained elaboration of the criteria — other than “marvelous dinner guest” — for being issued a Get Out of Child Rape Free card.

{ 316 comments }

1

mart 09.28.09 at 12:45 am

but but but……your echo chamber is being unfair to the libertarians again!

/Steve Fuller

2

Linca 09.28.09 at 12:45 am

Well, in many places that use some descendant of the Napoleonic code, 20 years is long enough for prescription to set in and prevent trial for any crime but genocide.

3

noen 09.28.09 at 1:04 am

I think the young woman’s desire not to have this all dragged up again is understandable but I would like justice to be served. However, Polanski isn’t very high on my list of those for whom justice awaits. I think that if “having a civilization” is to mean anything it should mean that the Law is applied to all without favor. It also seems to me that one of the marks of a failing civilization is when the wealthy and the powerful are able to game the system in their favor.

When I was growing up I believed that we had a more or less fair legal system. I no longer believe that and a lot of people I think agree with me. That is an erosion of the fabric of our society. More than anything I want justice served not just to Roman Polanski, but especially to the war criminals from the last administration.

4

Kieran Healy 09.28.09 at 1:06 am

However, Polanski isn’t very high on my list of those for whom justice awaits.

In parallel fashion, one might think he wouldn’t be very high on anyone’s list of those on whose behalf one would be outraged, but there you go.

5

bob mcmanus 09.28.09 at 1:10 am

Jeralyn Merritt isn’t joining the lynch mob.

Regardless of the offense, he was entitled to be treated fairly. He gave up his right to a trial in exchange for a sentence concession that was going to be denied him. He should be entitled, at a minimum, to withdraw the plea. If there was misconduct on the part of the prosecutor or judge, the case should be dismissed.

In the 30 plus years he’s been gone, he’s lived under a cloud and the threat of extradition. He hasn’t committed another crime. He’s not a threat to anyone.

6

bob mcmanus 09.28.09 at 1:15 am

“he wouldn’t be very high on anyone’s list of those on whose behalf one would be outraged”

“where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat?”

Polanski had been in and out of Switzerland for thirty years, and had a house in Gstaad.

The arrest was political.

7

Kieran Healy 09.28.09 at 1:16 am

the lynch mob

See above in re: The Real Victim Here.

he’s lived under a cloud and the threat of extradition

Funny how fleeing the country leaves you living under the threat of extradition.

8

Matt 09.28.09 at 1:20 am

Anna Applebaum has the moral sense of a toad so her behavior doesn’t surprise me at all.

9

P O'Neill 09.28.09 at 1:26 am

Er… won’t Anne Applebaum’s husband be one of the people trying to spring Polanski from Swiss custody? We might need a blogger ethics panel.

10

richard 09.28.09 at 1:29 am

You are so right that this is an America vs Europe issue, and Europe’s coming up short again, with their faux civilisation and the smell of old aristocrats everywhere. I’m looking forward to Mark Steyn’s analysis that it’s all because those effete Europeans tolerate the hijab – they’re probably all child molesters morally.

11

bob mcmanus 09.28.09 at 1:44 am

7:A lynch mob remains a lynch mob even if the hanged is guilty. The victims of a lynch mob include the Law and civil society.

We have a health care bill in process, that could be tolerable or could be graft on wheels, for anyone wondering:”Why now”. This is the Obama administration, Bushlite plus smart symbolism to distract the base.

12

Kieran Healy 09.28.09 at 1:51 am

Devious, bob, devious. I can see Emanuel in the situation room now, his finger hovering over a red button. Then Obama says, “Now, Rahm — flood their Netflix queues!”

13

Down and Out of Sài Gòn 09.28.09 at 2:04 am

You are so right that this is an America vs Europe issue, and Europe’s coming up short again, with their faux civilisation and the smell of old aristocrats everywhere.

It must be a funny old “Europe” then, because it doesn’t include Switzerland. The US chose that country to target their provisional arrest warrant, and the Swiss used the warrant to arrest Mr. Polanski.

14

kth 09.28.09 at 2:11 am

Uh, a lynch mob is only a lynch mob if the accused is denied a trial. The only one who wanted to deny Roman Polanski his day in court was Roman Polanski.

15

The Raven 09.28.09 at 2:11 am

I suppose there’s some argument to be made for doing “justice” in this case, but I think it’s no favor to the actual victim to drag this up again. WtF?

16

Janice 09.28.09 at 2:35 am

It is interesting how so many people are turning the situation around to be shocked and sorry for Mr. Polanski. He’s been a fugitive for decades.The only shock is that authorities finally were arsed enough to do something to apprehend him, having foregone many opportunities over the years.

Whether or not he’s a threat to anyone at this point is moot. There’s still the fact that justice has not been served.

17

Jack 09.28.09 at 2:36 am

I agree with The Raven. Justice expires after 30 years. It’s written on the bottle!

18

Omega Centauri 09.28.09 at 2:36 am

I’ve always been an outlier about statute of limitations stuff. I can recall some time during my formative years hearing that a persons atoms are completely replaced after seven years. So I figure any punishment being meted out for an action at least that long ago, is punishing the wrong person, i.e. the prepretrator is now simply composed of the unfortunate atoms which replaced the original person. I doubt the science was correct. But my feeling about having some reasonable time limit on prosecution remains.

19

Jack 09.28.09 at 2:37 am

I’m with mcmanus, too, btw. Definitely a conspiracy. Definitely. Definitely.

20

Kieran Healy 09.28.09 at 2:39 am

But my feeling about having some reasonable time limit on prosecution remains.

He was, in fact, prosecuted, and pled guilty.

21

jeer9 09.28.09 at 2:42 am

Don’t be distracted! This is a plot to make us forget the much more serious crimes committed by ACORN.

22

Jack 09.28.09 at 2:57 am

Oops. Almost forgot the ritual (thanks, Noen!):

[Discussion X complete]

Bush! Bush Bush Bush! Bush bush bush bush bush bush bush!!! Bush! Amen.

23

brenton 09.28.09 at 3:04 am

I’ve always been an outlier about statute of limitations stuff.

+

I can recall some time during my formative years hearing that a persons atoms are completely replaced after seven years. So I figure any punishment being meted out for an action at least that long ago, is punishing the wrong person, i.e. the prepretrator is now simply composed of the unfortunate atoms which replaced the original person.

=

I’m assuming by “I’ve always been an outlier about …” you mean “for no more than the past seven years, the atoms comprising the being socially known as me but not comprising a person lasting any longer than that have been an outlier about …”

24

brenton 09.28.09 at 3:13 am

More seriously, re: Omega Centauri, I think there’s a difference in personhood/moral-responsibility ascriptions between Polanski’s situation and the example (I’m tempted to say it’s from Parfit but could be wrong here) of the old man who was in a bar fight 70 years ago that he’s long forgotten. Polanski’s actively been on the run for the past 30 years, to the extent that he’s shaped his whole professional life around not having to own up to the crime he committed. By his own efforts to duck legal responsibility, he’s created continuity with the person who committed the crime. I know this doesn’t fly if you want to create a strict identity relation between atomic composition and personhood, as your post implies, but I don’t see why that’s a particularly helpful way to think of personhood if you want to make moral-responsibility ascriptions at all.

25

Joaquin Tamiroff 09.28.09 at 3:18 am

Kieran Healy, maybe you should read the link in comment#5

26

Fr. 09.28.09 at 3:20 am

Linca: Polanski has been convicted in abstentia, there is no prescription in that case AFAIK, even in civil law countries.

bob: it’s not a “lynch mob”, it’s a “come-back-to-your-country-and-spend-time-in-jail-for-drugging-and-raping-a-13-year-old-girl” mob.

I find it surprising that anyone would defend the right for someone to escape justice, especially for rape and regardless of that person’s qualities as a filmmaker.

Could Polanski’s defenders please state the list of conditions that make the act of drugging and raping a minor acceptable to them?

27

Daniel Rosa 09.28.09 at 3:20 am

Moral indignation is jealousy with a halo. – H.G. Wells

28

Steve Fuller 09.28.09 at 3:27 am

Even from outside the echo chamber, it looks like Polanski is in the wrong — that is, unless he (or his lawyers) can show that he is indeed being victimised, in the sense that were he not this famous guy, the long arm of US law would have given up chasing him around the world a long time ago.

29

Joaquin Tamiroff 09.28.09 at 3:38 am

Trying again.
Read the link in #5

30

nolo 09.28.09 at 3:43 am

Polanski is in the wrong, with an asterisk, but still. He fled the country when a plea deal that he thought he had knit up (and that would have had him serving a couple of months, maybe) went sour because it turned out the judge wasn’t going to take the prosecution’s sentencing recommendation. He could have withdrawn his guilty plea (and guilty he had pled) and fought the deal, but no. Unlike so many other folks, he had the wherewithal to bolt to gentler European climes rather than stand for his crime. I have no sympathy. If black kids in my town have to stand in front of the judge every day, so should Roman Polanski.

31

bob mcmanus 09.28.09 at 3:48 am

Could Polanski’s defenders please state the list of conditions that make the act of drugging and raping a minor acceptable to them?

Check it out. No way I’m playing defense in discourse this vile.

32

Barack Obama 09.28.09 at 4:03 am

Yes, when someone rapes a 13-year-old, the playing field becomes really unfair. I’m like a jackass 7-footer dunking in a little kids’ league. Sorry Bob.

33

Jamaicafest 09.28.09 at 4:30 am

Extradition to the U.S.A. is not a done deal yet . Roman Polanski will have a hearing before the courts in Switzerland and they will make the final decision.

34

Jeff Fecke 09.28.09 at 4:42 am

He was, in fact, prosecuted, and pled guilty.

Funny how the Polanski defenders tend to gloss over that fact.

35

nickhayw 09.28.09 at 5:06 am

Check it out. No way I’m playing defense in discourse this vile.

Disgusting, isn’t it? Much better to sweep all that ugliness underneath the carpet.

36

a 09.28.09 at 5:23 am

Forty years later and still baying for blood? I’m afraid I just don’t get it.

37

Ceri B. 09.28.09 at 5:30 am

“Baying for blood” is one of those descriptions calculated to draw out bad responses, of course.

In a world of war criminals and environmental plunderers, Polanski isn’t someone I’d really go out of my way to hunt down. But he did confess to drugging and vaginally and anally raping a thirteen-year-old girl, who was pleading with him to stop. I think that people who rape children do deserve the attention of the law, even when they’re very talented film makers who’ve lived comfortably and productively for a long time. It promotes the kind of society I’d like to live in to let people know that being a great artist and wealthy and well-connected aren’t in themselves guarantees of getting away with it forever.

Now, the trial was a mess in some important ways, I gather. It’s quite possible that a careful examination will conclude that the prosecution simply hopelessly ruined their case, and that the state can’t prove Polanski’s guilt to a jury within the law beyond a reasonable shadow of a doubt. Or for that matter it might conclude that the weight of misconduct simply voids out the original conclusions. I’m okay with that, too. I just want to see a competent attentive legal review, and action that’s compatible with it.

38

nickhayw 09.28.09 at 5:44 am

Forty years later and still baying for blood? I’m afraid I just don’t get it.

Like it’s the ‘lynch mob’ bringing things to the fore? That’s a neat thing you’ve done there. Not three months ago Polanski was still trying to have his case overturned.

And what’s not to get? What is it about Polanski that is incompatible with justice?

39

cb on bonanzle 09.28.09 at 5:47 am

Manson follower Susan Atkins who had killed Roman Polanski’s wife, Sharon Tate died a couple of days ago and now this announced arrest of Roman Polanski.

What I can’t understand is, how did Polanski manage to evade the law all these years with the so called technology of cameras and GPS, etc. There is just NO way that one can hide from the law with all of technology that is out there.

Something is just screwy here. I think the authorities DID know where he was hiding all these years. And one has to question as to why did they decide to arrest him NOW and not arrest him from years ago? Not to mention that this is going to cost taxpayers money for a trial that will drag on for years.

This is another example of how there is no such thing as “justice” in the justice system in the USA. Criminals go free while the innocent and victims get sent to prison.

40

Henri Vieuxtemps 09.28.09 at 5:50 am

Is this at all similar to the Einhorn case?

41

Lee A. Arnold 09.28.09 at 6:54 am

I’m surprised no one has brought up Sharon Tate. Detailed crime scene photos are available on the internet, although I wouldn’t advise anyone to look at them. And California outlawed the death sentences four years later; Manson and the others no doubt got quite a good laugh out of that! Add booze and drugs and who knows how tortured the guy was? It doesn’t excuse child rape of course, but I believe that anyone who has a personal opinion about what Roman Polanski deserves, one way or the other, should very quietly exercise the better part of valor.

42

Axel Gelfert 09.28.09 at 7:11 am

Puritanical Americans simply do not have the enlightened attitude toward wine at the dinner table, quaaludes, and child rape that the Europeans do.

You may think whatever you like about Polanski and his apologists, but this is hardly a reason to go into a diatribe against ‘old Europe’ and its inhabitants, who presumably all are wine-drinking, cheese-eating, Volvo-driving, child-molesters. It’s sad that even liberals in the U.S. find it necessary to prove their mettle by bashing Europe. Maybe one has to adopt this rhetoric in the U.S. (especially as a liberal or European) in order to deflect potential criticism from right-wing nutcases, but pandering to such prejudices only reinforces them.

43

a 09.28.09 at 7:25 am

“What is it about Polanski that is incompatible with justice?”

It’s forty years later. He’s 76. He has committed (to my knowledge) no crime since; to the contrary, through his films, he has brought good into the world.

44

Chris Bertram 09.28.09 at 7:27 am

Yes, I’ve always wondered why a different moral standard applies to Polanski than to Gary Glitter.

45

a 09.28.09 at 7:27 am

“It’s forty years later.” 32 to be exact…

46

JamesP 09.28.09 at 7:31 am

And he’s shown absolutely no remorse and received no punishment for what he did in those forty years.

I love the way some people are all ‘Well, if you have to keep HARPING ON about him anally raping a 13-year old, but I think we all know who the REAL VICTIM is here.’

47

JoB 09.28.09 at 7:32 am

I didn’t know the victim wanted to drop it. If so, that’s maybe the only valid reason to drop it as the little justice that will still be served will be outdone by the injustice of a victim being drawn – again – into a situation she does not desire.

48

alex 09.28.09 at 7:33 am

“through his films, he has brought good into the world.”

Ah-hahahahahahaha! Ah-hahahahahahahahahahahaha! Oh, stop, you’re killing me!

49

a 09.28.09 at 7:38 am

“I love the way some people…” Who are these people? Are you incapable of understanding that, even though Polanski may not be a victim, 32 years later he is not worthy of punishment?

50

James 09.28.09 at 7:44 am

I think there’s too many layers of sarcasm in this post and I can’t tell what is really meant. Surely Anne Applebaum is an American, not European?

51

Jonathan M 09.28.09 at 7:48 am

Frankly, I don’t see it as fruitful for the criminal justice system to be in the business of punishing people. It should exist in order to a) prevent people from harming others by excluding them from society and b) reform them so that they can safely re-integrate it.

Obviously, if you want to see Polanski raked over the coals in revenge for what he did then the current situation is unacceptable. I see no benefit in punishing him. Even the woman he raped has no interest in having him punished. So who does benefit from it? Our sense of propriety? Swiss politicians hoping to keep some preserve of secrecy about their banking system by currying favour with the US? An American justice system wanting to grab onto the offender who got away?

There is nothing to be gained from jailing Polanski except for the satisfaction of our baser and more retrograde conceptions of justice.

52

Henri Vieuxtemps 09.28.09 at 7:52 am

…32 years later he is not worthy of punishment?

In that case, he should return to the US, turn himself in, and hire a lawyer to file an appeal based on this theory.

53

a 09.28.09 at 7:55 am

“In that case, he should return to the US, turn himself in, and hire a lawyer to file an appeal based on this theory.”

I don’t follow your logic. Surely you understand the difference between what is legal and what is moral.

54

Henri Vieuxtemps 09.28.09 at 8:09 am

Oh, it’s about morality. I misunderstood, I thought it was a pragmatic argument: it happened a long time ago, the guy is old, he hasn’t raped anyone since, it wouldn’t serve any purpose, so give the guy a break.

I would be interested to hear why it’s morally wrong to send him to jail.

55

a 09.28.09 at 8:14 am

Henri, 09.28.09 at 7:25 am (no 34 at this writing) is a moral argument.

56

otto 09.28.09 at 8:17 am

Extradite him – seems fine to me.
Anyone know why this has happened now? P. Seems to have been in Switzerland alot over the years.

57

North 09.28.09 at 8:43 am

Here’s the message of those defending Roman Polanski: if you have the money and are part of the cultured class, you can get away with rape. Even if you get caught. You don’t even have to apologize – Polanski hasn’t, and one reason he was only convicted of statutory rape is that his attorneys planned to make the girl’s previous sexual experiences an issue in the trial (which is no longer legal).

There are reasonable things to be said about whether the victim’s preference for the case to stay closed should be honored. But defending Polanski? Arguing that because he has suffered from violence, the violence he commits should be excused (an argument that gets much less sympathy when poor people make it)? That because it was a long time ago, it shouldn’t be important, even though he’s never expressed remorse? It tells women that our bodies and consent don’t matter, and men that women’s bodies and consent don’t matter (if they have money and privilege). Wrong message, folks.

58

JoB 09.28.09 at 8:55 am

46 – it seems Roman sneaked in the previous times but that this time the US authorities were on the move with their request before he entered. This means he could be served. It is not that it is without effort that you dodge a US court outside of the US.

(and maybe the Swiss justice wanted to make friends with the US justice because anything’s lots better than giving up the bank secrecy)

59

Linca 09.28.09 at 9:18 am

@Fr. :

As far as I know, in France, if nobody has put you in jail 10 years after the sentence was pronounced, the penalty is erased because of prescription…

http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sanction_p%C3%A9nale_en_France#Prescription

60

Chris Bertram 09.28.09 at 9:56 am

#36 _this is hardly a reason to go into a diatribe against ‘old Europe’ and its inhabitants_

No ear for irony? This guy has no ear for out and out sarcasm!

61

JoB 09.28.09 at 10:28 am

53 – but I guess that rule is overridden if they actively sought you and you actively evaded ‘em, I’m not sure but would think that the terms would start all over again at any activity in the file.

62

Laura 09.28.09 at 10:47 am

It’s not as if Polanski is the only rapist who has ever avoided being sent to prison. Is it.

