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Roger Simon in The Politico writes today about the extradition drama surrounding the arrest of director Roman Polanski.  Simon's greater point is, of course, that those who are blessed with great talent are not always those who are blessed with the greatest moral fiber.  When a person who has achieved great fame for high artistic achievement gets in trouble, he or she suddenly finds himself or herself with a multitude of apologists and sycophantic admirers.  And yet, I would be remiss if I neglected to add that until fame is achieved, however, society and the creative class views any unknown artist as merely another odd bird either unable or unwilling to conform and certainly worthy of no one's pity.

Beyond a simple argument regarding the nature of cult of celebrity or the brutality of childhood sexual abuse, Polanski's case concerns our own yearnings for attention and desire and how quickly we sell into the lies and cheap attention of fame.  Not only that, this contentious issue promises great appeal to those wishing to use it to pad their own resumes, insert another feather into the cap, or use the topic as a bargaining chip to strengthen a hand at the diplomatic table.  We have been contemplating one side of the issue, but I'd like to know more than the superficial.  These instances where art and law intersect are much more interesting.

To begin, a friend of mine, then enrolled in art school, expressed constant frustration to me and to anyone who would listen that the professors encouraged a high degree of eccentricity in each student, feeling that being weird for weird's sake was a conditioned and necessary virtue.  The famous Irish wit Oscar Wilde, himself of no small ego and put on trial for his part in a sex scandal, noted that "no great artist ever sees things as they really are. If he did he would cease to be an artist." Most of these students needed no encouragement in this area but I suppose the implication was that in a world where "starving artist" was a label frequently pinned to even the most talented at the craft, one needed to do something to stand out.  Those who adhere to this philosophy never require much in the way of introduction.  We know some of them by their first name alone.  

Simon's column makes light of several less than stellar human beings who were championed by Hollywood, writers, actors, and other well-connected individuals for their talents but were dismal failures regarding ethical and legal conduct.  One could, I suppose, also add Charles Manson to the list, as several members of The Beach Boys believed him to have genuine musical skills and even were willing to pay for demo sessions to record his ramblings onto magnetic tape.  If one surveys poets, playwrights, recording artists, composers, sculptures, painters, and the like one can easily find example after example of misanthropic, borderline criminal behavior.  The Beat Poets, for example, were a rowdy bunch of social defectives and proud hell-raisers.  I believe there to be at least two reasons for this:  the prevalence of mental illness is high among the creative and those who perceive of the world around them so acutely and with such unyielding, high sensitivity have a tendency to be unable to know how to guard themselves properly against an unceasing stream of emotion.  Some manage to find healthy ways to control and channel this simultaneous blessing and curse and some do not.      

My point in all this is neither to defend nor to accuse Polanski for his actions.  While I agree that his directorial work has frequently been genius, I don't feel much of a compulsion to let that fact whitewash the serious crime which he himself has admitted to taking a starring role.  The morality of the matter has already been talked to death by voices better connected and more eloquent than mine.  I am, however, much more interested in the reasons WHY this matter has come to trial now, after the passage of thirty years.  What are the motives this time behind bringing the French/Polish director back to the United States to serve out his sentence?  Who truly seeks to gain from this?  Whose reputation will be padded by having brought Polanski to justice?  Who are the major players, what are their names, and what is their compulsion to prosecute now?

The coverage thus far has been predicated on a very small focus of what could be an enormous matter.  That we have not yet been provided with the names of those driving extradition proceedings is telling and likely deliberate.  Aside from the diplomatic wrangling between France and United States, the politics and the ulterior motives of this drama have been obscured and unrevealed.  That the media seems content to let us talk to death one sole facet amongst ourselves and amongst itself is quite interesting.  This either means they have nothing further to go on themselves or are being instructed to not give light to a detailed, complex analysis of the case.  When matters of International Law are concerned, complications frequently arise and specific issues remain resolutely thorny.  It could also be that precise details of this case will be rolled out one by one over the coming weeks, at which point the media will hash them out to exhaustion, only to be presented with the latest batch of compelling information.      