63

a 09.28.09 at 11:09 am

“if you have the money and are part of the cultured class, you can get away with rape. …”

“It tells women that our bodies and consent don’t matter…”

OK, let’s take another scenario: in the 1970s someone kills an individual in cold blood. The murderer goes underground and then lives a decent life, coaches the neighborhood soccer team, etc. , evidently is no longer like the individual who has murdered. His identity is now discovered. Your reaction would be to hang ‘em high?

64

Chris Bertram 09.28.09 at 11:30 am

#57 _Your reaction would be to hang ‘em high?_

Well not exactly. But here’s a case of someone who committed serious crimes in the 1970s and then evaded capture until the 2000s …. they ended up doing some time.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sara_Jane_Olson

65

dsquared 09.28.09 at 11:31 am

The murderer goes underground

He didn’t go underground though, did he? He went off and lived in Europe (I still don’t understand why no other European country has extradited him years ago), maintaining a high-profile life, trying to get the charges overturned and generally mocking justice. There’s a very general interest of us all in making an example of people who try to very publicly get away with serious offences, which is why I was also in favour of letting Ronnie Biggs die in jail. This isn’t close to being a borderline case.

66

henqiguai 09.28.09 at 11:39 am

re: a @9/28 11:09
“OK, let’s take another scenario: in the 1970s someone kills an individual in cold blood. The murderer goes underground and then lives a decent life, coaches the neighborhood soccer team, etc. , evidently is no longer like the individual who has murdered. His identity is now discovered. Your reaction would be to hang ‘em high”

Well, in these United States, I believe most, if not all, jurisdictions recognize no statute of limitations on murder.

67

kth 09.28.09 at 12:07 pm

Your reaction would be to hang ‘em high?

I’m against the death penalty, but a long prison sentence would be perfectly appropriate in the circumstances you describe.

68

a 09.28.09 at 12:10 pm

“they ended up doing some time.”

So, from the fact that they ended up doing some time, you affirm that they *should* have ended up doing some time?

“He didn’t go underground though, did he?” I put in underground to make the scenario plausible (and also in line with events that have actually happened). Take it out, if you prefer.

“There’s a very general interest of us all in making an example of people who try to very publicly get away with serious offences.” Sure, if you caught him in the beginning of the 80s, no problem. But you didn’t. There’s now 32-years of water under the bridge. He’s 76. If you want an example of people who try to very publicly get away with serious offences, hang Yoo.

“This isn’t close to being a borderline case.” We agree, at least, on that.

69

nickhayw 09.28.09 at 12:14 pm

the prepretrator is now simply composed of the unfortunate atoms which replaced the original person

and

evidently is no longer like the individual who has murdered

are interesting. Polanski is fine because, like the proverbial ship with all its planks replaced, he is no longer the same person. Wonderful for discussions of personal identity, horrendously impracticable for law.

Or, Polanski is fine because he has ‘rehabilitated’ himself, has disowned or disavowed his former identity. I’m not entirely sure that this is commensurate with his trying very, very hard to have his case overturned. That doesn’t speak to me of a ‘rehabilitated’ man.

At any rate, what is at stake is not whether or not Polanski has atoned for his crimes (by making good movies…hah) but rather whether or not Polanski is going to play by the rules. There is nothing ‘retrograde’ about refusing to discriminate between categories of rapist based on their contribution to their arts.

70

a 09.28.09 at 12:24 pm

“Wonderful for discussions of personal identity, horrendously impracticable for law.”

Why are statutes of limitation horrendously impracticable?

71

ffrancis 09.28.09 at 12:30 pm

But… but, Polanski hasn’t been able to live in or even visit the United States in all those 32 years. Surely that’s punishment enough…

72

JoB 09.28.09 at 12:36 pm

65 – don’t know the details but I guess it’s because he holds a French passport and there will be agreements not to extradite ….

73

nickhayw 09.28.09 at 12:36 pm

I didn’t say statutes of limitation are horrendously impracticable; I was implying that a legal system which relied on non-bodily identity would be horrendously impracticable. My quibble was not with the principle of a statute of limitations, but rather with the idea of justifying a statue of limitations on an unworkable theory of personal identity.

As a matter of course I don’t think that statutory rape (as an indictable offence) should be subject to a statute of limitations.

74

bob mcmanus 09.28.09 at 12:38 pm

37:Just FYI, since there is a lot of misinformation going around

1) Polanski plead guilty to statutory rape. If, as Ceri claims, Polanski “confessed” to those horrendous crimes in all details, I would like a link to the signed document

2) The description and narrative of the event are mostly from the girl’s Grand Jury testimony, not subject to cross examination. I am pretty sure it is practice in America to not accept Grand Jury testimony as gospel truth, this is a large of the reason GJ proceeding are kept secret and sealed.

Note that none of this is saying anything about the credibility of the girl’s testimony or about Polanki’s “guilt” which would have to be determined in a trial. It is about following certain procedures that protect defendants, and about trying people in the press and media.

Now, I suppose we will hear again, that Polanski was convicted, and we don’t need a trial. Polanski was convicted of statutory rape, not the horrors listed in 37.

75

Linca 09.28.09 at 12:47 pm

@JoB

I just checked, and no ; the prescription starts at the moment the sentence is set ; and if the State can’t apply the sentence in 20 years (for crimes), the statute of limitations kicks in.

76

nickhayw 09.28.09 at 12:51 pm

Polanski was convicted of statutory rape, not the horrors listed in 37.

That’s some fine chicanery. There are ‘the horrors’ that the ‘lynch mob’ attributes to Polanski, and then there is plain ol’ respectable statutory rape.

Sure. OK. So he’s pleaded guilty to statutory rape. This implies (at the least) vaginal penetration. He did not plead guilty to ‘drug-assisted anal rape’…but how does this make him any more defensible? He still raped a 13 year old.

77

Sheelzebub 09.28.09 at 12:58 pm

Oh, seriously, people. STFU about lynching. Black men (and also Black women) were lynched by White people after being accused of serious crimes and minor offenses (or for just being “uppity.”). The murderers got away with it because they were White, many of them were wealthy and powerful, and besides, who cared about a bunch of tortured and murdered Black people? Unlike Polanski, these murdered Black people didn’t have wealthy defenders rushing to their sides–for Chrissake, they didn’t even have trials. Polanski is a rich White man with power and connections who was never in danger of being tortured and hanged while White racists picknicked and watched the show. Stop trivilalizing the very real horror of racism and lynching.

Also: not shedding a tear for a rich White man with power and connections, and thinking that a man who drugged and raped a 13-year-old should do some jail time is NOT the same as wanting someone to hang. FFS. I realize that when a rich White guy so much as stubs his toe, it’s a tragedy of Biblical proportions to some of you all, but seriously–drop the histrionics. Doing time isn’t the same as being hanged.

Oh, and BTW? Drugging and fucking a 13-year-old is rape. There is no gray area there. Even if Polanski’s half-cocked BS story is true (her mother set me up! WAH!) he knew damn well how old she was, and he knew damn well you don’t drug teenagers. He was 44 years old at the time. I’m younger than he was and I know you don’t do that shit.

And for real–plenty of women have had to deal with horrific violence, and most of us manage to not rape children. The women who have raped teenagers, have been, you know, prosecuted. With nary a peep from the Free Polanski brigade.

78

a 09.28.09 at 1:03 pm

“I didn’t say statutes of limitation are horrendously impracticable; I was implying that a legal system which relied on non-bodily identity would be horrendously impracticable. My quibble was not with the principle of a statute of limitations, but rather with the idea of justifying a statue of limitations on an unworkable theory of personal identity.”

Surely a morally sound justification for statutes of limitations is that people change.

79

nickhayw 09.28.09 at 1:13 pm

That would depend on what you mean by ‘change’. If you mean ‘some atoms have replaced others’, then no. If you mean ‘genuinely rehabilitated’, then perhaps. In the case of Polanski, from what I gather of the situation, I don’t feel that his ‘change’ is morally significant.

80

JoB 09.28.09 at 1:14 pm

74 – that probably answers 65, as a French citizen under French law he’s free so no EU-nation is allowed to extradite him under justice conventions between EU members.

81

bob mcmanus 09.28.09 at 1:17 pm

78:It is not “chicanery” to ask that Grand Jury testimony not be considered the facts and focus of public discourse. It is kept secret for good reason.

This has nothing to do with Polanski’s guilt or innocence, not a defense of Polanski, nor about what punishment he deserves.

82

oudemia 09.28.09 at 1:20 pm

@65 and 74: Is still true even though Polanski and his lawyers are still filing motions, etc. on his case? That doesn’t “restart the clock” on prescription? (I honestly have no idea.)

83

a 09.28.09 at 1:21 pm

“That would depend on what you mean by ‘change’. If you mean ‘some atoms have replaced others’, then no. If you mean ‘genuinely rehabilitated’, then perhaps. In the case of Polanski, from what I gather of the situation, I don’t feel that his ‘change’ is morally significant.”

What would constitute morally significant change for you? In Polanski’s case.

84

Tea 09.28.09 at 1:29 pm

Yes, people change. But you must agree that it’s at least a little bit unfair that, while poor people change in prison, Polanski gets to do it in Switzerland, enjoying his riches and filming Oscar-winning movies?

85

nickhayw 09.28.09 at 1:35 pm

What would constitute morally significant change for you? In Polanski’s case.

The kind of change that would result in his return to court. Change that involved a willingness to be held properly accountable.

86

oudemia 09.28.09 at 1:35 pm

It should also be noted that what prompted RP’s flight after his guilty plea was the judge’s intention to have RP serve the remaining 48 days of his initial 90 day sentence. 48 days! And for an artist. C’est affreux!

87

Vigilante 09.28.09 at 1:46 pm

Polanski’s crime of statutory rape case may have resolved itself as a victimless crime by now with his undisclosed settlement with Samantha Geimer. But his crime of flight to prevent justice has not been resolved. And it cannot be resolved until such time as he is remanded into custody of the same court from which he has been a fugitive for three decades.

88

Axel Gelfert 09.28.09 at 2:12 pm

#60: No ear for irony? This guy has no ear for out and out sarcasm!

Oh, right. I forgot that the original piece is brimming with subtleties of tone and that Europeans have no ear for irony. Except those resident in the British (and other remote) Isles, of course.

89

a 09.28.09 at 2:14 pm

“The kind of change that would result in his return to court. Change that involved a willingness to be held properly accountable.”

So the only way that Polanski can show that he has changed and does not deserve punishment, is by accepting punishment?

90

Chris Bertram 09.28.09 at 2:18 pm

#88 Yes, I’m told the Faeroese have an especially well-developed sensibility in this respect.

91

Anderson 09.28.09 at 2:33 pm

So the only way that Polanski can show that he has changed and does not deserve punishment, is by accepting punishment?

No, the only way he can show that he does not deserve punishment is to prove either (1) that he did not actually give drugs to, or have sex with, the girl, or (2) that morality, law, and common-sense decency are misplaced illusions.

Does ANYONE defending Polanski on this thread actually HAVE a 13-year-old daughter, niece, whatever? Is there any recognition at all that fucking 13-year-olds is really, really loathsome behavior?

92

anon 09.28.09 at 2:45 pm

timing is suspicious, i agree. but not because a purportedly ‘bush-lite’ obama wants to distract the american public from an eviscerated, post-baucus rewrite of healthcare reform legislation. swiss authorities and the legal system are in deep shit because of the UBS tax evasion scandal. and i wouldn’t be surprised if polanski is being served up as a fig leaf of sorts, to assuage irate US officials . . .

93

Charrua 09.28.09 at 2:55 pm

Guys, he’s 76 years old!!! He’s gonna be seriously ill and in his way to the grave in a couple of years, tops. I don’t feel any sympathy for him (although I think that finite crime fighting resources could have had better uses), but surely getting the State of California to pay for the medical expenses during his final years is good for his heirs, right?

94

Michael Drake 09.28.09 at 3:09 pm

Yes, obviously anyone who in this day and age would suggest that Polanski “made a terrible mistake but [has] paid for it” is beyond the pale.

95

Jacob Christensen 09.28.09 at 3:10 pm

Puritanical Americans simply do not have the enlightened attitude toward wine at the dinner table, quaaludes, and child rape that the Europeans do.

I recognise the sarcasm. But if a Danish film director had done the same (or a foreign director had assaulted a 13 year old Danish girl), I very much doubt if he would be able to finance another film even after being released from prison.

But then again, “Scandinavia” isn’t really “Europe”.

96

JoB 09.28.09 at 3:12 pm

82 – the filing is with the US justice so it won’t restart anything in France, his situation in French justice will be determining who can and may extradite him. (I guess)

I still believe that if the victim wants to let it go that should count. In the end, if he winds up in a court and a prison she’ll be facing the media courts. If there’s a pragmatic argument to leave it, I believe that’s the only one: spare the victim the attention she does not want.

97

JoB 09.28.09 at 3:15 pm

From the wikipedia of 93 (yeah, yeah, I know):

That same month, Samantha Geimer filed to have the charges against Polanski dismissed from court, saying that decades of publicity as well as the prosecutor’s focus on lurid details continues to traumatize her and her family.

Should count for something, no?

98

novakant 09.28.09 at 3:40 pm

Really didn’t expect this place to sink to the level of the IMDb message boards (frequented mainly by fourteen-year olds, or so it seems) – oh well.

99

Dave Weeden 09.28.09 at 4:27 pm

One thing I didn’t know/had forgotten reported in the Telegraph:

After having sex with the girl in a bedroom, Polanksi made her promise not to tell her mother about their “little secret”.

That’s just classic child abuser behaviour. Statutory rape, my arse!

Novakant @ 97, exactly who are you accusing of behaving like 14-year-olds?

Charrua @ 92, maybe I’m missing something, but if he’s extradited back to the US, isn’t there also a tax issue? He’s made a few successful films in those 32 years, and probably invested some of that. He probably owes more than any putative medical costs. Just saying.

100

Henri Vieuxtemps 09.28.09 at 4:29 pm

Should count for something, no?

Sure it should. That’s why they have all those appeals, parole boards, clemency boards and so on. But you can’t say ‘fuck ya all, catch me if you can’ and simultaneously ask for clemency. When you get caught you take what’s coming to you.

101

dsquared 09.28.09 at 4:35 pm

In context, “behaving like 14 year olds” is perhaps an unfortunate simile.

102

novakant 09.28.09 at 5:16 pm

exactly who are you accusing of behaving like 14-year-olds?

Everybody and nobody in particular.

If you dare to look at the IMDb message boards, you will notice that it is rather rare that somebody posts something intelligent and meaningful about the aesthetics of a film or a director – probably because that’s pretty hard. Conversely, threads à la “Polanski should rot in hell”, “this film is totally racist/misogynist/homophobic/anti-American/offends my religious beliefs” or even “Lars von Trier killed a donkey, what a bastard”, are a dime a dozen and generally get a gazillion responses – probably because moral outrage is something most people enjoy displaying and affords ample opportunity to ride assorted hobby-horses.

Why is Polanski brought up again and again? Because he’s famous. Why is he famous? Because he’s a great director. But since his moral transgressions have nothing to do with his films (at least as far as I can tell) on which his fame rests, those concerned about abuse of minors should be much more worried about the other gazillion rapists who got and continue to get away with it and what to do about that, than about a 35 year old case where the victim has forgiven the perpetrator and repeatedly requested that people shut up about it, because the media attention hurts her and her family emotionally.

103

Loneoak 09.28.09 at 5:32 pm

After having sex with raping the girl in a bedroom

Fixed.

104

Sheelzebub 09.28.09 at 5:40 pm

Indeed, novakant. Because we silly feminists never talk about “the other gazillion rapists who got and continue to get away with it.” Gosh, thank you so much for letting us know what our priorities are. You know, one thing that allows these assholes to get away with it is attitudes surrounding rape–much like the attitudes in full technicolor glory in the defense of Roman Polanski. Another thing that allows the “gazillion” of free rapists to get away with it is the fact that they do tend to have more power (gender, race, financial) than the women and girls they rape. Sort of like Polanski does.

A lot of us are pissed off because, “the other gazillion rapists who got and continue to get away with it,” are excused with the same tropes Polanski and his rape apologist allies use: she was a slut, he was set up, it was so loooong ago, and he’s such a nice guy now, ZOMG! lynch mob!, he had a lot of trauma in his life, and holding him accountable is just so traumatic for him, poor widdle baby.

And yes, the rape survivor doesn’t want this dredged up. Considering the way Polanski and his rape-apologist asshat allies savaged her and her family, I can’t blame her for not wanting this revisited (I mean, come the fuck ON. Slut-baiting a 13-year-old? Give me a fucking break). You know what would have saved this BS from happening now? If Polanski had not fled the country at the time and had his day in court.

105

Substance McGravitas 09.28.09 at 5:47 pm

Roman Polanski is so famous that other rapists are not getting their due. Ignore him and look over there.

106

Malaclypse 09.28.09 at 6:01 pm

You know what would have saved this BS from happening now? If Polanski had not fled the country at the time and had his day in court.

The other thing that would have prevented all this is Polanski not drugging and/or raping a child. Aside from that, what Sheelzebub said.

107

CF 09.28.09 at 6:14 pm

I don’t give a damn about American justice. It’s rotten and I’m fed up with them. They should stay on their stupid continent and leave us all alone. Free Polanski!!!
Search over internet Teo Peter vs VanGoethem…

108

Dingo 09.28.09 at 6:35 pm

If the victim doesn’t want him prosecuted (and, she doesn’t), then whom is this action being enacted for?

109

Anderson 09.28.09 at 6:42 pm

Guys, he’s 76 years old He’s gonna be seriously ill and in his way to the grave in a couple of years, tops.

“Because I fled justice, I am now too old to serve time. Forgive me!”

These commenters are effectively recommending that anyone convicted of a serious crime should escape and lie low … or lie famous-and-afar.

I never found the “but it’s been decades!” argument persuasive in the cases of concentration-camp guards or Klaus Barbie, and I don’t find it persuasive in the case of Hollywood’s most honored child molester, either.

110

Sheelzebub 09.28.09 at 6:47 pm

OK, let’s take another scenario: in the 1970s someone kills an individual in cold blood. The murderer goes underground and then lives a decent life, coaches the neighborhood soccer team, etc. , evidently is no longer like the individual who has murdered. His identity is now discovered. Your reaction would be to hang ‘em high?

Holding someone accountable for their acts /= “[hanging] ‘em high,” but nice try with the hyperbole. I do think they should be tried and, if found guilty, sentenced for their crime. It’s great that they went on to be nice people (as far as we know) but they still have to be held accountable.

111

Anderson 09.28.09 at 6:54 pm

The murderer goes underground and then lives a decent life, coaches the neighborhood soccer team, etc. , evidently is no longer like the individual who has murdered.

The assumption here seems to be that murderers do not live (otherwise) decent lives, coach soccer teams, etc.

Or at least, that murderers who do these things are deserving of a little slack, as opposed to murderers who … live indecent lives? … fail to coach Little League?

Exactly what difference does it make to the victim whether she was murdered by Ned Flanders or not?

112

novakant 09.28.09 at 6:59 pm

I can’t blame her for not wanting this revisited

That’s very big of you – so how about we do what she has repeatedly and publicly asked for.

113

Jason 09.28.09 at 7:01 pm

“Puritanical Americans simply do not have the enlightened attitude toward wine at the dinner table, quaaludes, and child rape that the Europeans do.”

Correct.

If he were a member of the clergy in America his church could simply pay the victims on his behalf and never have his child rape brought to press or to court. So that Get Out of Child Rape Free card that you mention exists in America but usually only for priests.

If you spend your life fooling the uneducated masses into wasting their time and money at your church all is well.

If you contribute world award winning art in the form of film… not so much.

The man should be brought to justice for his crimes but lets not pretend that America is some great arbiter of justice. America does in fact fail to have an enlightened attitude about most social issues.

114

someguy 09.28.09 at 7:27 pm

novakant,

‘ can’t blame her for not wanting this revisited

That’s very big of you – so how about we do what she has repeatedly and publicly asked for.’

Hmmm. What if she publically stated she wanted him staked to a red ant hill to die? Well I would be sympathetic but I wouldn’t do it. I think there are some principles of justice above and beyond her very important wishes.

Also -

Odds are pretty good Polanski has raped more than one little girl. That’s generally how it works. You have the drugs, lines, and everything else all ready as a matter of course.

115

Anderson 09.28.09 at 7:34 pm

Novakant appears to have civil and criminal law confused.

In civil law, if I’ve been wronged, but I don’t feel like pursuing it in court, that’s my prerogative.

In criminal law, the wrong is against the *law*, not against the victim. (Polanski’s victim, n.b., could’ve filed a civil suit for damages to herself, tho in that day & age it might not have gone well.). That’s why criminal cases are styled “State v. Jones,” “Commonwealth v. Brown,” “People v. Gonzales.”

If an act is *criminalized* by statute, that means the community has decided that the conduct is so bad, it behooves the community to have it punished. (Cf. Arendt’s argument that the Nazi genocide was not an offense against “the Jewish people” but against humanity as a whole, which is based on the same principle and is widely accepted today — hence “crimes against humanity.”)

As Someguy implies, the practical motive for this attitude is particularly clear in the case of pedophiles.

116

Substance McGravitas 09.28.09 at 7:37 pm

As Someguy implies, the practical motive for this attitude is particularly clear in the case of pedophiles.

It’s nevertheless not necessary to imagine repeat examples when a crime and conviction already exist for an appalling one.

117

Malaclypse 09.28.09 at 7:38 pm

Polanski’s victim, n.b., could’ve filed a civil suit for damages to herself, tho in that day & age it might not have gone well

She did, and she won, IIRC.

118

novakant 09.28.09 at 8:21 pm

Novakant appears to have civil and criminal law confused.

I’m not confusing civil and criminal law. Conversely, you seem to think that criminal law is some sort of monolithic entity independent of people’s judgement, yet cases get dropped all the time and for all sorts of reasons. In this case the victim claims that she is being harmed by the proceedings and that the prosecutors are less interested in resolving the matter, but rather want to cover up the grave mistakes that were made in the original court case:

Samantha Geimer, 45, has filed a legal declaration claiming she is being harmed by renewed focus on what happened to her when she was 13.

She believes prosecutors are revealing sexually explicit details to distract attention from allegations of wrongdoing against them and the judge who initially heard the case.

119

Salient 09.28.09 at 8:46 pm

The only reaction I have is: 90 days sentence? With leave to go finish a project?

I guess everyone else here has known about this and gotten over the shock. Was the prosecution abominably botched, or some such thing?

120

Jerry Vinokurov 09.28.09 at 10:09 pm

How is this even a gray area? The guy committed a crime and then fled his own trial. There’s no question that he’s responsible. In an ideal world, this would serve as a warning for certain other people who commit crimes and continue to flaunt the law.

121

Anthony 09.28.09 at 10:26 pm

In what ways is this case like and not like the case of John Demjanjuk?

By what set of standards is it acceptable to extradite Demjanjuk to Israel to face trial for events 50 years earlier, but not to extradite Polanski to face sentencing for events 30 years earlier?

122

dsquared 09.28.09 at 10:43 pm

I hesitate to even make this point because I have so far had little success in finding a way to express it which doesn’t look like trivialising the actual crime, but more or less notwithstanding the crime, there has to be a general principle of especially harsh treatment of fugitives from justice. The system has to defend itself against people who undermine its authority by trying to lead lives which publicly flaunt the fact that they have escaped the prescribed social sanctions. I was apparently pretty much in a minority of one in thinking that it was totally obvious that Ronnie Biggs ought have died in jail.

123

Thinker 1 09.28.09 at 10:51 pm

It really shows how this society thinks. Because some fellow can write, or play some kind of sport, or act means that many in this disfunctional country think it is OK for him to drug and rape a 13 year old. Fleeing the country and hiding out for 30 years is punishment?? This pervert plead guilty people, get your heads out of that dark place and demand prison for him. That and only that is punishment for this puke. Oh and it’s about time.

124

Helen 09.28.09 at 10:53 pm

Sheelzebub, you are exactly right.

125

Andrew 09.28.09 at 11:09 pm

I do have a daughter, aged 12.5 years. In the event that someone drugs her and then abuses her against her clearly expressed denial of consent, I don’t think that his taking off for 30 years is going to make me think “oh well, yesterday’s news.” And it won’t matter too much whether the hypothetical assault happened tomorrow, next year, ten years or twenty years from now.

I also completely agree with dsquared’s #117. The legal system allows both for mitigation and extenuating circumstances, and for aggravating factors. Fleeing after entering a negotiated guilty plea is an aggravating factor. The wartime and late 1960s experiences of Polansky might be offered in mitigation, but I’m baffled as to why they should be seen as offering some form of defense.

126

Fr. 09.28.09 at 11:47 pm

@Linca: I was wrong about prescription, and you are right if your link is correct: Polanski’s crime would be “prescribed” in France. But I do not know about the USA.

127

Fr. 09.28.09 at 11:48 pm

Oh, bob is back! I guess the discourse was not that vile in the end.

128

Peter 09.29.09 at 1:37 am

I have read several apologist articles for Mr Polanski including Anne Applebaum’s. They were so strident in their defense of Mr Polanski that I thought that my vague memory of his crime was incorrect. I remebered that Polanski bribed a mother to be in a position to have sex with a minor. In the interest of fairness, I googled “polanski trial testimony” and read the court reporter’s transcript of the girl’s testimony that convinced Polanski to plead out rather than face a jury. It turns out I was wrong.

It turns out that Mr Polanski paid to have a “photo shoot” of a partially nude 13 year old on not one, but two occasions. That is child pornography.

He was aware that she was a minor, as he had to go to pick her up from her mother’s home. The girl was too young to drive herself. Knowledge and intent of child pornography.

He arranged to be alone with a minor, who he fed champagne and quaaludes. When he tried to “seduce” her, she objected, got dressed from the “photo shoot” and left the room. He followed her, and despite her repeated protests, forced her to submit to oral sex, vaginal sex, and anal sex. When he was inturupted by a third party, he removed himself from her anus, made excuses, then returned to the girl, took off the panties that she had put on after he had gotten out of bed, and anally raped her AGAIN until he acheived orgasm. Then he made her wait to be driven home. This is false imprisionment, rape, sodomy, emotional abuse and a slew of other crimes. All of this happened to a 13 year old girl.

It is no wonder the woman does not want to relive these childhood horrors. It is also no wonder that Polanski ran when the judge refused to validate a ridiculous plea agreement. A 1970s US Jury would have given him life without parole.

I was wrong. Polanski’s crimes were much worse than I remembered. It disgusts me that any human being can excuse his behavior, or argue that the inability to travel beyond the beaches of France is adequate punishment for these crimes.

My only dissapointment with the current situation is that Mr Polanski is in solitary in a Swiss prison instead of in the general population in the California penal system. I’m sure the inmates there would change his taste for forcible sodomy.

your rational responses are welcome at PSGute@aol.com

129

Anon 09.29.09 at 1:46 am

I guess it says something sad about my life that the prospect of having to move to France and live there in luxury sounds pretty good, actually. Perhaps I should go rape a 13 year old so that I can suffer the same punishment that poor Mr. Polanski has had to suffer these last 30 years. (30 years! He must feel foolish for not standing trial as his prison sentence would no doubt have been much less than that.)

130

Noas 09.29.09 at 2:53 am

What those invoking the statute of limitations fail to realize is that the SOL sets the period of time before the end of which prosecution must commence. In Polanski’s case, the prosecution on all six charges was properly commenced well within the applicable SOLs. And, in fact, Polanski pleaded guilty to and was thus convicted of one charge. The only thing that hadn’t happened was the sentencing. It is simply crazy to think that the law should reward a convicted felon by allowing him to escape punishment by fleeing in the middle of proceedings and avoiding recapture.

131

Dan Simon 09.29.09 at 3:49 am

Putting aside for a moment the Polanski case itself (I’m in complete agreement with Kieran, but have nothing original to add), I’m curious as to whether anything interesting can be said about the people on either side of it. For example, speaking completely anecdotally, most of what I’ve read about this controversy has involved Internet writers lambasting “old media” writers for defending Polanski. (And that cuts across all ideological lines, as far as I can tell.) Has anyone else observed a similar correlation? Either way, any theories out there as to the characteristics of either side of this debate?

132

Brist 09.29.09 at 3:54 am

This image pretty much captures my sentiment on the Polanski arrest. Seriously, wtf with the excuses?

133

Maggie 09.29.09 at 4:17 am

So, uh, none of you Polanski defenders remember that a year after the rape in question he shacked up with a 15 year old Nastassja Kinski, huh? He’d never, ever commit statutory rape after that first girl, huh? Except for the fact that he did.

Fifty bucks says those weren’t the only two incidents.

134

Don 09.29.09 at 4:44 am

I think it’s possible to recognize the gravity of the offense, the cowardice in fleeing, and at the same time recognize the futility in prosecuting a 30 year old crime.

How would a person do that? Maybe by not pretending that appreciating the crime free life of the man over the last thirty years is equivalent to approving of child rape, or on the other hand claiming that there is some large abstract principle to be served by spending hundreds of thousands of dollars prosecuting a man who hasn’t reoffended and has no intention of voluntarily returning to terrorize American girls.

The only thing I know is that this will not affect anyone’s life, other than Polanski’s and whoever in the media gets rich off the controversy.

135

Armagnac Esq. 09.29.09 at 4:48 am

With you 100%.

“In notoriety, in lawyers’ fees, in professional stigma”

Breaks your heart doesn’t it? Clearly he’s suffered professional stigma, as can be seen by the number of wealthy privileged film industry types defending him, or by the awards he received.

136

heckblazer 09.29.09 at 6:22 am

I happened to have served on the Los Angeles County grand jury last year, so I can comment a bit on how they’re currently run in California.

Testimony in front of the grand jury is under oath. If a witness commits perjury they will be nailed for it – just ask Scooter Libby. There are two main reasons why grand jury testimony is secret. First is that the grand jury is an investigative body (while the prosecutor presents evidence, grand jurors are not only allowed but are encouraged to submit questions to the witness). Secrecy helps that function since it offers protection to witnesses who otherwise are afraid to testify or sometimes even talk to the police.

The second is to protect people from false accusations. If the grand jury decides not to indict the transcript remains secret for obvious reasons. If there is an indictment the transcript will be released unless the accused successfully petitions the court to keep it sealed within the deadline (which is 10 court days after arrest IIRC).

137

Chris Bertram 09.29.09 at 6:31 am

It is good to see that “Jon Henley in the Guardian”:http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2009/sep/28/roman-polanski-french-government has at least remarked on the fact that French opinion is divided. You’d get the impression from reading, e.g. the ghastly Agnes Poirier, that the French were united in their disdain for American “prudishness”. However, the comments boxes at Le Monde and Liberation show that ordinary French people don’t share the views of your average _cinéaste_ or politician. From Henley’s piece:

bq. This withering comment by “Acouphène” on Le Monde’s website is typical of many: “You have to understand them, these poor stars. What’s the point of being a celebrity if you can’t have the women you want, whether they’re above the age of consent or not, whether they’re willing or not; if you can’t flee abroad and prosper there while our country’s justice system looks after you, circulate freely wherever you want to go to be awarded medals and charms at international festivals, and then mobilise opinion in your favour when things start to get tricky?” (Polanski’s French citizenship protects him from extradition.) “PatrickO” wonders: “what would have happened if Mohamed, a factory worker from a working-class, immigrant-heavy suburb, had been accused of the same crime?”

138

a 09.29.09 at 7:59 am

“It is good to see that Jon Henley in the Guardian has at least remarked on the fact that French opinion is divided. “

In the same way that it’s good to see, I guess, that American opinion is divided. If you’re going to look at commentators on websites, look at the NYT.

“The system has to defend itself against people who undermine its authority by trying to lead lives which publicly flaunt the fact that they have escaped the prescribed social sanctions. “

Yes, well, what you mean here is the *American* system, which is not, contrary to popular belief, universal. Apparently the people in France didn’t (and don’t) have the same “prescribed social sanctions” for Polanski.

I’d also just point out, pragmatically, that the best way for a system to undermine its authority is to publicly try to bring someone to justice and *fail*. So, pragmatically speaking, if Polanski manages to evade extradition, which is entirely possible, the system is in a worse position than it started, had it done nothing, with most everyone basically having forgotten about Polanski.

I’ve seen enough comments describing Polanski as “rich” and “powerful” and “living in luxury” to think that what we’re witnessing, in the Anglo-Saxon world, is a transference to Polanski of all the wrongs committed by their political and economic elites. Led into an aggressive war by its political leaders, robbed by its economic leaders, but utterly powerless (and, let’s face it, unwilling) to bring them to justice, Americans transfer their anger onto an elite artist.

139

Nasi Lemak 09.29.09 at 10:02 am

131 is truly, truly funny. Obviously we need a theory of political frustration with elites to explain why a child rapist is unpopular and is thought to deserve punishment! No other explanation could suffice!

140

JoB 09.29.09 at 11:45 am

Henri-100, sure, the guy has it coming, I don’t care whether he’s 150 and has won 20 Oscars by then. But that’s my point of view and I’m not directly the victim. So my point was – this victim’s point of view should count for something. Mind you, not everything, that would risk too many new victims; but something.

141

novakant 09.29.09 at 12:35 pm

Obviously we need a theory of political frustration with elites to explain why a child rapist is unpopular and is thought to deserve punishment! No other explanation could suffice!

Anyone who reads through the comments here and elsewhere could be forgiven for detecting an undercurrent of petty-bourgeois ressentiment against “the rich, the privileged, the elites, artists, Hollywood” and anybody who is more talented and successful than your average or slightly above average Joe – it’s bleeding obvious!

Also noteworthy is the fact, that the victim, who would be entitled to all sorts of such projections, doesn’t seem to harbour such feelings at all.

142

Kieran Healy 09.29.09 at 12:42 pm

Anyone who reads through the comments here and elsewhere could be forgiven for detecting an undercurrent of petty-bourgeois ressentiment

Given the views of many Polanksi defenders, anyone who reads through the comments here and elsewhere could be forgiven for pretty much anything, as long as they made a few good movies in the interim.

143

John Meredith 09.29.09 at 12:58 pm

“Anyone who reads through the comments here and elsewhere could be forgiven for detecting an undercurrent of petty-bourgeois ressentiment against “the rich, the privileged, the elites, artists, Hollywood” and anybody who is more talented and successful than your average or slightly above average Joe “

That’s a good point, and it explains why everybody was so unexercised about Fred West, say.

144

a 09.29.09 at 1:00 pm

Or Michael Jackson?

145

JP Stormcrow 09.29.09 at 1:03 pm

I imagine Genarlow Wilson might have an interesting perspective. But then again, ressentiment!

146

Kieran Healy 09.29.09 at 1:06 pm

That’s a good point, and it explains why everybody was so unexercised about Fred West, say.

It’s not a good point at all. The causal arrow is in the opposite direction. You don’t have to read through the newspapers for long before detecting a direct articulation of the view that elite, privileged artists who are respected by the right sort of people — who are One Of Us — should not have to face the consequences of their actions in the way that the Little People have to. The news reports did not lead with the glee of the ignorant philistines over the arrest, but with a bevy of shocked and outraged novelists, film-makers, cultural critics, Ministers of the Arts, and assorted chattering-class warriors. The supposed “ressentiment” from the rest of us was in fact a disgusted reaction to this sort of High-Culture Helmslyism.

147

John Meredith 09.29.09 at 1:09 pm

I don’t think it was a good point either. I was making a weak attempt at satire.

148

a 09.29.09 at 1:09 pm

Kieran, unfortunately your style defeats any argument you are trying to make. If you can only make your point dripping with sarcasm, then you probably don’t have a point.

149

Salient 09.29.09 at 1:15 pm

Apparently the people in France didn’t (and don’t) have the same “prescribed social sanctions” for Polanski.

I will avoid dripping with sarcasm in my response. Does the decision of the French government to refuse extradition satisfactorily represent the will of the people? And even if it does, does the will of the people not to extradite one of their own citizens imply they have no qualms about the behavior of that citizen?

150

Kieran Healy 09.29.09 at 1:15 pm

Kieran, unfortunately your style defeats any argument you are trying to make.

OK, so why don’t I try facing up to my debilitating style, you try facing the inconvenient facts of the case, and we’ll see what happens.

151

a 09.29.09 at 1:19 pm

“Does the decision of the French government to refuse extradition satisfactorily represent the will of the people? And even if it does, does the will of the people not to extradite one of their own citizens imply they have no qualms about the behavior of that citizen?”

Does having qualms about the past behavior of a citizen imply that one should sanction?

152

a 09.29.09 at 1:21 pm

“OK, so why don’t I try facing up to my debilitating style, you try facing the inconvenient facts of the case, and we’ll see what happens.”

ROTFL.

153

Substance McGravitas 09.29.09 at 1:30 pm

Also noteworthy is the fact, that the victim, who would be entitled to all sorts of such projections, doesn’t seem to harbour such feelings at all.

Polanski did not run from the victim, he ran from a sentence.

154

JP Stormcrow 09.29.09 at 1:34 pm

He ran from the clause of justice.