I myself have grown tired of debating morality as regards Roman Polanski.  Polanski's offense has highlighted how eager we are to forgive significant offenses in our heroes, especially those who have found their way into that small, elite club we call celebrity.  I honestly understand those in that tight circle who defends him, because their motives are a result of both self-preservation and sympathy.  They're aware of the obscene pressure of living in a fishbowl and having any shred of privacy destroyed by the effects of a society desperate to poke into their personal business.  They understand how easy it is to break down, resort to drug addiction, or come completely unglued under the pressure of the omnipresent white hot spotlight.  Moreover, they know how easily reputations can be destroyed by spurious rumors and allegations of misdeed.  Even so, they also know that the "Get Out of Jail Free" card often extended to those who have the financial means loses its potency whenever any celebrity is sent to prison, no matter how open and shut the case may be.  Viewpoints such as these require us to rethink the idea of fame and acknowledge its impact upon our society and we ourselves.        

Originally posted to cabaretic on Thu Oct 01, 2009 at 07:38 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (6+ / 0-)

    I would not lead you into the promised land if I could, because if I lead you in, some one else would lead you out. - Eugene Debs.

    by cabaretic on Thu Oct 01, 2009 at 07:38:19 AM PDT

    •  I enjoyed your exhortation to dig deeper... (0+ / 0-)

      perhaps a discussion of the victim/perp/victim cycle?

      Perhaps a social view outside of American context?

      Nope...the voyeuristic media feeding frenzy is so 21st century.

      I'm glad I don't watch much T.V.

      After all is said and done, a lot more is said than done.

      by Brahman Colorado on Thu Oct 01, 2009 at 08:09:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Fugitives ought not be permitted to run from (17+ / 0-)

    the law.  If that's not the overriding policy justification for pulling him back, it certainly ought to be.

    We are building a team that is continuously being built. - Sarah Palin

    by burrow owl on Thu Oct 01, 2009 at 07:43:54 AM PDT

    •  That's what was so horrible about the Marc Rich (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      burrow owl, Pozzo, nathguy

      pardon.

      The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

      by lysias on Thu Oct 01, 2009 at 07:47:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not Really (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        capelza

        The thing Marc Rich was indicted for wasn't even a crime any more in 1989.  When he was pardoned the only actual "crime" he was accused of committing was fleeing from an indictment that the Justice Department wouldn't have even made anymore.  

        Sex with a thirteen year old they're still pretty serious about.

        The question that the Marc Rich case boils down to is: "Should you be prosecuted for having evaded prosecution on something that is no longer illegal?"

        People can disagree on that question of course, but it's not the same as Polanski.

        "Rahm Emmanuel bit my cat." - LaFeminista

        by TooFolkGR on Thu Oct 01, 2009 at 09:40:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Illegal trading with Iran was no longer (0+ / 0-)

          a crime in 1989?  Tax evasion was no longer a crime in 1989?

          News to me.  And I clerked on the U.S. Tax Court in 1992-4.  When did they repeal 26 U.S.C. 7209 (the tax evasion statute)?

          The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

          by lysias on Thu Oct 01, 2009 at 09:58:16 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  They Didn't Repeal It -- They Just Realized (0+ / 0-)

            They were enforcing it the wrong way.  Individuals "believed guilty" of violating those same statues haven't been indicted under RICO those statutes since 1989--including in the "U.S. Tax Court in 1992-4."

            I'm sure you noticed while you were there that the people coming in weren't there on racketeering charges.

            "Rahm Emmanuel bit my cat." - LaFeminista

            by TooFolkGR on Thu Oct 01, 2009 at 10:10:48 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  I agree but, (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lysias, annetteboardman, capelza, fl1972

      US has had outstanding warrant for years.

      The Swiss have let him in and out of the country on multiple previous occasions, why have the Swiss acted this time?