155

Salient 09.29.09 at 1:38 pm

a, ok, what is it that you mean by sanction? I thought by “sanction” you meant “is basically okay with” or some such thing.

156

a 09.29.09 at 1:41 pm

Salient, sorry about that. I meant it in the sense, “the detriment, loss of reward, or coercive intervention annexed to a violation of a law as a means of enforcing the law” (merriam-webster)

157

Salient 09.29.09 at 1:44 pm

so why don’t I try facing up to my debilitating style

So, would that be Art Nouveau or Storm Dragon?

158

Salient 09.29.09 at 1:48 pm

I still can’t compute what you meant by Apparently the people in France didn’t (and don’t) have the same “prescribed social sanctions” for Polanski.

I don’t think the French government’s decision not to extradite has all that much to do with what “the people in France” would like to see done or not done.

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Kieran Healy 09.29.09 at 1:48 pm

what is it that you mean by sanction? I thought by “sanction” you meant

sorry about that. I meant it in the sense, “the detriment, loss of reward …

“Sanction” is one of those annoying English words that can be its own antonym — to sanction the action mean to approve it or ban it. Other examples of words like this are “Cleave” (to divide, to cleave unto), “Buckle” (to fasten, to collapse), “Enjoin” (to forbid, to require) and, if you are Romani Polanski, “No” (Stop it, Continue by all means).

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a 09.29.09 at 1:54 pm

“if you are Romani Polanski, “No” (Stop it, Continue by all means).”

ROTFL.

161

a 09.29.09 at 2:02 pm

Salient,
d2 had written:
“The system has to defend itself against people who undermine its authority by trying to lead lives which publicly flaunt the fact that they have escaped the prescribed social sanctions. “

My point (what that is was) was that the French didn’t agree with the prescribed social sanctions (punishments).

“I don’t think the French government’s decision not to extradite has all that much to do with what “the people in France” would like to see done or not done.”

I think the French people would be largely in agreement here with their government. But I don’t have any evidence for that, so I could be completely wrong.

162

novakant 09.29.09 at 2:03 pm

You’ve clearly lost it, Kieran, and furthermore you are in a most despicable manner ascribing views to people which they do not have – so there is no reason to carry on this “debate”. Have a nice day.

163

Henry 09.29.09 at 2:06 pm

bq. You’ve clearly lost it, Kieran, and furthermore you are in a most despicable manner ascribing views to people which they do not have – so there is no reason to carry on this “debate”. Have a nice day.

Don’t forget to take your theories of how people who don’t like child rapists getting off scot free are motivated by class resentment along with you!

164

Kieran Healy 09.29.09 at 2:14 pm

It’a taken a bit longer than I thought to get to the point where we were agreed not only that Polanski was the real victim, but I was the one behaving in a most despicable manner throughout the whole affair and good day to you, sir. I blame my petit-bourgeois impotence in the face of the State, and my consumption by jealous hatred of the artistic creativity of my betters.

165

Tom Hurka 09.29.09 at 2:16 pm

I guess for Frederic Mitterand and co. there’s no longer a droit de seigneur but there is a droit d’artiste.

166

JoB 09.29.09 at 2:25 pm

I guess that some know the feelings of the victim with respect to Polanski based on the fact that they say they don’t want to remember the feeling of being victimized by Polanski.

(I’m not being satirical just slightly not amused at somebody’s words being interpreted to suit a particular argument (s)he’s making)

167

Z 09.29.09 at 2:30 pm

I think the French people would be largely in agreement here with their government. But I don’t have any evidence for that, so I could be completely wrong.

This is always a very hard thing to judge, and I also could be completely wrong, but my impression is exactly inverse, with my shred of evidence being that I live in France.

168

Donald Johnson 09.29.09 at 2:33 pm

“The man should be brought to justice for his crimes but lets not pretend that America is some great arbiter of justice. America does in fact fail to have an enlightened attitude about most social issues.”

Well, that’s reasonable. America really stinks as an arbiter of justice, IMO–war criminals running around loose, appearing on TV, their crimes being treated as mere policy differences. I still would like to see Polanski in prison.

169

a 09.29.09 at 2:39 pm

“with my shred of evidence being that I live in France.”

yes, well, so do I

170

jlw 09.29.09 at 2:42 pm

Let me kill this thread by suggesting that if we let Polanski because of the sujective judgement of his artistic merit, then we should start thinking about a retroactive pardon for Albert Speer.

I mean, that guy’s architecture totally rocked.

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a 09.29.09 at 2:45 pm

And, a word to the wise, I would doubt very much the claim of anyone using a one-letter pseudonym as to where they live.

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Sheelzebub 09.29.09 at 2:47 pm

Anyone who reads through the comments here and elsewhere could be forgiven for detecting an undercurrent of petty-bourgeois ressentiment [sic] against “the rich, the privileged, the elites, artists, Hollywood” and anybody who is more talented and successful than your average or slightly above average Joe – it’s bleeding obvious!

Polanski’s getting a pass that your average Joe would not get for doing the same crime. Sorry if the truth offends your sensibilities so. I will duly defer to my betters from now on.

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novakant 09.29.09 at 2:47 pm

the point where we were agreed not only that Polanski was the real victim

I don’t know who said that, but it certainly wasn’t me, thank you very much.

I was the one behaving in a most despicable manner

Yes, you are. Not only do you accuse everybody whose views on the case might not be fully congruent with yours of being at best indifferent to the rape of minors (since this contention is totally nuts, I am not affected by it in any way). Much more importantly, when you (and Henry) are being derisive about forgiveness and forgetting, you are insulting the victim of the case, who has not only repeatedly asked for just that, but also filed a legal claim that the case be dropped.

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Sheelzebub 09.29.09 at 2:58 pm

I’m struck by all of this respect that Polanski’s rape-apologist shills suddenly claim to have for the survivor of the rape. Considering the rhetoric flung about over the years (and even now), you’d think that she a gold-digging whore of Babylon who hoodwinked a helpless 44-year-old into having sex with her. I’m so pleased that they are now wanting to respect her wishes–think maybe, just maybe, she wants to drop it because of the Puritanical madonna-whore BS and slut baiting she continues to get at the hands of these same people? With all of this newfound respect, perhaps these folks could make some public and vehement statements about how she was not to blame for what happened, and how it was inexcusable for them to smear a 13-year-old girl and her family. Just sayin’.

175

Harry 09.29.09 at 2:59 pm

Except that we can check where people post from, and anyway I know who Z is, and that Z does, indeed, live in France.

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Henry 09.29.09 at 3:14 pm

I had rather thought that I was being derisive about a ridiculous, patently stupid and offensive claim – viz. your statement that people here who were disinclined to “forgive and forget” the crimes of a child-rapist were motivated by a “bleeding obvious “

bq. undercurrent of “petty-bourgeois ressentiment against “the rich, the privileged, the elites, artists, Hollywood” and anybody who is more talented and successful than your average or slightly above average Joe.”

But apparently my insult misfired, missing you and hitting the victim (perhaps because, as elsewhere on this thread, you had strategically positioned yourself behind her). I will admit that I had been unaware that she too had articulated this theory of the petty-bourgeois class animus underlying Crooked Timber commenters’ outrage at Roman Polanski’s crimes. My apologies for this oversight.

177

dsquared 09.29.09 at 3:15 pm

Not only do you accuse everybody whose views on the case might not be fully congruent with yours of being at best indifferent to the rape of minors

you have to admit though, that the whole “rape of minors” thing is pretty much the Achilles Heel of your argument, so it’s not that surprising that your interlocutors bring it up.

178

Beryl 09.29.09 at 3:36 pm

As is often the case, Orwell has some pertinent words:

It will be seen that what the defenders of Dali are claiming is a kind of benefit of clergy. The artist is to be exempt from the moral laws that are binding on ordinary people. Just pronounce the magic word “Art,” and everything is O.K.: kicking little girls in the head is O.K. . . . It is also O.K. that Dali should batten on France for years and then scuttle off like rat as soon as France is in danger. So long as you can paint well enough to pass the test, all shall be forgiven you.

One can see how false this is if one extends it to cover ordinary crime. In an age like our own, when the artist is an altogether exceptional person, he must be allowed a certain amount of irresponsibility, just as a pregnant woman is. Still, no one would say that a pregnant woman should be allowed to commit murder, nor would anyone make such a claim for the artist, however gifted. If Shakespeare returned to the earth to-morrow, and if it were found that his favourite recreation was raping little girls in railway carriages, we should not tell him to go ahead with it on the ground that he might write another King Lear.

http://www.k-1.com/Orwell/index.cgi/work/essays/dali.html

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Beryl 09.29.09 at 3:39 pm

Trouble with HTML tags… the last paragraph above is, of course, Orwell’s.

180

John Holbo 09.29.09 at 4:17 pm

I’ll assume that, at this point, a mild thread-jack will not be taken amiss. Following up Beryl’s point, I just recently read Chris Lehmann’s “Revolt of the Masscult”, which I didn’t much like. This is incidental, but at one point he advances what seems to me a perfectly incoherent version of the ‘if you’re good enough, you can be as bad as you like’ argument. Sort of an ‘if you’re brilliant enough, you can be as stupid as you like’ argument. He contrasts the way Jonathan Franzen was peppered with negative op-eds in the wake of speaking ill of Oprah with the way V.S. Naipaul got a fairly free pass for saying a lot of idiotic and offensive stuff about various individuals and groups. The Naipaul way is the proper way, argues Lehmann.

“”The laureate’s many outbursts were (and continue to be) simply written down to the “contrarian” prerogative of the celebrity author. And that is entirely proper: If a writer wants to issue provocative, even brazenly offensive, views, that’s part of his job – and it’s a healthy precent of any cultural democracy that the general reading public can handle ill-considered writerly opinions like grownups.”

In context – the Franzen case – it’s pretty clear that what Lehmann is approving is not Naipaul’s immunity from punishment. It isn’t a free speech issue. He just thinks it’s good that Naipaul, being Naipaul, has been more or less immune from being called an idiot for saying things that are in fact idiotic. It doesn’t compare with the Polanski case, for severity, but the general idea that somehow if you are a ‘celebrity’, you should be held to lower moral or intellectual standards, because you have proved yourself capable of meeting higher artistic standards, is simply bizarre. It’s only noteworthy in that it gets expressed by people, like Lehmann, who you wouldn’t think would be very sympathic to the idea.

181

Fr. 09.29.09 at 4:53 pm

Kieran should be absolved of all accusations of being sarcastic. That was yesterday, a long time ago by blogging standards. He has committed (to my knowledge) no crime since; to the contrary, through his blog, he has brought good into the world. Leave him (and Britney Spears, and Roman Polanski) alone.

182

T. Paine 09.29.09 at 4:54 pm

Anyone who reads through the comments here and elsewhere could be forgiven for detecting an undercurrent of petty-bourgeois ressentiment against “the rich, the privileged, the elites, artists, Hollywood” and anybody who is more talented and successful than your average or slightly above average Joe – it’s bleeding obvious!

What the fuck? I know that Ayn Rand was all about the romantic heroism of rape, but I didn’t realize that Atlas Shrugged was being deployed on behalf of Roman Polanski. If that’s life in Galt’s Gulch, count me out.

183

Paul 09.29.09 at 4:54 pm

Truth is the first casualty of the adversarial justice systems in the US and UK where prosecutors and defence lawyers put on an elaborate performances and carefully select the evidence. How can we, let alone a jury, decide on guilt when we never have access to all the facts ? Less argument and more truth will allow true justice to prevail.

184

Bunbury 09.29.09 at 5:06 pm

Michael Jackson might be a fair contrast. Same charge, different fans, the treatment?

Al-Megrahi is in much worse health than Polanski and has submitted to the process of the law (although he does still protest his innocence).

185

Substance McGravitas 09.29.09 at 5:20 pm

Michael Jackson might be a fair contrast.

Polanski was never in his league for wealth and adoration.

186

novakant 09.29.09 at 5:24 pm

OK, you win: when I said (in response to a rather sarcastic post) that someone:

“could be forgiven for detecting an undercurrent” of X

I was actually saying:

“every single participant in this discussion is solely motivated” by X

Thanks for clearing that up for me, my bad.

There is much fun to be had on the internets by consistently applying an inverted principle of charity to the utterances of your opponents, sure, but this is getting a bit ridiculous.

187

Substance McGravitas 09.29.09 at 5:31 pm

Novakant could be forgiven for omitting “it’s bleeding obvious!” above.

188

Henri Vieuxtemps 09.29.09 at 5:47 pm

Come to think of it, I don’t know why Rosemary’s Baby is considered such a great film. Boring. And Chinatown would’ve been boring too, if not for the leading actors.

Milos Forman is certainly a much better director, why is he not a celebrity (or so much less of a celebrity)? Is it because he hasn’t raped anybody?

189

blah 09.29.09 at 5:52 pm

Unlike Polanski, Michael Jackson did not flee the country before his trial was finished.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/People_v._Jackson

190

phosphorious 09.29.09 at 6:14 pm

The legal and moral case seems pretty clear. He should be locked up.

But I’m somewhat perturbed by the assumption that his “Artistic Genius” should be a mitigating factor. And forget the general argument as to whether artistic genius should be granted moral leeway. Mine is the much narrower point:

Polanski isn’t that good, is he?

191

roac 09.29.09 at 6:23 pm

A commenter on another blog asserts that there was a movement in France some years ago to do away with all prohibitions on consensual sex, including those based on the age of a participant. Said to have been supported by prominent intellectuals including Sartre and Foucault. Can anyone confirm or refute this?

192

roac 09.29.09 at 6:27 pm

“Sanction” is one of those annoying English words that can be its own antonym—to sanction the action mean to approve it or ban it..

I have been carrying around for some years, like a pretty stone in my back pocket, a pair of words that are both synonyms and antonyms: “Outgoing” and “retiring.”

193

engels 09.29.09 at 6:57 pm

I have to say I think this post and much of the discussion is seriously misleading, or else rests on assumptions that are at best much more contested than you seem to think. When you say it is a matter of ‘public record’ that ‘the actual facts of the crime’ were of ‘a one hundred percent real rape of a drugged 13 year-old’ (and in subsequent references to his ‘having raped a minor’ and ‘child rape’) you clearly imply that Polanski is guilty of rape in its ordinary meaning, ie. non-consensual sex. But Polanski was never convicted of this. A charge of rape was brought initially but was dropped, along with other charges, as part of a plea bargain that had Polanski pleading gulity only to the lesser crime of unlawful sex with a minor. By all means condemn Polanski’s admitted crime and his efforts to evade punishment but you ought to bear in mind, I think, that you and others are repeatedly reporting him, and as a matter of record, of being guilty of a crime to which he never pleaded guilty and of which the court did not convict him.

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Marc 09.29.09 at 7:11 pm

Every time issues of crime and punishment come up in the USA there is a certain tactic which is always used by the advocates of harsh punishment, and it’s pretty uncomfortably close to what we’re seeing the folks here doing. If you don’t like setting the threshold for drunk driving at my level – you support drunk driving! Uncomfortable with laws marking people as child predators for life? Pervert! Mandatory minimum sentences; the death penalty; harsher and harsher, longer and longer. Take books away from those prisoners. Prison rape: they deserve it. Stand up for due process, or legal rights for the accused – criminal coddling.

Every time that I see a post like this, taking the bold moral stance of condemning something like child rape, I think of all of the times in my life that I’ve seen this approach used as an excuse to build up a fearful and cruel social structure. Brick by brick we’re erected a brutal and massive prison system – but you can escape from the worst consequences if you have the resources. And then we focus rage on those undeserving ones, those who worked the system and “got off.”

We throw millions into it’s maw – and, yes, most are bad people in any moral calculus. But in my lifetime we have given up on rehabilitation, and have abandoned judgment for vengeance.

That’s what goes through my head when I see people baying for blood. It’s not because there aren’t evil people in the world who do evil things. It’s that small still voice in the back of my head that speaks to me about the horrible cruelties justified by past outrages, real and imagined, and the persistent minority of cases where an innocent man is released after a life spent in a cage.

195

djw 09.29.09 at 7:11 pm

I’ve no problem stipulating to what novakant suspects he detects. That someone somewhere took a dubious route to the correct location doesn’t make that location any less correct.

196

LizardBreath 09.29.09 at 7:16 pm

A motion to dismiss filed by his attorneys recently is available online — I’d have to google for it, but it’s not hard to find — and has the probation report, including Polanski’s version of events, attached as an exhibit. His version of events isn’t substantially different from the victim’s — he says that he ‘found’ the Quaaludes, and that after some conversation about them she took one, but that he didn’t ‘offer’ them to her, and that he gave her champagne to drink. And that after the thirteen-year-old had been drinking, and had taken a Quaalude, he told her to go lie down in a bedroom. And that he then went and had sex with her. He does claim that she didn’t object. And on the advice of his lawyer, he neither confirms nor denies the victim’s allegations of anal and oral rape.

Really, his contemporary version of events isn’t exculpatory at all.

197

LizardBreath 09.29.09 at 7:21 pm

198

phosphorious 09.29.09 at 7:47 pm

“Every time issues of crime and punishment come up in the USA there is a certain tactic which is always used by the advocates of harsh punishment

Or, in this case, any punishment. Nobody is calling for his head.

199

Scatlizard 09.29.09 at 9:03 pm

To all the people who feel that Polanski should not be extridited and tried for his crimes because it was 30 years ago I ask this; if your 13 year old daughter or son was drugged and fucked(raped) by Polanski would you say oh it was 30 years ago he paid for his crime? He’s been allowed to avoid this now it’s time for him to pay.

200

Sheelzebub 09.29.09 at 9:42 pm

Yes–it’s quite telling that wanting a rich White dude to be held accountable for his crimes is the same thing as hanging him high, lynching him, or now building up a fearful and cruel social structure (because a rape culture where 13-year-olds are asking for it and 44-year-old rapists are blameless are free of fear and cruelty).

201

Alex R 09.29.09 at 9:51 pm

With regard to the frequently cited wishes of the now somewhat older than 13 year-old victim, the Wikipedia article quoted by others also states:

In a 2003 interview, [she] said, “Straight up, what he did to me was wrong. But I wish he would return to America so the whole ordeal can be put to rest for both of us.”

This doesn’t quite sound like someone who is insisting that Polanski remain at large, does it?

202

oudemia 09.29.09 at 10:50 pm

Here is a French lawyer talking about the case:

Q: Ses soutiens ont-ils tort d’invoquer la prescription ?
A: Absolument car cet argument est juridiquement faux. La prescription suppose une inaction. Tout nouvel acte fait repartir le délai à zéro.

Q: Que reprochez-vous aux artistes qui le soutiennent ?
A: On attaque un des leurs, les artistes le défendent : c’est du corporatisme. À l’inverse, lors des débats sur Hadopi, certains artistes réclamaient une sévérité impitoyable contre les téléchargeurs, quitte à bafouer un droit fondamental. Cela creuse le divorce entre les artistes et l’opinion publique. Je suis également en colère car ceux qui s’insurgent contre cette arrestation invoquent de mauvais arguments, ils ont tort juridiquement et moralement. Par exemple, lorsque le réalisateur Costa-Gavras affirme que la victime “avait 13 ans mais en paraissait 25″, il enfonce Polanski plutôt qu’il ne le défend.

All somewhat interesting. I added the “Q” and “A” markers.

203

Salient 09.29.09 at 10:51 pm

Marc, that comment felt pretty hurtful. I’m writing this to try to provide you some reassurance and hope that you’re receptive to it.

Believing that it’s appropriate for Polanski to serve out his 90 day sentence, of which he’d already served 40-some days, is neither calling for “harsh punishment” nor “baying for blood.” Neither is expecting some sort of re-trial or revisiting of the case, which would respond to Polanski’s fleeing of his 90-day sentence by determining whether a longer jail sentence is appropriate. It seems natural to me to think that violating the terms of a plea bargain ought to be similar to violating the terms of parole: the violation should be weighed as an offense, and the accused should have the right to due process of law, to contest the facts of the case and to appeal, etc.

This case is obviously very contentious, and very exceptional, so this CT thread is probably not the best space to discuss the general tendencies you’re envisioning.

204

Alex 09.29.09 at 11:15 pm

If he was an arms trader or an exiled dictator from certain countries, everyone would be whining that the French wouldn’t extradite him.

Jail the rapist.

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novakant 09.30.09 at 12:07 am

This doesn’t quite sound like someone who is insisting that Polanski remain at large, does it?

The very same Wikipedia paragraph you quote goes on:

Furthermore, “I’m sure if he could go back, he wouldn’t do it again. He made a terrible mistake but he’s paid for it.” In 2008, Geimer stated in an interview that she wishes Polanski would be forgiven, “I think he’s sorry, I think he knows it was wrong. I don’t think he’s a danger to society. I don’t think he needs to be locked up forever and no one has ever come out ever — besides me — and accused him of anything. It was 30 years ago now. It’s an unpleasant memory … (but) I can live with it.”

In the LA Times from 2008 she said:

“It’s been a long time,” she said. “I don’t wish for him to be held to further punishment or consequences.”

And in 2009 Samantha Geimer:

filed a legal declaration claiming she is being harmed by renewed focus on what happened to her when she was 13. She believes prosecutors are revealing sexually explicit details to distract attention from allegations of wrongdoing against them and the judge who initially heard the case. Ms Geimer said she would be willing to appear in court – if Polanski cannot – to urge that the case is dismissed.

I think it’s rather clear what her wishes are.

206

Dawn Voss 09.30.09 at 12:56 am

So it’s been 30 years and we should just forget it? I don’t think so. Mr. Polanski needs to be returned to America and face the punishment for a crime he freely admitted. As for those of you who are saying he has’nt committed another crime, exactly how do you know that? I’m not saying that he has or not, but I for one find it a little hard to believe that that was the only incident like that in his life. Maybe I’m wrong, but statistically I am probably right. Regardless it is time for the matter to be dealt with once and for all!

207

T. Paine 09.30.09 at 1:37 am

I think it’s rather clear what her wishes are.

Fantastic. Of course, she doesn’t really have anything relevant to say on the topic of prosecution for fleeing the jurisdiction because he didn’t want to serve an additional 48 days of jail time, because that crime was against the State of California. I’m glad we can all agree on something.

208

Susan 09.30.09 at 1:41 am

I am appaled that anybody would even consider NOT having him pay his dues! He RAPED a child…perhaps you would feel differently if that child were your child…perhaps not, if so, I feel sorry for you and your child.

209

Dr Mac 09.30.09 at 2:21 am

If it were my child that had been raped, I would still want to see RP sentenced and confined for the term of the punishment. So, I do want to see this “man” punished as he was supposed to be.

Of course, I would have probably also ended poor RP’s misery of years of forced exile to unbearable european chateaus and beach villas by flying to Europe myself and clubbing him like a rabid sewer rat.

210

MarkUp 09.30.09 at 2:28 am

“…because that crime was against the State of California.”

So to was the one he broke his plea agreement on, lest this would have been a civil case, no?

211

Robert 09.30.09 at 2:28 am

You are joking…right?

212

Dr Mac 09.30.09 at 2:47 am

Since RP had no issue with finishing the rape of a 13 year old child after being interrupted (See post 128), he should not have a problem with finishing his sentence for that rape after a 30 year interruption.

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Jay Livingston 09.30.09 at 3:15 am

1. “I look forward to more detailed explanations of who the Real Victim is.” Do any of Polanski’s defenders actually claim that he is the “real victim”?

2. If the government does pursue the case, what do you think will happen?

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novakant 09.30.09 at 3:26 am

He admitted to having sex with a minor, not to having raped her. Now Geimer seems very believable, but it doesn’t matter in front of a court, what we’re inclined to believe. And since the victim is actively seeking dismissal of the case, I don’t see how he can be convicted of this charge, unless you set up a kangaroo court. “Innocent before the law until proven guilty” must hold in every case.

As for the charge of evading justice, if that is what it’s all about in the end, I don’t understand the ruckus all of this has caused. I’m sure a few murderers have slipped through the fingers of the State of California in the past 30 years, yet they seem to be doing alright still.

215

Irene 09.30.09 at 3:38 am

I love Polanski not for mistake he made ( and serve for that) 30 years ago, but for spiritual influence they – Romek, Zbyszek, Andrjey- made on our generation.
No one legal or moral law acts automatically, and specific psychology of creative nature
quite different from ordinary nature. We can NOT just disregard it.
I raise my voice for immediate release Roman Polanski.
And I will explain to my grandaugther dignity of feminine behavior …

216

Map Maker 09.30.09 at 4:11 am

“I’m sure a few murderers have slipped through the fingers of the State of California in the past 30 years, yet they seem to be doing alright still.”

If you know the location of any, please post – law enforcement would be interested. Even better, if you run into any at the Zurich airport or Gare du Nord, please offer to buy them a ticket to the US or UK, where real extradition efforts will ensure they are returned to their proper position. BTW, I’ll pay for the tickets!

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Substance McGravitas 09.30.09 at 4:15 am

There are probably some movies about situations like that. Let me download some and see. No biggie, right?

218

Dan S. 09.30.09 at 4:52 am

Marc – there’s much of merit in your comment (#194) when it comes to talking about our “brutal and massive prison system,” and the processes by which we build and maintain it. Our society often seems to have made a kind of vast etymological error, forgetting that “penitentiary” comes from “penitent” and not from “pen” (as in: a structure used to restrain animals). But just to focus on a very narrow sub-sub-issue here – as far as I can tell, “post[s] like this” are less about “people baying for blood” and more about people responding to the rather appalling sight of Polanski’s supporters rushing to exonerate the man. Indeed,this actual post is quite explicit on this point – that’s its entire substance and purpose – as are all of the others I’ve read.

You talk about how “Every time that I see a post like this, taking the bold moral stance of condemning something like child rape …,” and I won’t argue that group exercises in boldly condemning, say, live-kitten roasting also relate to social, psychological and probably neurological-basis-of-evolved-morality issues which don’t always necessarily further the cause of justice. But . . . when that Bronx teenager was arrested for breaking into an ex-roommate’s apartment, ransacking the place, and then throwing the roommate’s kitten into an oven and roasting it alive to, in her words, “play a joke on Valerie”, I missed the flood of commenters furiously explaining why this was a travesty of justice/waste of resources/the result of a surely difficult life/the ex-roommate’s fault/etc.

Of course, in other times and places, kitten-roasting would have been judged great fun. (One could also get into the issues and conflicts over Michael Vick’s dogfighting/dog-killing exploits). And of course, in other times and places, most of what we understand to be rape wouldn’t be that much of a big deal. Although given all the Polanski apologists, that “other” would seem to partially include “our”. Functionally, there are people trying to rip up the presumable consensus that raping 8th graders is a really really bad thing even if you’re a famous filmmaker, and I don’t think it’s inappropriate that other people are trying to smack their hands away. I understand and agree with your concern over how “brick by brick we’re erected a brutal and massive prison system” – but some walls need to built; some things need to be kept out.

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Dan S. 09.30.09 at 5:17 am

I don’t see how he can be convicted of this charge

But . . . he was. Or, rather and more technically I suppose, he pled guilty to “unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor” and then fled before sentencing. I don’t know what’s standard in these kinds of cases – I’m not a lawyer (and the common acronym is a bit too disturbing in context) – but ‘TILT/reset’ seems a bit out of place here.

Also: do you currently know any thirteen year old girls? If a man in his 40s admitted to giving one drugs and alcohol, and then ‘having sex’ with them, how would you describe what he did? (leaving aside the issue of what he recounts as enthusiastic participation she describes as her begging him to stop).

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JoB 09.30.09 at 7:25 am

novakant, yes, the victim doesn’t want him to be tried and yes, that should count, but where are you finding the infinite wisdom to judge on her behalf that, if called to testify she would say – “I really would like this man to go on making great movies.” It is the press she wants to avoid, if it’s unavoidable there’s no reason to believe she’ll seek his dismissal, & certainly not in court where it matters.

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Z 09.30.09 at 9:38 am

Coming back to the question of extradition, as pointed out already several times in the thread, Polanski could not be extradited from the EU because he is a citizen of the EU, and it was also impossible to convict him, because he has already been convicted in the US for the same crime. Clarifying what I wrote before, I think French citizens generally agree with the idea that a French citizen should not be extradited, however, general opinion in France seems to me to be very, very anti-Polanski at the moment, and thus very much against most of the political and artistic French class. I could of course very well mistake a vocal minority with the majority.

a, you are right to be concerned about who I am, but I am an easily googled person, so you should have no trouble establishing that I am indeed French and that I live in France. Hell, in five minutes, you should find my home and work address as well, if you feel so inclined.

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Trevor Loughlin 09.30.09 at 11:18 am

What Roman Polanski did was wrong and disgusting. He should have serve time in jail for his crime. In no way can I excuse or apologize for his actions, except to say that he knows what he did was wrong-he is not a psychopath, and so unlikely to offend again. He should have faced some form of legal sanction, though a life in exile could be considered punishment in itself.
However, the law consists of two factors. Justice, which has not been served, and also proportionality. It is the issue of proportionality which is the problem here. The United States has expanded and harshened sex offender laws continuously to such an extent that thousands of innocent citizens are incarcerated. Mid-Level sexual offenses such as Polanski’s have been elevated to a worse status than serial killing, torture or genocide. The principal of proportionality has been lost, and Polanski could face life in jail, assuming he is not murdered by inmates or prison officers.
My argument against his extradition is not that his victim has forgiven him, but that America has a justice and prison system so irredeemably corrupt (and England is catching up) that sending him or anyone else there, regardless of the nature of their crime, is a violation of human rights. Would we send women back to Saudi Arabia or to face execution for adultery? Of course not. The USA is a primitive nation with a similar injustice system, so all extradition from Europe to the USA should be suspended. The recent case of a computer hacker in the U.K. being extradited to America proves my point.
I would go further. The justice U.S. system has become so corrupt that those responsible for the mess-ambitious politicians and lawmakers-should actually face trial for crimes against humanity. But that is another issue.

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Trevor Loughlin 09.30.09 at 11:27 am

P.S. my spellchecker seems to have introduced a few typographic errors of its own. Any chance of the moderator cleaning them up?

224

LizardBreath 09.30.09 at 11:28 am

he recounts as enthusiastic participation she describes as her begging him to stop

Actually, even in his version of events (linked above in comment 197) he doesn’t pretend she was an enthusiastic participant. He just denies that she resisted.

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Nick 09.30.09 at 12:57 pm

a. lock him up

b. Roac [son of Carc?] @192: Thank you. That makes reading this entire thread worthwhile. I shall treasure those two words, too.

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Gigi 09.30.09 at 2:27 pm

People!!! What justice ever happened to Nixon for his war crimes in Cambogia? What justice was served to the dirty prosecutor who handled the Polanski case (while he was alive)? Did you ever hear anything of years in prison? What will happen to the war criminals that ordered the massacres in Serbia, Irak and Afganistan? Is that American justice? You twisted, angry people! Free Polanski you idiots! He has served his sentence!

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roac 09.30.09 at 2:37 pm

I just read that Woody fucking Allen has signed a pro-Polanski petition, and how about that for a complete lack of self-awareness?

No. 222: You’re welcome, and yes. It is a hundred years and three and fifty since I came out of the egg, but I do not forget what my father told me.

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Barry 09.30.09 at 2:48 pm

Trevor Loughlin 09.30.09 at 11:18 am

“However, the law consists of two factors. Justice, which has not been served, and also proportionality. It is the issue of proportionality which is the problem here. The United States has expanded and harshened sex offender laws continuously to such an extent that thousands of innocent citizens are incarcerated. “

True; however raping a child is not one of those offenses which were ‘overharshened’.

“Mid-Level sexual offenses such as Polanski’s have been elevated to a worse status than serial killing, torture or genocide. “

Wow, so many, um, things to unpack: (1) usually, child-raping would be considered a high-level sexual offense. (2) even now it has not been elevated to a worse status than serial killing or genocide, both of which get one at least a life sentence (unless you win the war, of course).

“The principal of proportionality has been lost, and Polanski could face life in jail, assuming he is not murdered by inmates or prison officers.”

If he hadn’t fled the country, he’d have gotten a number of years (5? 10?), served them, and been done back in the 1980′s.

His big problem now is that he’s added flight to his crimes. As for ‘life in jail’, the only reason that he might get that is that he’s starting a sentence when he’s in his 70′s. Again, if he had not fled, he’d have done some time and probably have been out over 30 years ago.

IMHO, in terms of proportionality, Polanski should be more harshly punished. He didn’t live 30 miserable years in the slums as a hunted fugitive; he lived them as a rich exile, with the local laws protecting him. That calls for more punishment.

229

Salient 09.30.09 at 3:20 pm

If he hadn’t fled the country, he’d have gotten a number of years (5? 10?)

0.25 years, actually. Technically, he’d served over half his sentence (48 of the 90 days) when he fled. Had he started serving his sentence in June of this year, he still could have been out in time to receive his award.

230

Duane 09.30.09 at 3:53 pm

Just as a reminder to all you self righteous jackoffs who feel Polanski should be punished for this “set up crime” (the mother of the girl was a real fame seeker and encouraged her daughter to “get close” to the director) this man has suffered all his life in a way few of us will ever know. His mother was killed in a concentration camp. He lived in a Jewish ghetto. It is a wonder he survived though out world war II. Next his pregnant wife was butchered by several true blue AMERICANS who felt they were doing the will of god or at least that of Charles Manson.
The sinister hypocracy of the USA never ceases to disgust me. Americans play the high card on domestic child abuse but constantly turn a blind eye to the the acts their own war machine which has killed millions of innocent children in cold blood in the name of spreading freedom. Give me a break.

231

Dotar Sojat 09.30.09 at 4:31 pm

Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time. Let hm do his time and emerge as even more heralded by the glitteratti.

232

madcap 09.30.09 at 4:39 pm

I could care less about what other countries’ (or our country’s) celebrities and dignitaries think about extraditing a child rapist.

If they get the message that defending our children is more important to us than good movies, then so bet it.

Let Harris, Mitterrand and Applebaum offer their own daughters up as sacrifice.

233

Sebastian 09.30.09 at 5:20 pm

“The United States has expanded and harshened sex offender laws continuously to such an extent that thousands of innocent citizens are incarcerated. Mid-Level sexual offenses such as Polanski’s have been elevated to a worse status than serial killing, torture or genocide. The principal of proportionality has been lost, and Polanski could face life in jail, assuming he is not murdered by inmates or prison officers.”

I completely agree that sex offender laws are out of control. If we wanted to talk about how unfair statutory rape laws are between near-age boyfriends and girlfriends I’d be happy to go there. If we wanted to talk about how trivial offenses like urinating in public can get you onto a Megan’s Law list in some states and ruin the rest of life by being branded a sex offender, I’d go along with you.

But really we aren’t talking about that. Even in his version of the events (in which he would neither confirm nor deny the anal and oral penetration) we get something that would definitely be illegal, and which most people would call rape. He gave a 13 year old Quaaludes and Champagne before having sex with her–in his account. He definitely knew her age was not yet 14–in his account. Even in France the age of consent is 15.

I’m not a big fan of strict liability crimes–in cases where a reasonable person could have believed that their partner was of age, and in fact believed they were of age, I’m much more open to an argument.

He knew her age. This is not a case of a low-level sexual offense inflated out of control.

234

fbhjr 09.30.09 at 5:45 pm

The petition by Sorsese et al. echoes a similar petition in 1949 to the French President by Cocteau, Sartre, Picasso et al. to get Jean Genet out of a life sentence after ten convictions for theft, lewd acts, etc. Genet escaped that life sentence. Now I’m not sure what sort of lewd acts he committed–the experts can wrangle over historical context, persecution of homosexuality, what have you. But it’s an interesting sidelight to the massing of the artistic/literary/cinematic panjandrums behind Polanski.

235

novakant 09.30.09 at 6:20 pm

I’m no lawyer eitehr. If I remember correctly, LizardBreath is a DA or works in a similar profession (if that’s the LizardBreath from the popular blog I cannot remember the name of right now).

If you are reading this, LB, would you mind laying out for us what Polanski could realistically be convicted of in a fair trial (should he be extradicted), given that the testimony is 30 years old and the victim would only appear in court to ask for the case be dropped?

Cheers

236

LizardBreath 09.30.09 at 6:36 pm

Assuming Unfogged counts as popular, I’m the same LizardBreath, but I’m not a DA — I’m a gov’t lawyer working in civil litigation, so I’m not an expert in criminal law.

That said, there’s not going to be a trial here on the statutory rape charge and doesn’t need to be, because Polanski’s already been convicted — he pleaded guilty thirty years ago. If there were going to be a trial now, there might easily be a statute of limitations problem. I don’t know what the statute of limitations is on statutory rape in California. Barring a statute of limitations problem, he confessed at the time to knowingly giving a thirteen-year-old girl alcohol and Quaaludes and having sex with her (I linked his confession above). Even without testimony from the victim, then, he could be convicted today of the same crime based on his own contemporaneous confession.

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novakant 09.30.09 at 7:59 pm

Thanks, LizardBreath.