      Maybe high politics maybe simply an honest cop doing his job properly.

      •  Interesting that the Swiss never extradited (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        capelza

        Marc Rich.

        The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

        by lysias on Thu Oct 01, 2009 at 09:31:33 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I'm interested in the answer, but ... (0+ / 0-)

        ... only in an intellectual sense.  It makes not the slightest difference, to my mind, about the underlying facts of the case.  

        Long before the Swiss government decided to act, Polanski committed his crime, pled guilty, and fled to avoid the judical process.  I'm prepared to see him punished on those facts without regard to why the Swiss government acted this time.

        •  Agree (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Califlander

          Want him punished and if the allegations are true, then I fear he is not going to get sufficient punishment, due to the original plea bargain, drugging and raping a 13 year old I would say 20 years to life, I fear if he serves time it will be months.

          However I am still interested in what changed this trip to Switzerland as opposed to the multiple previous ones.

  •  I've spent many years now (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    penguins4peace

    as an advocate for abused children.  I know from experience that abusers come in all professions, colors, and from every social and economic strata.  Abuse is abuse, and it is inexcusable, regardless of who the perpetrator is or their profession.

    However, as much as it pains me in this particular instance, the lawyer in me recognizes that there appears to be reason to investigate possible misconduct during the plea bargain process in this case.  If such misconduct did occur, he should be able to withdraw his guilty plea and allow the process to once again move forward, untainted.  His fleeing from justice for 30 years, well, that is a separate matter from the original offense, and should be penalized accordingly.  

    You are my brother, my sister.

    by RoCali on Thu Oct 01, 2009 at 07:47:43 AM PDT

    •  If the state could levy the actual charges that (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Chi, Mia Dolan, RoCali, erush1345

      were dropped (stat rape), then I couldn't imagine anything better than just getting a redo.  Between his admissions against interest and the grand jury testimony, he'd be dead in the water.  

      We are building a team that is continuously being built. - Sarah Palin

      by burrow owl on Thu Oct 01, 2009 at 07:52:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  "levy" s/b "reinsate," I spose. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mia Dolan

        We are building a team that is continuously being built. - Sarah Palin

        by burrow owl on Thu Oct 01, 2009 at 07:52:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I hear you (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JesseCW, erush1345

        and concur wholeheartedly.  And as for fleeing justice, well, the example needs to be made here that such conduct can never be tolerated.

        You are my brother, my sister.

        by RoCali on Thu Oct 01, 2009 at 07:54:42 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Which admissions? (0+ / 0-)

        And the grand jury testimony would almost certainly be excluded.  

        •  Below. I'm sure there's more. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          annetteboardman, Mia Dolan, fl1972

          If I had killed somebody, it wouldn’t have had so much appeal to the press, you see? But... fucking, you see, and the young girls. Judges want to fuck young girls. Juries want to fuck young girls. Everyone wants to fuck young girls!

          (link)

          I don't think there's any factual dispute about what happened, and stuff like the above would seal the deal.  

          We are building a team that is continuously being built. - Sarah Palin

          by burrow owl on Thu Oct 01, 2009 at 08:03:07 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  This quote is sickening. (0+ / 0-)

            Do these young girls have a say in the fucking?

          •  "Young girls" = "jeune filles" = GIRLS (0+ / 0-)

            Polanski usually speaks French. The term used to mean "girls" in common parlance in that language is "jeune filles," which literally means "young girls." Thus, in this statement Polanski was likely just referring to "girls." And he sure was right, wasn't he?

            BTW, the young lady who's the subject of the case was, at the time of the incident, a teenaged minor, not a "child" as some are fond of asserting. Further, P did not confess to drugging and raping her, as some insist; he just acknowledged having sex with her, which was illegal because she was underage.