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dominick480 09.30.09 at 8:58 pm

unbelievable…. to all you guys and girls that think 20 years or 30 years or 40 year or 1000 years time expires because of the statue of limitations please spend a few dollars and go talk to somone about law in america. when you skip bail, and flee to another country the statue of limitations clock freezes. for mr polanski, in about 3 months right around the new year he will be araigned in a LA court and even though it has been 32 years since he took it on the lamb, that day in court, the clock will start ticking just like the day before when he left. now if the dumb SOB had not have left the US and just went on the run and all the powers that be inside the US knew he was her and he still evaded them in about 20 or so years (different statutes in different states) he could argue the statue of limitations, only argue it mind you. i certainly look forward to the day we see the wonderful mr polanski in the LA court.

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glenmore 09.30.09 at 9:35 pm

Well done.

Thank you.

240

sarchin 09.30.09 at 9:45 pm

people have been arrested after skipping jail before.

if he did in fact drug and have sex with a 13 year old, then that is rape, no gray areas

what if it was your daughter?

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Lucas 09.30.09 at 9:54 pm

I’m sorry, was there an actual argument in this post? You can try to obfuscate the facts as much as possible but he brought his “exile” upon himself. Just because it sucked to have to avoid certain countries makes no difference in whether or not he should still have to serve some sort of justice for something that occurred in the past. It doesn’t matter if his dog died, his family was murdered, his country blasted off the face of the planet, his sunny day ruined by rain or if his car was keyed. That sucks but is unrelated to the fulfillment of justice in regards to his crime. Why am I even trying to explain the obvious to someone so completely daft as yourself?

242

Deputyheadmistress 09.30.09 at 10:01 pm

Whenever I have read a full account of the victim expressing a desire that the case be dropped, she expressly says she has no sympathy for Polanski, but every time this comes up the media crucifies her, her mother, and her family and she finds that quite painful.

So the best way to fix this, it seems to me, is for the media to leave her alone and for the child-rape apologists to stop blaming her mother for what Polanski did and and stop saying the 13 year old child was basically asking for it and the ‘real victim’ is 44 year old adult man who plied her with drugs and alcohol and ignored her telling him no and then tried to make the trial all about her past. I thought we were years past the ‘only virgins can be raped’ arguments, but according to the Polanski defenders apparently not.

This 44 year old predator went on to give an interview just a year or two after he raped the child where he said everybody wants to have sex with little girls anyway, and he’s also on the record as stating that he finds it unbelievable he could be prosecuted just for ‘making love.’ And then he had an affair with a 15 year old.

Three months ago he tried to have the case dismissed, and part of the legal argument was that it ought to be dismissed since the DA wasn’t still pursuing him. I would guess the DA was willing enough to have Polanski ‘pay’ for his rape of a child by basking on the beach in the South of France and not being able to pick up his Oscar in person, but given Polanski’s flaunting of his ongoing freedom and attempt to use that to revoke all charges just was too much.

I don’t care how long ago this was or how good his movies are. Child rapists should go to jail.

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idiot savant 09.30.09 at 10:31 pm

Wow…

“He’s done his time”, “”hang him” (figuratively speaking of course!), “Try him for statutory rape” (didn’t understand those – “trial” is over and done with; plea bargain for lesser charges made), etc., etc. etc.

I read most of the posts but frankly my head started pounding from the vitriolic banter. Anyway, I just thought I would ask all camps if it’s not just as likely that any extradition and subsequent US trial have less to do with:
1) “politics”
2) “Obama-lite” (whatever the hell THAT is)
3) “American vs. European”
4) Charlie Manson conspiracy theory, etc.
and MORE to do with the American Justice System doing what the system does (only this time the person involved happens to have money?)
1) The “fact” that the presiding judge may not have accepted the plea deal 32 years ago does NOT equate to Polanski getting to run. It sounds like the actual plea was never even entered anyway so there may be a question as to what he’s quilty of in the first place.
2) As I understand it, “we”, the US that is, always knew where he was. The problem was France would not extradite and he seemed to get “wind” of any time the US got wind of HIS travel plans to countries that have extracation treaties with us .
3) The victim’s wishes in THIS particular case do NOT count since the accused has already plead a deal and is therefore by definition “guilty” of SOMETHING. (Sucks to live in a nation that follows the Rule of Law, but…lol).

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Melissa 09.30.09 at 10:33 pm

Roman Polanski raped a 13-year old girl and fled the country. He deserves nothing. In what way is it acceptable to intoxicate, drug and force a young girl to have vaginal and anal intercourse with you. Fleeing the country just prolongs the inevitable, especially when one admits and pleads guilty to such charges.

As for those who signed the petition for him, like Woody Allen (of course):
Some might think you are “brilliant”, the rest of the civilized world sees you as a cancer on society. Oh yeah, and getting it on with your adoptive daughter (no matter her age) means your a very sick individual. But then again your movies are “great”, so let’s just turn a blind eye.

“Genius” does not in any way make up for the act of sexual or physical violence.
Some say that his exile for 30 years is punishment enough, that he is a pioneer of our time. I on the other hand do not believe that the little girl’s justice was served. Some say that enough time has passed, and that because she has now decided to drop the charges it is all better.

These things are not acceptable.

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Bird 09.30.09 at 11:17 pm

C’mon people…I once heard a phrase “The problem with common sense is that it’s not very common.” There seems to be quite a bit of that revolving this case. For starters remember that justice (by the American ideals) is blind (or it is supposed to be). So lets remove the name of the accused. Now you have a no name man who drugged and raped a 13 year old girl. Next we have a plea to a lesser charge of statutory RAPE. An admittance by the accused. So now we have a man who admitted raping a 13 year old child who then proceeded to flee the country to avoid sentencing because he thought the sentencing would be unfair. Now how do you feel about this man and his crime?

The criminal has now survived some 32 years on the lamb and finally been caught. Does the time passed or his cunning to elude capture change the crime and required punishment?

Some say the timing is strange. Does the timing change the crime? Who cares about the timing?

Some say he has suffered enough. What ever suffering this man has endured was by his own will and actions to flee. Whatever hardships he may have endured may be interpreted as punishment (and arguably this may be true) but not punishment for his crime, rather punishment for fleeing.

Some say that it should be dropped because the victim wishes it. Let me remind you all, the victim does not sentence the accused/guilty, a judge and jury carry that burden for the obvious reasons reflected in this exact case. It is cases like this that makes this rule necessary.

Some say there are many criminals that have fled and the various D.A.’s do not pursue them with the same zeal. This is true, however there is a message to be sent by the actions of the prosecutors here. This is a high profile case that will reach a wide audience and will act as a vehicle to get out a reminding message that no matter how famous, rich, well-liked, educated, etc… when you commit a crime of this nature you can be caught and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Sure you may run and hide for 30+ years, but we may still find you and punish you accordingly. No one should be above the law.

Then there are a select few who always think conspiracy. Oh they caught him now to distract from the Middle-east or the current health care debate. There is a simple solution to this. Don’t let it distract you. Don’t give them the power if this is truly how you feel.

And one last thing, some say he is a genius and should receive lenience for his gifts of film to the world. Huh? Really? What universe does this happen in? Would you still feel the same way if this 13 year old girl was your mom, sister or daughter?

Use common sense people…trim some of that Grey area away and simplify your lives.

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Dan Simon 10.01.09 at 12:13 am

Just as a reminder to all you self righteous jackoffs who feel Polanski should be punished for this “set up crime” (the mother of the girl was a real fame seeker and encouraged her daughter to “get close” to the director) this man has suffered all his life in a way few of us will ever know. His mother was killed in a concentration camp. He lived in a Jewish ghetto. It is a wonder he survived though out world war II.

And yet, oddly enough, the overwhelming majority of Holocaust survivors somehow managed to live out their trauma-haunted lives without perpetrating anything remotely as monstrous as raping a thirteen-year-old girl.

247

Ursula Yanno 10.01.09 at 12:15 am

When I was a Foreign Correspondent for BZ Berlin in Paris, I interviewed Roman Polanski and his than wife, Barbara. I cooked him a spaghetti dinner in my appartment in Montmartre. They just had fled Communist Poland and he was supposed to do a film in France. We are talking late 50this begin 60this. I cannot remember the exact time.
Having had 2 girls my question is: which mother lets a 13 year old girl alone with a man? AM I missing a chapter? When he came to Paris, he was already a celebrity in Poland.
Women were all over him. That’s all I am saying….

248

harold 10.01.09 at 12:38 am

The victim’s view might be colored by the fact that she received a generous legal settlement.

However that may be, society and the law have an obligation that goes beyond the victim. That is why the state and not the victim conduct the trial.

I agree that high profile people should not be allowed to set an example of flouting the law.

249

David 10.01.09 at 12:56 am

Salient, if I understand correctly, he didn’t flee (which I’m not defending, nor the crime for christ sake) to avoid serving an extra month or two on top of time served. That was the supposed deal and there is good reason to believe that the judge was going to renege and sentence him to considerably more time. We might as well have all our facts in place, even allowing the centrality of the fact that he raped a child and deserved more time.

250

jdkbrown 10.01.09 at 1:21 am

“We might as well have all our facts in place”

Yes, we might as well. To that end: A plea agreement is not between the defendant and the judge, so the judge cannot renege. The agreement is between the defendant and the prosecutor–the defendant pleads guilty and the prosecutor *recommends* a sentence to the judge. The judge need not accept the recommendation–he has discretion to reject the agreement.

If the judge had rejected the deal and Polanski thought he had done so improperly, Polanski could have filed an appeal. As it was, we don’t know whether the judge ultimately would have accepted the deal or not because Polanksi short-circuited the process by fleeing.

251

Erica 10.01.09 at 1:59 am

Yes, he did it but how about her parents? where were they at that time ? what she was doing at Nicolson’s house at night? next movie? hello. she took setlement and case should be over and closed. period. If the low in this country is like that I’m moving to Europe. Every human can make a mistake, but there is a time limit on prosecution. Is it or no? 32 years . America , wake up and change the low or prosecutors.

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LaurieG 10.01.09 at 3:07 am

Is the United States the ONLY country in the world standing up for the safety of little girls? We need a list of every single one of these hedonistic creeps defending this man and boycott any film they have been associated with. In fact, we should cut diplomatic ties with any country that does not respect the basic human right of a child to be a child without fear of molestation. That includes every country that has sheltered this man. This is a human rights issue. Child molesters don’t have any rights.

He should be brought back and given the maximum sentence possible.

Hollywoodites and Europeans reading this, be aware: There are a lot of people in the U.S. still standing for what we have always stood for — the protection of the innocent. The viewpoint of the majority of Americans is certainly not expressed by the degenerate Hollywood and European cultures. The vast majority of us are completely unimpressed by European (so-called) “culture,” and a great many of us see Europeans as having spinelessly caved in to the immoral social evils associated with your new government system. Or rather, one is the result of the other. We are the last bastion of Western CIVILIZATION and I guarantee you we aren’t giving it up without a fight. Any society that does not protect its children does not deserve to exist.

I pray we never get to the condition of spinelessness that we see in Europe.

You can spout all the garbage you wish about “genius” and “brilliance,” and persecuting a poor old man or whatever other manure bs you wish. We are fighting for a minimum of life in prison without parole for people who rape children, and we will win. And I personally would deem the death penalty more appropriate for such crimes. Maybe a good old-fashioned hanging or two would send the right message.

I would hope to hear from at least one European reading this that the views expressed at the film awards in Switzerland that this sub-human was going to attend, do not reflect the views of all Europeans. But I’m not holding my breath.

253

David 10.01.09 at 3:23 am

And now I see that the former prosecutor who was a source for the judge angle says that he embellished/lied about that aspect. With the judge in question dead, we’ll never know from that side. Polanski will just have to take his chances with a new judge and of course the added prosecution on the flight charges. As has been pointed out, the only victim in this affair is the victim.

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Shanna 10.01.09 at 3:34 am

Having had 2 girls my question is: which mother lets a 13 year old girl alone with a man?

Aside from the fact that this kind of speculation is why the victim in this case wishes the whole thing would go very far away (that, and all the talk about what a slut she was at 13), the girl was there to do a job. Perhaps the mother expected professional behavior. Obviously in retrospect, that was unwise since Polanski is a rapist, but hindsight is 20/20. Do mothers always stay on set when children are working? I don’t know if that’s common now or if it was common then.

Regardless, Polanski was an adult and he had a responsibility to NOT rape a 13 year old girl. Who gives a damn about the mother at this point?

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The Raven 10.01.09 at 4:10 am

One other victim, I think: justice. It’s a hunch, and I don’t understand its source, but I suspect the result of this arrest, no matter how well intended, is going to be injustice.

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Carole 10.01.09 at 5:59 am

The transcript recently released regarding the Polanski trial omits important information. The girl readily admitted the following:
• She accepted the glass of champagne that was offered. No one forced her.
• She knew what the quaalude was as she had taken this drug before, she told Polanski this.
It is unclear that he knew her age. She looked much older and presented herself this way intentionally, with her mother’s help.
This girl was not a virgin and had sex prior to this with more than one man, at age 13.
Her mother was shopping her around to directors in Hollywood hoping to make her a star.
Who decided to take this to the police? I have to ask if it was her mother, hoping for the eventual monetary settlement. Once that deal was done the girl seemed to be willing to walk away.

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JoB 10.01.09 at 10:19 am

harold,

“might be” or might not be – without any information one way or the other it is a cheap contention to make. There’s nothing wrong with civil proceedings & the beneficiary of a settlement is not necessarily coloured one way or another.

So, it’s true enough that justice trumps the individual preference of the victim, but not absolutely. But justice does generally need to consider the victim’s wish, it it would be, in a fully absolute sense independent of any victim’s wish, victims might feel it’s better not to come forward. If victims would feel that their opinion is overshadowed because of accepting a settlement, they may feel a tendency not to settle against own interest.

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Soo Yeon 10.01.09 at 11:06 am

People have lost their jobs, their homes, and for some even their self respect. If ever there was such a time to try to defend a criminal on the grounds that since he was wealthy and popular enough to evade justice for years he should be set free and go unpunished, this is the worst time possible.

Someone should tell the people in their ivory Hollywood towers that the peasants do not need to organize to go out on a search for torches. They already have them in their hands and they have been alight for awhile now.

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pat 10.01.09 at 12:35 pm

if he raped the 13 yearm old girl then hang him, Oh he has don sooooo many good things—— so what

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pat 10.01.09 at 12:40 pm

if he is guilty then he should serve his time

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Sheelzebub 10.01.09 at 2:45 pm

I do wonder if, now, quite suddenly those Polanski rape-apologist defender who are expressing concern for the wishes of the rape survivor and are demanding respect for her, will look at their own role in this. If they are truly so fucking sympathetic to her wishes, how about this–they can cease and desist the puritanical slut-baiting rape apology BS, disavow it, and fucking apologize for each and every instance they engaged in it. They can also come down HARD like a ton of fucking bricks on people who DO engage in it.

A lot of victims don’t come forward because of the rape-apology they encounter–they are blamed, called slutty, and often harassed by their attacker’s friends and supporters (who insist that they had dinner with him and hang out with him and he could never do such a thing, so she’s a lying whore). Polanski’s defenders–and some of the really vile, puritanical, and misogynist rape apology exemplified by some douchenozzles on this thread –only proves this point. It is not because now the survivors wishes aren’t respected–it’s because Polanski’s supporters–even now insist she was a slut who consented, it was really her mother’s fault, and it wasn’t even really a crime, and anyone who disagrees is uptight and puritanical. Fuck that noise.

Irene, Urusla and Duane, drop the rape apology and get a clue. Ursula and Duane, don’t blame her mother for the actions of a 44-year-old man. He made the choice to give drugs and alcohol to a 13-year-old girl and then have sex with her–which is RAPE. A 13-year-old cannot meaningfully consent to sex with an adult, especially when she’s high and drunk (and especially when she’s high and drunk because of HIM). He was the adult in this situation hello–again 44 years old, a middle aged man) , and he damn well knew better. Plenty of adults saw nothing wrong with letting their kids be along with other adults who seemed responsible and normal, because there just wan’t the knowledge about sexual abuse there is now (and it’s telling that now, there’s bitching about how no one trusts men YET at the same time, if a man assaults or rapes a woman or a child, it’s the woman’s fault or the mother’s fault for “enabling” the situation).

Ursula, a man who has women all over him can still rape someone, because rape is about entitlement and power, not about consensual sex.

Irene, how telling that you whine about “dignified feminine behavior” (how very Victorian and puritanical of you, dear), but you ignore that a) she was 13 years old and still very much a child b) Polanski was 44 years old and very much a middle-aged man in all ways. Where are the concerns for dignfied male behavior? I have to laugh at these folks who deride this case as a morals case (it ain’t Stonewall, morons) yet then complain about a lack of morality in the 13-year-old kid. Morals are uptight and ridiculous unless you’re a woman or a girl–then you must behave with proper Victorian morality and decorum, or face the consequences. You know what’s not dignified? Giving quaaludes and champagne to 13-year-olds and then raping them. Just sayin’.

Oh, and you know, I know Cambodians who barely survived Pol Pot’s genocidal regime. Yet I don’t think they’d get the sympathy Polanski’s getting if they committed a crime and said it was because of the trauma of what they went through.

And BTW–last time I checked, the state of California didn’t have the authority to try people for fucking war crimes, but nice try at building a strawman. We can focus on that AND on misogynist morons giving child rapists a free pass. Really–it’s not our problem if you’ve got issues walking and chewing gum at the same time.

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will 10.01.09 at 3:27 pm

Yeah this is bush’s fault. Just when you think, They can’t beat the dead horse anymore. Neon shows up.

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Sandi 10.01.09 at 4:50 pm

Rape is rape and a crime is a crime. It doesn’t matter how long it had taken place or if one is a celebrity or not. Being a victim and a survivor of sexual abuse – I am disgusted that people would actually back this guy up. I don’t care if you are a celebrity or the pope. YOU don’t violate another person. Especially children. You don’t also jump ship and flee the country, running away from the consquences of your actions. What type of example would this set to other victims of sexual abuse if Roman is let off the hook…just because the event had taken place years ago? It isn’t up to the victim, it is in the courts hands now. Even if the charge of child abuse (sexual) isn’t followed through with, he will still be screwed because he fled the country before the case was completed. How if that child WERE YOU. How if you were the parent of the child? I think she would want justice, but as a victim of sexual abuse…we CHOOSE to put that type of stuff behind us otherwise it drives us insane. WE as the people of the judicial system have to defend those who are violated, and not defend the predator. I bet all the child molesters of the world are jumping with joy hoping this guy gets cut loose. Either you are defending this guy because you have no morals yourself, are as far left as you can get, an ex felon, do not have children of your own, or simply a child molesting freak yourself. Justice has to be served, otherwise all faith in the court system and mankind is lost.

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Marc 10.01.09 at 5:46 pm

#254: Demonizing those who disagree with you, and falsely characterizing their opinions, can be deeply satisfying. That doesn’t make it right. I’ve seen your certainty before, and it’s been employed to horrible ends (look up the Scottsboro Boys, or the McMartin preschool trial in more recent memory).

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Barry 10.01.09 at 6:36 pm

Marc, perhaps you should correct the number of the comment; #254 certainly doesn’t demonize anybody who isn’t deserving of it.

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Sheelzebub 10.01.09 at 8:02 pm

Marc: I suggest you take a look at your comment #194, with your assertion that those people who think Polanski shouldn’t be above the law, and that he should be held accountable for his crimes (to which he pled guilty, BTW) are “baying for blood.” Then take your own advice. Pointing out that slut-baiting is not okay, that it’s quite the Victorian double-standard to cry about puritanism and then whine about how the 13-year-old girl was loose, and that “having sex” with a 13-year-old girl (and giving her drugs and alcohol to boot) is illegal when you’re an adult is hardly at the level of the false accusations against the Scottsboro boys.

Sandi: are as far left as you can get

Sandi, seriously? STFU. I’m about “as far left as you can get,” as are a lot of critics of Polanski’s defenders. You are drowning in straw there.

Carole:

•She accepted the glass of champagne that was offered. No one forced her.
•She knew what the quaalude was as she had taken this drug before, she told Polanski this.
It is unclear that he knew her age. She looked much older and presented herself this way intentionally, with her mother’s help.

Polanski was aware that she was a minor, because he had to get permission from her mother to photograph her, and her mother thought that this was a job. A 13-year-old is still a 13-year-old, no matter how much older you think she looks. And really, it’s illegal for an adult to offer a minor alcohol or drugs–it doesn’t matter if she took them before or drank before. Polanski was the adult–he was a middle-aged man–and she was a young teenager. He damn well knew better.

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Fr. 10.01.09 at 8:04 pm

Linca: it finally appears Polanski’s crime is not a candidate for “prescription.” See citation by Maître Eolas (French lawyer) in a comment above.

Kieran, this entry is now in your K+H Google first page.

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Sheelzebub 10.01.09 at 8:13 pm

Laurie: Hollywoodites and Europeans reading this, be aware: There are a lot of people in the U.S. still standing for what we have always stood for—the protection of the innocent. The viewpoint of the majority of Americans is certainly not expressed by the degenerate Hollywood and European cultures.

Uh, Laurie, the folks defending Polanski are the glitterati in Europe and the US–not the general population of Europe, who have made it clear they think he should be held accountable for his actions (including, BTW, the leftist Green Party in France).

As for the US standing for the protection of the innocent–oh, puleeze. There are plenty of “innocents” who would dispute that point, including rape survivors (say, civilians who were raped and slut-baited, female soldiers in the army who were raped and punished for their rapes, and girls in Iraq who were raped by soldiers). Might I remind you, Huckabee set a rapist free because the teenaged girl he attacked was a distant relative of Bill Clinton, so she must have been lying and it must have been a setup, amirite?? And said rapist went on to attack other women. Great record we have there!

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Fr. 10.01.09 at 8:13 pm

Carole:

She accepted the glass of champagne that was offered. No one forced her.
She knew what the quaalude was as she had taken this drug before, she told Polanski this. It is unclear that he knew her age. She looked much older and presented herself this way intentionally, with her mother’s help.

Finally, the conditions under which rape becomes legal! If she accepts one glass of champagne, if she looks older, and if her mom helped her dress up, then she’s all yours.

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Hairnet 10.01.09 at 8:41 pm

There are numerous contenders to be sure, but the following is my runaway favorite for most fatuous comment thus far:

“… what we’re witnessing, in the Anglo-Saxon world, is a transference to Polanski of all the wrongs committed by their political and economic elites. Led into an aggressive war by its political leaders, robbed by its economic leaders, but utterly powerless (and, let’s face it, unwilling) to bring them to justice, Americans transfer their anger onto an elite artist.”

With these two sentences, the majestically erudite “a” (comment 138) perfectly encapsulates all the pet delusions of the poseurs who would have us believe they’re more culturally evolved, and therefore morally superior. According to this enlightened breed, calls for Polanski’s extradition are a function of (take your pick): class resentment, corrupt and rapacious leaders, a feckless and/or under-educated populace, or Americans’ innate provincialism. Of course, such a list would hardly be complete without a token anti-war comment.

Dear “a”: Your idiotic posturing notwithstanding, you’re not terribly bright or original, but Ill give you this much: You’re laugh-out-loud funny.

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Antoni Jaume 10.01.09 at 8:58 pm

“… the degenerate Hollywood and European cultures. “

With that premice, which existed already then, what fair trial could expect a Hollywood denizen from European descent?

When a child, one thing I learned was that people had a lot of difficulties to behave wisely when sex entered the discussion, that’s why religions have a lot of norms about such behavior. In the USA it seems to be a lot better to condemn children to a life of deprivation than to give them a correct sexual education. Violence is better considered than sex. Oh, by the way use of prostituted women is also rape.

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Jennifer 10.01.09 at 9:44 pm

A commenter here called those seeking justice re Polanski’s crime representatives of “all that is wrong with this world. ” What world is this man living on?
Simply: we want children to be safe. This is done by prosecuting sex offenders. Polanski should not take this personally and neither should his supporters. You rape a kid, you go to prison — that’s just how it works, or should work. I admire Polanski as an artist but this doesn’t mean he shouldn’t serve his time!
And yes, Polanski’s personal life is tragic, made even more tragic by his own hand, by the fact he chose to rape someone.
I saw an interview with him about six years ago in a magazine like “Vogue” or some such, and in it he says “It was all my fault” about the rape. He has admitted guilt more than once, and indeed quite recently, he just doesn’t think he should have to serve any time or be punished for what he did. But of course he should. His worshippers have convinced him otherwise though. And then we wonder why sex offenders are almost impossible to rehabilitate!
I’m tired of how much sexual assault happens on this planet and how many happen to kids. Sexual assault deeply scars its victims, affecting them immeasurably. Yes some make good ecoveries, but there is always a partial amputation that happens. Rarely does a sexual assault victim regain full mobility.
Perpetrators need to be held accountable, just like priests have begun to be held accountable (at last, thank God) for raping children.
And to those who think that this was the first and last child he ever laid his hands on–you are living in a fantasy world, or you are a sexual abuser yourself. Look it up, rapists never just rape once.

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engels 10.01.09 at 11:31 pm

I think this discussion helpfully shows why it is we don’t typically decide questions of criminal guilt and punishment by means of blog comments threads but with jury trials.

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perlhaqr 10.02.09 at 5:53 am

but but but……your echo chamber is being unfair to the libertarians again!

Maybe I’ve missed a running joke here, being new, but all the libertarians I know want this man shot in the head until dead for the crime of raping a child.

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cripes 10.02.09 at 7:47 am

Just to clear this up because many posters seem to misunderstand: statutes of limitation apply only to the amount of time allowed to commence prosecution, not to deliver punishment, or pursue a fugitive. In short, he was charged, plead guilty, and sentenced in absentia. Hence, no statute of limitations applies. Logically, there is a legitimate societal interest in this principle, because to do otherwise would reward fugitives who could remain free for enough time to escape any legal consequences. If the court broke its plea agreement, there should be automatic voiding of the guilty plea, and it is actually one of the causes for fugitives to run when the integrity of the court is at issue, and any person, guilty or innocent, cannot have confidence in the system. They perceive correctly, that they are helpless and at the mercy of scoundrels. Even a guilty person is entitled to equal justice, meaning the system follows it own rules.

And Polanski was probably a guilty prick, but hey, I wasn’t there, and that’s why we have a legal system.

Having said this, it is curious he has (finally) been extradited now–there must have been many opportunities in the past–and I am leery of prosecutors who exercise too much “discretion” in the administration of justice. Why now? And, qui bono?

Neither am I a fan of exempting the rich, famous or well-connected from equal justice, since that is (too often) neither equal or justice. There are, however, many more serious candidates for prosecution, starting with the kissingers, rumsfelds and many bank CEO’s who have shattered millions of lives and our society badly seeds to” send a message.”

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cripes 10.02.09 at 8:02 am

To JDKBrown:

You are mistaken about the process of plea bargains. Defendants don’t need prosecutors or “bargains” at all to simply plead guilty and “throw themselves on the mercy of the court” which is what you think it is.

Of course there is a quid pro quo, that is the defendant is offered the certainty of a known sentence in exchange for his pleading guilty, rather than the uncertainty of trial. Likewise the state gets the certainty of the conviction, etc.

The state presents this plea bargain to the court which, in almost every instance, has signed on the the bargain and commits to abide by the terms thereof.

If this were not the case, wouldn’t be too many plea bargains, now would there be?

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cripes 10.02.09 at 8:10 am

If LaurieG above really gave a rats ass about “protecting” children, she would direct all her moral invective at a system that condemns more of its children to poverty, ill health and homelessness than any other “advanced” nation, that is, her “last bastion of civilization,” the US.

But no, it’s so much easier to blather on about the degenerate europeans and hollywoodites, and how the entire world should join her delusional moral crusade against the lecherous child victimizers. What a crock of rethuglican, puritanical bullshit, hysteria-mengering self-serving hypocrisy.

It’s enough to make you want to free the polanski’s of the world. Just to spite her.

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novakant 10.02.09 at 9:06 am

For once, I fully agree with engels – what’s next, world peace?

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JoB 10.02.09 at 10:16 am

Let’s hope so.

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Stuart 10.02.09 at 11:15 am

Out of interest (as I am almost completely ignorate of the case) is it the case that Polanski’s defense attorney conspired with the judge to ignore the plea deal during sentencing, at the same time recommending his client take the deal? If so then while it doesn’t make him not guilty, I think a retrial is required (and his fleeing the country is more understandable if he considered he had no realistic chance of getting a fair trial).

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ogmb 10.02.09 at 2:17 pm

I think this discussion helpfully shows why it is we don’t typically decide questions of criminal guilt and punishment by means of blog comments threads but with jury trials.

I think you have an unduly high opinion of trial juries if you believe the deliberation there will be any better than what we’ve seen here. But then again, few trial juries have as many lawyers and academics in their ranks as CR and its commentariat, so it’s more a matter of regret about the waste of resources and opportunity. It’s especially unfortunate because one of the disagreements at the core of the discussion – the concept of Mercy in Justice and its all but complete erosion in the Anglo-American sphere in the Thatcher-Reagan-Clinton-Blair era – was almost completely ignored in favor of much moral panicking on one side of the discussion and rather clueless concepts of the prioritization of legal investigations on the other.

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Mark 10.02.09 at 2:52 pm

In addition to drugging and raping the 13 year old girl, Polanski took nude pictures of her which were found on his camera. Imagine this happening today and Polanski had only taken the pics. How much trouble would he be in? Under current federal law, production of child pornography carries a miniumum sentence of 15 years.

http://www.usdoj.gov/criminal/ceos/childporn_stats.html

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jdkbrown 10.02.09 at 3:06 pm

@ Cripes:

I never claimed that a defendant needed a prosecutor to simply plead guilty–I described exactly the quid pro quo you present in your second paragraph. Furthermore, that judges almost always accept the plea bargains presented to them does not in any way contradict the claim that judges do in fact have the discretion to reject plea bargains.

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cripes 10.02.09 at 5:23 pm

jdkbrown:

Sure, the judge could reject the plea bargain, but that doesn’t seem to be the case here. The judge accepted his guilty plea, which strongly suggests the case had proceeded to a plea bargain with the consent of the judge. Plea bargains are not done by pleading guilty first and THEN ASKING the judge if he’ll agree to a sentence: that comes prior to the guilty plea.

If it’s the case he did plead guilty based on a promise of a specific sentence (or range of sentence), and then was confronted with a judge who refused to abide by that agreement, then we have a contract broken. It’s hard for me to imagine polanski pleading guilty with no quid pro quo. It’s not like he couldn’t afford legal representation to proceed to trial.

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jdkbrown 10.02.09 at 5:30 pm

“It’s not like he couldn’t afford legal representation to proceed to trial.”

Or to file an appeal if the judge improperly sentenced him after signing off on the plea deal. But rather than take that route, he fled the country.

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Steve 10.02.09 at 9:34 pm

Interesting that no one has mentioned that criminal sentencing has two components: punishment and deterrence. Everyone is focusing on the punishment aspect and overlooking the deterrence aspect. If just one rich and famous adult decides not to drug and rape a child because he recalls that Roman Polanski rotted in prison in his old age for that crime, it will definately be worth the loss of Roman’s golden years in the French villa. If lots of rich and famous adults decide not to rape children based upon pictures of Roman spending his golden years in chains, it will be one of the greatest contributions Roman made to modern society, although his films are also OK, in a disturbing sort of way.

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roy belmont 10.02.09 at 11:15 pm

The mob psychology that sees this as some kind of retributive justice is very powerful and dangerously blind. The same pathological lust for sadistic catharsis was invoked to hound Michael Jackson.
It was invoked by people who could give a rat’s ass for the fate of any children but their own, but wanted Jackson taught a lesson and made an example of, for something unrelated entirely to sexual morality, and they got what they wanted.
By selectively revealing the moral darkness that’s far more pervasive than mediated reality implies, especially at the upper heirarchies of world economy, the clueless mob can be used as an autonomous weapon.
Much like the Iraq invasion was the result of mob hysteria, calibrated and precisely focused on a particular target that had nothing to do with the well-being of the US itself.
What Polanski did or didn’t do, how much damage was already there how much he should bear responsibility for, I don’t know. But it’s pretty clear he’s being used now as a cathartic puppet. By who and to what end I don’t know either. But it’s unmistakably deceptive. It stinks of manipulation.
Some knowledge of Polanski’s childhood, and the Sharon Tate/Manson murders (Tate was Polanksi’s wife pregnant with his child at the time) should complicate the moral response to what he’s alleged to have done, neither excuse or condone, but complicate.
But it won’t for the most vehement outraged, because they’re acting out their own pathologies and could give a shit about moral truth.
They want suffering, they want to see someone suffer, and they’re being offered Polanski, the way they were offered Jackson some years back.

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Substance McGravitas 10.02.09 at 11:23 pm

What Polanski did or didn’t do, how much damage was already there how much he should bear responsibility for, I don’t know.

The document LizardBreath links makes it clear what he was willing to cop to.

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Salient 10.03.09 at 12:02 am

But it won’t for the most vehement outraged, because they’re acting out their own pathologies and could give a shit about moral truth.

On average, I’ve seen more vehemence from the people defending Polanski than from the people saying he should be subject to a particular law which seems quite reasonable.

But it’s pretty clear he’s being used now as a cathartic puppet.

His defenders certainly seem to be getting a lot of cathartic mileage out of imbuing their opponents with various maladies. (I am specifically intending to suggest that you got cathartic mileage out of your own comment. It’s impossible for me to believe you didn’t get any pleasure out of typing “pathological lust for sadistic catharsis” and envisioning how it would be taken.)

the concept of Mercy in Justice

A 90-day “evaluation” sentence, plus probation, is pretty merciful for sexual assault. (And yes, even taking everything Roman said in his deposition as the complete and whole truth, I interpret the incident as sexual assault.) Based only on what Roman pled guilty to, I would even say a couple years’ jail sentence would have been quite merciful and fair.

Polanski’s flight complicates everything — he is independently culpable for that, in much the same way that a person is reasonably culpable for covering up evidence pertaining to an investigation, independent of whether one had committed a crime.

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PrinceofDarkness 10.03.09 at 2:17 am

Polanski’s getting a pass that your average Joe would not get for doing the same crime.

Are you sure about that ?
Let’s say that if an unknown Joe the Plumber had raped a thirteen year old girl AND managed to flee the country for 30 years, living in anonymity, would the LA district attorney STILL be pursuing him after 3 decades, and spending what will probably run into tens of millions of dollars of California taxpayers’ money in legal and extradition costs, when the current state budget deficit is 26 billion US dollars and essential welfare, public school and other programs are being cut.

I am NOT in any way condoning Polanski’s actions. Of course rape of a 13 year old should be prosecuted. Justice should be done in an ideal world. Nevertheless the world is far from ideal and resources are finite EVEN in California, or rather especially in California given their fiscal situation.

I am questioning the assumption that Polanski is having an “easy” ride.

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LaurieG 10.03.09 at 2:35 am

Reply to Cripes,

Oh, I can employ plenty of moral invective against “the system” which has been introduced incrementally into this country because of spinelessness. But we haven’t crossed the crossroads QUITE yet.

You want to talk about hypocrisy? How about we have to bend over backwards to respect other countries’ cultural “norms” but they don’t have to respect ours. (Or do you agree more with theirs?) That shouldn’t be true in the case of Europe.

If YOU really knew HOW to give a “rat’s rear end” about protecting children you would be busy at work addressing the root causes of the poverty, etc. of the children in this country. Poverty is not at the root of poverty. Poverty is an effect, not a cause. It is a result of ATTITUDES. It is a result of IGNORANCE. Maybe you recognize this second. But from your invective, I would wager a guess that you do not have any real understanding of what is at the root of the failure of the public school system, or who is behind it.

Maybe you don’t like what you perceive as the way this way this country began, but one thing is certain — the poor victims of the public school system often don’t even know that the good vastly outweighed the bad. (Are you one of those?) The “Puritans” you rail about–yes, they had some serious flaws. But maybe you don’t know that the Puritans and the Pilgrims were not the same thing. Why don’t you go actually study the difference and then come back and we can have a discussion. Oh, and I guess that means you would have to go get yourself a copy of the Geneva Bible in order to begin to understand these people.

The mere fact that you referred to me as a –what was it?–rethugrican?— shows your ignorance of the underlying issues. I haven’t been a Republican for nearly twenty years.

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Dan S. 10.03.09 at 3:41 am

I would wager a guess that you do not have any real understanding of what is at the root of the failure of the public school system, or who is behind it.

The victims, obviously. Duh!

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LaurieG 10.03.09 at 4:04 am

P.S. to Cripes,

It seems you made a lot of assumptions about me. Are you the one who was implying that I don’t believe in educating children about their own bodies and sexuality? You really are assuming a lot.

Let’s see. I believe you called me delusional. What am I delusional about? That there is a war being waged on children, therefore on society? Moral? Guilty as charged. Crusader. Does this mean standing up for what you believe in?