            Considering all the circumstances, especially the time that's passed since the incident and the attitude of the 'victim,' I hope that P's attorneys get this matter set aside quickly, so the old guy can go home and get back to work on his movie. Hope middleaged Samantha dodges the pseudo-sympathetic media-exploitation bombardment she's now faced with, as well. Further, I hope that the Republican DA from LA, Steve Cooley, who's trying to pursue his further ambitions by pushing this media-appeal case, despite CA's current need to release 40,000 convicts due to prison overcrowding and budget constraints, will not prevail.

            And, just to remember everybody, I also hope all the bluenosed Nancy Grace/TO CATCH A PREDATOR fans and Dworkinites enjoy their witch-hunt while it lasts.

      •  It was more than just statutory rape... (5+ / 0-)

        I believe Polanski was originally facing half-a-dozen charges, most much more serious than "just" statutory rape.

        The transcripts I've read seem to indicate that the DA settled on the lesser plea agreement because the family of the 13 yo desperately didn't want what would have been a huge media circus of a trial.

        I'm no expert on the case - but it seems to me that even if Polanski got the max on the sole charge he plead to, he probably gets off one hell of a lot easier than he deserves based on the crime he truly committed.

        I guess everyone's got their own blog now.

        by zonk on Thu Oct 01, 2009 at 08:15:31 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  and in a re-do trial (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          capelza, mnguy66, JesseCW

          The victim has said again and again she does not want to be put through the media circus of a trial and thus would presumably not co-operate at trial, with potential forensic evidence of 30 years ago potentially open to debate. A trial could actually go either way.

          If he did what is accused of in the Grand Jury testimony they should lock him up and throw away the key.

          However he pled guilty to a lot less than that and a fresh trial might see him acquitted entirely or convicted of a much greater charge.

          •  The victim... (0+ / 0-)

            This is what I keep remembering....as she also once said, Polanski didn't ruin her life, the media did.

            Now, while everyone is baying for blood, what it must be doing to her again.    If she wants it dregded up again, that's a fair thing.  However, if she doesn't...Jesus, let her live in peace.   Respect that.  

            •  State of CA vs. Polansky (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Pozzo, Mia Dolan

              He needs to pay his debt to society.

            •  Also... (0+ / 0-)

              The media sucks for sure, however, Polansky did this to her not the media.  If he wasn't a child rapist, she would not have to be put thru this terrible ordeal.

              •  Well, she, the actual victim..sees it differently (0+ / 0-)

                So it isn't about what was done to her, the actual victim, who has wished this would all go away, it's about a debt to society.

                That's fine...then stop, to al that are doing it, describing what happened to her over and over....I'm sure she just loves the fact that she was sodomised being repeated over and over in public.   By a bunch of strangers on various blogs and talk shows...and by pundits and the media...

                Society is more important than her..the actual victim.

                •  Not to mention if she has to testify in a trial.. (0+ / 0-)

                  Dragging her back into the whole thing...and you all know damn well it will be on TV 24/7.

                  •  I agree that it is terrible for her. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    capelza

                    Also, I think it is heartening that she has found it in her heart to forgive him.  With that said, it doesn't mean that he shouldn't pay for his crime.  The criminals that complete their sentences don't have to go back to prison because their victims have not forgiven them.  If they have fulfilled their debt to society, they are free to go.  It works both ways.

                    •  Sure...but in the rush for blind justice... (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      dansmith17, fl1972

                      Well, that ain't happening ( this is so emotional, as can be seen in the diaires here)...and she will once again get put through hell, because  "society" is demanding he pay...and she will be back in the spotlight...30 years later...you don't think, given the 24/7 excuse that passes for the media won't chew her up and spit her out?

                      A lot has changed since that time, particularly in the media.   And because Polanski is a very famous name, all the tabloidy shows will be all over this.  

                  •  The only trial he'll likely face is the "failure (0+ / 0-)

                    to appear" charge.

                    Won't he just be sentenced on the "unlawful sex with a minor" charge?

                    •  Who knows? (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      lysias

                      Really..I have no clue what the DA will do.