What do you believe in? Sitting and discussing the finer points of legal procedures and laws that may need to be changed? Polanski may or may not get off scot free, but what are you going to do when the next case comes along? Discuss the finer points of the “system”?

Is this the “system” that produces all the homelessness and poverty, and whatever? That creates hopelessness every time some monster gets away with what he did, or someone gets a raw deal in the courts? The “system” that it sounds like maybe you are suggesting I ought to go out and attack instead of exercising my democratic right to change it from within? Hmmm….

What does that make you? A Demo-donk? Or maybe a demo-ass? You better be careful about calling people hypocrites.

It cuts both ways, doesn’t it? But one thing I have noticed is, the left-leaners can dish it out, but they can’t take it.

Oh, and in reference to studying American History, which you can’t really do without reading the Bible (at least not if you are going to be intelligent about it): If you can’t find a Geneva Bible, the King James (AV1611) reads almost word-for-word the same.

I’ll blather about the Europeans and the Hollywoodites if it wakes people up to realize the Hollywood is more Europe than America and to stop worshiping at the shrine.

And as for your remark that my “blathering” is “enough to make you want to free the polanski’s of the world. Just to spite [me],” well, that pretty much speaks for itself .

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LaurieG 10.03.09 at 4:12 am

P.P.S. to Cripes,

What is the SYSTEM, if it isn’t the law and the courts?

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LaurieG 10.03.09 at 4:38 am

Yikes, Cripes,

I got it! Demo-CRITE.

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LaurieG 10.03.09 at 4:45 am

Dan S, why don’t you sit and figure up the total amount of money that has been thrown at the public school system in the last fifty or so years.

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Lee A. Arnold 10.03.09 at 5:09 am

I wish the U.S. would stand up for little girls, but an old and reliable statistic is that 1/4 of all U.S. females are sexually molested by the age of 18. You read that right. Usually by a family member or friend of the family. And 1/6 of all U.S. males are sexually molested by the age of 18. Quick back of the envelope calculation is that maybe 1/5 of the U.S. population should do jail time.

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cripes 10.03.09 at 6:28 am

Laurie”G”:

Oh, sure, child poverty is the result of ATTITUDES, like yours, that the poor are to blame for every social and economic ill in this nation, although they have zero power, and the US is ruled by sociopathic plutocrats who are raping the entire nation. Gee, there’s some abuse you can sink your teeth into.

But hey, why worry about that when you can focus your lazer-like intellect at insignificant individuals like Polanski, or gangster rap, or sister souljah, or some other irrelevent nonsense.

As for “addressing the root causes of poverty,” I have spent much of my adult life working to house, clothe and employ homeless people, immigrants and prostitutes. What the f–k have you done?

Still waiting for your explanation why the US has the WORST record in child health, poverty and education in the entire developed world. Oh yeah, it’s their ATTITUDES. Moron.

Roy Belmont has a point, you knuckleheads like a witch hunt, even if there is a real witch in polanski, it shows you for the vicious creeps you are.

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cripes 10.03.09 at 6:31 am

To all the torch-carrying peasants storming Polanski’s Castle:

You sound like convicts in prison whining about how terrible those child molesters are. Smoke and mirror misdirection to cover your own psychopathy.

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cripes 10.03.09 at 7:05 am

All right, to cut the hyperbole, aside from the position that Polanski should pay a just penalty, which I don’t dispute, it seems the position of the torch wavers is that the US justice system should be yet more punitive towards “sex offenders” than it already is.

This reflects a deep ignorance considering the US already has, without doubt, the most punitive criminal justice system in the world, with the most prisoners , second most executions, and an extremely aggressive sex offender policy.

This includes lifetime sex offender status for 19 year olds who have sex with 17 year olds, “peeping toms” and even public urinators. It also includes preventive detention beyond completion of their sentences, and banishment from living in cities, forcing entire communities of “ex” offenders to live under bridges in places like Miami.

No lack of aggressive enforcement there. The problem is homeless and isolated sex offenders–surprise– are less likely to report to authorities, and more likely to reoffend. Oh well, as long as we make an example of them, huh?

And it’s so much easier to go to sleep at night, pretending we are “protecting the children,” instead of actually building a society where children have health care, education and housing, and don’t feel the need to sell drugs, or their bodies, or suffer the condemnation of hyprocrites who blame them for their “ATTITUDES” being the source of all social problems.

Hell, tell that to the bankers that actually control your lives and steal your retirement savings, and they’ll slap you with 33% card fees, foreclose your house and take your job, since you’re now an unreliable employee as a result of bad credit.

But that takes courage. Let’s just rail on about Michael Jackson, Roman Polanski, this week’s milk carton missing child, and the decline of “morality” among the poor. Dupes.

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tim 10.03.09 at 9:09 am

if we had a one world government then child rapists coudnt hide in anywhere-maybe this is the reason…

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hellblazer 10.03.09 at 1:17 pm

I’ve been staying out of this since I don’t have anything to add, but this really got my goat:

LaurieG 10.01.09 at 3:07 am (#252)

Is the United States the ONLY country in the world standing up for the safety of little girls?

Obviously not. Was that meant to be a stupid question?

This is a human rights issue. Child molesters don’t have any rights.

They forfeit many; they don’t forfeit all.

He should be brought back and given the maximum sentence possible.

Tempted to agree, though if maximum means death through natural causes I don’t think the retribution is sufficient motive. Punishment, yes.

Hollywoodites and Europeans reading this, be aware: There are a lot of people in the U.S. still standing for what we have always stood for—the protection of the innocent.

Oh please. Rights of the individual, yes. Protection of the innocent? You’re just another country, doing better than many, but falling far short of what you’d claim.

The vast majority of us are completely unimpressed by European (so-called) “culture,” and a great many of us see Europeans as having spinelessly caved in to the immoral social evils associated with your new government system. Or rather, one is the result of the other. We are the last bastion of Western CIVILIZATION and I guarantee you we aren’t giving it up without a fight.

Well, a great many of us Europeans (unfairly, perhaps) see you as consumed with a quite striking bilious, self-satisfied, self-serving, self-aggrandizing image of yourselves. Social evils my arse, quite frankly.

I pray we never get to the condition of spinelessness that we see in Europe.

I pray we never forget ourselves so far as to get to the condition of sanctimonious, self-righteous, incurious, bigoted, “no bullshit” bullshit that we see on occasion in the US.

Maybe a good old-fashioned hanging or two would send the right message.

And maybe not. The point is to be better than barbarians, not to outdo their barbarism.

I would hope to hear from at least one European reading this that the views expressed at the film awards in Switzerland that this sub-human was going to attend, do not reflect the views of all Europeans.

Well I’m European (by birth), as is Kieran Healy if I recall correctly, and the views expressed on that petition by self-deceiving or self-misguiding actors and directors do not reflect my own or Kieran’s, or any of my friends. And I suspect they don’t reflect the views of most Europeans, let alone all of them. Does that slake your thirst? or do you wish to vaunt your superiority over us in some other way?

But I’m not holding my breath.

Try it. It might stop you from posting such hateful bile in what should be a just cause.

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Barbar 10.03.09 at 2:12 pm

it seems the position of the torch wavers is that the US justice system should be yet more punitive towards “sex offenders” than it already is.

No, the position of the “torch wavers” is that it is absolutely ridiculous to consider Polanksi’s arrest outrageous. The various defenses rolled out in favor of Polanski have been absurd.

Muddying the waters is a bunch of moral panickers running around screaming hysterically about moral panic, comparing Polanski’s arrest to Marcus Dixon’s, and talking nonsense about bankers and degenerate Europeans. It has been a real shame.

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Dan S. 10.03.09 at 2:18 pm

Dan S, why don’t you sit and figure up the total amount of money that has been thrown at the public school system in the last fifty or so years.

I agree, it is a horrible shame how the Air Force has to keep holding all those bake sales just to buy a bomber or two.

After all, one would expect a country that’s the world’s richest and third most populous – while also having entrenched poverty, deep social divisions, substantial levels of immigration and a historical system of racial apartheid not legally abolished until well within living memory – should be able to fund a nation-wide system of public education for some spare change found under the White House sofa cushions, right?

Less flippantly, it really helps to keep in mind that in effect there isn’t actually a “public school system,” but several. At a minimum, there’s one for affluent, often suburban areas, one for often struggling rural(ish) areas and one for impoverished, often majority-minority, usually urban areas. There’s this persistent rhetorical twitch where these wildly different systems get subsumed/conflated/erased into each other, as if Philadelphia ($9,947 per pupil, per capita income $16, 509, median family income $37,036, 22.9% of the population below the poverty line) and suburban Lower Merion Township, PA ($17, 184 per pupil, per capita income $55,526, median family income $148,123, 4.5% of the population below the poverty line) shared the same school district.

Granted, this is going rather off topic, as Polanski is presumably too infirm to rape all of the eighth graders in the U.S. (and so clearly should be set free!)

In fact, we should cut diplomatic ties with any country that does not respect the basic human right of a child

For what it’s worth, we and Somalia are the only two countries which have not ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Granted, compared to some poverty-ridden, high-infant-mortality, child-soldier-using, underage-prostitution hotspot, we’re doing amazing, but compared to our peers . . . meh.

Child molesters don’t have any rights.
Yes they do – seriously curtailed of necessity in order to protect others, both directly and indirectly – but they’re still human. Depressingly.

Hollywoodites and Europeans

Again, this isn’t some issue of ” degenerate Hollywood and European cultures”, but privileged moral morons and those who imagine that they’re somehow allied to them vs. everyone else (here and in Europe)

There are a lot of people in the U.S. still standing for what we have always stood for—the protection of the innocent.

Well, as an ideal, and largely in retrospect, maybe. But as a practical matter, for quite a while certain innocents could be torn away from their (similarly enslaved) families, abused in every possible way (talk about rape culture!), and etc. Now, from the beginning there were folks here who opposed that, to their undying credit, and if you want to claim them as part of the heritage of Ideal America, I wholeheartedly agree. But as a historical matter . . .

the immoral social evils associated with your [Europeans'?] new government system
Wha . . .?

(And are there moral social evils?)

I pray we never get to the condition of spinelessness that we see in Europe.

I know – it would be hideous to have guaranteed affordable health care, sane levels of parental leave, reasonable access to child care, enough vacation days that one can actually get to spend time with one’s children, even home nurse visits for new parents. The horror – the horror! (Yes, I know this isn’t what you’re talking about – but again, it’s clear that Europe has no monopoly on child-rape apologists. Honestly, I wish we could roll up all evil and stupidity in a neat little ball of Other conveniently labeled ‘Hollywood and Europe’ (or ‘mega-rich vultures’, or ‘the GOP’, or whatever) – we’ve got a kid on the way, and I am horrified to find so many of my fellow citizens are apparently ok with them being either a middle-school-aged rape-object or a middle-aged child-rapist (if of sufficient fame and status) – but I don’t know if it’s that easy.

We are fighting for a minimum of life in prison without parole for people who rape children, and we will win.

I disagree with a lot of what roy belmont and cripes are saying, but they’re right that one has to careful – from what I’ve , there is a real problem with people being imprisoned for years/hounded for life because as kids they engaged in with consensual sex with other kids, etc. Not that justice is a finite&conserved quantity and letting Polanski go will somehow fix this, or that cases like his are in any way analogous to that! But we want to avoid slipping into a worst-of-both-worlds scenario, where there are seriously punitive consequences for the poor and middling sorts – even when this is wildly disproportionate to the actual acts – but in practice the wealthy and well-connected get away with slaps on the wrist. (I know you certainly don’t want the latter, but given the distribution of power, I can see what those two are worrying about, where this utterly appropriate outrage ends up falling on the low, but missing the high. Not sure what to do about that. Keeping quiet about Polanski’s crimes & the current vomitous outpouring of rape apologia obviously isn’t the answer – again, there’s no law of conservation of (in)justice where pooh-poohing rape reduces the amount of privilege & neofeudalism in the world; if anything they share a distant & tangled root in the idea that those “above” own & can dominate those “below”; oppressions are intertwined and overlapping, etc.), but . . .

And I personally would deem the death penalty more appropriate for such crimes. Maybe a good old-fashioned hanging or two would send the right message.

Of course, there’s the obvious problem with the justice system’s documented inability to determine guilt accurately enough to get to dispense such irreversible and uncurtailable punishment. Beyond that, I’d personally oppose the death penalty for any crimes, on the grounds that just as high-status primate Polanski doesn’t get to rape children, super high-status metaphorical primate ‘The State’ doesn’t get to kill folks.

Of course – roy and cripes, beating straw-torchbearing peasants is fun, but note that at best the only (partial) example in this whole almost-300-comment thread is Laurie, and most of the other discussions I’ve seen don’t even have one. Not that there aren’t real life examples, but seriously!

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bob mcmanus 10.03.09 at 3:18 pm

belmont was terrific, although I said it earlier, clumsily as usual.

“…recall how we were rendered helpless by the expropriation of the progressive politics of identity in order to further dismantle the social welfare state.” …Richard Estes.

It’s about identity politics, and that we must prove ourselves feminists with an exuberant outrage at this insignificant miscreant. Are we, or are we not, sympathetic to child rapists? Important and immediate issue, my ass. Mom, apple pie, flag for the SWPL set.

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Barbar 10.03.09 at 3:47 pm

Search for ‘immediate’. Two cases found:

I raise my voice for immediate release Roman Polanski.
Important and immediate issue, my ass.

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lemuel pitkin 10.03.09 at 3:50 pm

it seems the position of the torch wavers is that the US justice system should be yet more punitive towards “sex offenders” than it already is.

Who are these “torch wavers”, exactly? Certainly nobody posting or commenting at CT, or any of the other left-leaning blogs I read.

It’s perfectly possible to believe — as I, and I would bet the vast majority of CTers, do — that the US criminal justice system is far too punitive in general and toward sex offenders in particular, *and* to believe that it’s important that Polanski suffer some legal consequences, both to establish the important principle that the rich and powerful are not above the law, and because Polanski committed what was unambiguously a rape.

Do you really believe that the only way to avoid abusive prosecutions under sex offense laws is to decriminalize rape? I’m sure you don’t. But in that case, what on earth do the “19 year olds who have sex with 17 year olds, peeping toms and public urinators” have to do with Polanski?

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Barbar 10.03.09 at 3:55 pm

what on earth do the “19 year olds who have sex with 17 year olds, peeping toms and public urinators” have to do with Polanski?

About as much as evil bankers, health care, credit card fees, high unemployment, drugs, prostitution, foreclosures, and the Iraq invasion do.

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Barbar 10.03.09 at 4:07 pm

What’s very odd to me is that Polanski has been free from the American justice system for over 30 years, and yet during that time we’ve had:

1. The election of Ronald Reagan and the two George Bushes (total of 20 years in office)
2. Two invasions of Iraq
3. No universal health care bill passed
4. A major economic crisis leading to a wave of foreclosures and massive unemployment
5. Significant escalation of the “war on drugs” and the “war on terror” leading to the erosion of civil liberties

How much worse could things get with Polanksi in custody?

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Dan S. 10.04.09 at 12:33 am

It’s about identity politics, and that we must prove ourselves feminists with an exuberant outrage at this insignificant miscreant. Are we, or are we not, sympathetic to child rapists? Important and immediate issue, my ass. Mom, apple pie, flag for the SWPL set.

1) You should read Dr. B’s post, which starts off in a vaguely similar place, but ends up with very different conclusions, and 2) As I wrote above, most if not all of this “exuberant outrage” would seem to be in response to the exuberant rape apologism (-gasm?) pouring out of various folks, everything from “but Nazis were mean to him” (poor Roman, the only person in the world who ever suffered horribly at the hands of the Nazis!) to “it was her mom’s fault” (apparently her mom invisibly teleported into the house, used mind-control powers to make Polanski give her daughter drugs and alcohol, and then – oh, I don’t even want to go there). I don’t think feminist purity tests tend to be a useful road to go down, but if somebody needs one for some reason, I’d say calling out blatant and noisy rape apologists is as reasonable a demand as any!

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Dan S. 10.04.09 at 1:54 am

Er, make that ‘you should read Dr. B’s post‘ . . .

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Arthur Wagner 10.04.09 at 7:40 pm

The recently unearthed vintage video of Polanski on “To Catch a Predator.”

http://www.thenoseonyourface.com/conservative-satire/roman-polanski-on-to-catch-a-predator/

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cripes 10.05.09 at 7:45 am

Barber and Lemuel Pitkin are being obtuse to “miss” the connection I draw between grossly punitive sex-offender laws, economic rape of the US, AND ITS CHILDREN, and the faux-outrage of the phony morality police baying for Polanski’s blood on hundreds of blogs around the ‘nets.

It’s simply this: it’s far easier for the closet molester right wingers and their “feminist” allies to carry on about Michael Jackson, Polanski, whatever, than it is to address the pervasive and criminal neglect and abuse of our people, and our children (as if only”children” are deserving of sympathy and protection), in the prisons, the drug war, the communities stripped of adults fed into the prisons, the brutal lack of health care, economic insecurity…finish this yourself.

Oh no, wrapped in sanctimonious self-aggrandizing primal hate, they PRETEND they’re “saving the children” by ranting about isolated examples of “molesters.” Bet your last recovery dollar these are the same dickwads that cheer on the drug war and police brutalizing poor and minority kids, preaching about “personal responsibility” for those with nothing. And health care? Feh, let em eat moldy bread, thar’s penicillin in thar.

I have no special sympathy for Roman Polanski, and have said before he deserves to be called to justice. But waste our time pretending this insignificance is worth all the bluster? No, this is mere media-induced smoke and mirrors.

In the meantime, infant mortality rates in DC and Bedford Stuyvesant rival Botswana, thousand line up in LA and Houston and Appalachia for refugee field health clinics. It’s not embarrassing, it’s criminal.

Alan Grayson has it right, a holocaust is happening every day, dumped at the doors of overcrowded emergency rooms, standing in line at the food pantry, sleeping in cars, and being evicted from their homes. And they worry about Polanski? Bullshit.

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Audrey 10.05.09 at 4:39 pm

Cripes, you are right! But nothing you say excuses Roman Polanski’s actions from rape to fleeing. The power brokers, every last one of them, need to face justice.

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djw 10.06.09 at 1:49 am

Well, between Cripes and Laurie G, virtually everyone here ought to be embarrassed to share a side with someone.

Also, what LP said. This case is not ambiguous or complicated, nor does it tell us much of anything about larger Big Issues, except for what it reveals in people’s bizarre reactions.

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Gerry 10.06.09 at 6:19 am

Cripes is very, very good at making the complex and deep connections between seemingly unrelated issues (and sentence fragments) than any mere human. We are blessed by his presence.

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