                      My only complaint in all this is the lack of thought for her....I have seen very little thought given to the actual woman alive today.   How will this impact her.   A crime is against society, true.  However, it is also a very personal thing, especially in a case like this.   And I hate that her privacy and dignity is being forgotten here...

                      The torches and pitchforks mob (not everyone here, by any means, but enough)  could easily crush her in their rush to get the guy.   When is justice actually justice if the actual victim is less important than society..and could be victimized again.

                      As I said above, remember, the "new media" since the OJ trial are jackals who feed on the tragedy of others.  I guess, this has always been so, but the impact now is exponential compared to 1979.

                      Now, if she comes out and says she thinks this is good, then fine.  However, i haven't seen this.  

            •  The victim's wishes (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Mia Dolan

              are important, but not overriding. There are plenty of people in prison who's victims didn't want to press charges or wanted leniency.

    •  What was this supposed "misconduct"? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      annetteboardman, Mia Dolan

      I know his apologists use that word frequently, yet all I've ever heard is the Judge refused the plea agreement.  Which is not even accurate.  

      The facts are he spent 41 or 42 days being psychologically evaluated.  At that point, the Judge, Prosecutor and Defense Attorney reviewed and discussed the evaluation and the Judge indicated he believed that more time would be required.  Where is the "misconduct" in that?

      In most states, a judge can not be bound by a plea agreement because s/he was not a party to it.  In some states, the defendant has the right to withdraw the plea if the judge doesn't accept it.  In other states, the defendant can't withdraw it.  But in those states, s/he enters into the deal knowing full well there's a risk involved and there's no guarantee the judge will go along with it - the deal is  simply that the prosecutor will recommend the deal.  So a judge not accepting the terms is far from "misconduct".

      So.  Do you have any other facts of misconduct or have you just accepted that allegation thrown out by those desperate to defend the indefensible?

      "If you trust you are not critical; if you are critical you do not trust" by our own Dauphin

      by gustynpip on Thu Oct 01, 2009 at 08:21:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oh, a Deputy DA had improper contact with the (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        capelza, Mia Dolan

        Judge and showed him pictures of Polanski partying in Europe to convince him that he wasn't taking the whole thing seriously, ect.

        The Deputy DA in question admited this on film.

        It was an ethics violation.  A relatively minor one.  If the Judge was still alive or the Deputy District Attorney Webb was still practicing, they would both deserve a reprimand - but it certainly isn't grounds to vacate the conviction.

        The reason why should be pretty clear - the DA's office has no damn business having a Prosecuter broker a Plea Bargain while another Deputy DA goes behind closed doors trying to convince the Judge to reject it.

        However, the Judge never rejected the deal (he only told Polanskis Attorneys that he was considering it), so it's pretty hard to argue that the misconduct actually had any effect.

        Incremental measures won't suffice anymore. Sen. Kennedy - July 18, 2009

        by JesseCW on Thu Oct 01, 2009 at 09:00:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Okay, I've now gotten that's the allegation. (0+ / 0-)

          And it might even have happened.  I don't know why the prosecutor would have bothered doing that ex parte - why not just bring the pictures into the courtroom?  Guess I'm not convinced it happened - suspect it's more like a DA who decided to grab a last chance for some facetime on teevee.  But it could have.  However, even if it did, I don't see how it either excuses Polanski skipping the country or reduces the seriousness of his crime.  But that's just me, I guess.

          "If you trust you are not critical; if you are critical you do not trust" by our own Dauphin

          by gustynpip on Thu Oct 01, 2009 at 09:05:54 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Of course it doesn't (0+ / 0-)

            It could be grounds to review the Sentence had Polanski stuck around.

            I can completely see that argument.  Ex Parte communication leads to harsh sentence, review the sentence.  That would make sense.

            There's no way it's grounds to reconsider the Conviction.

            Incremental measures won't suffice anymore. Sen. Kennedy - July 18, 2009

            by JesseCW on Thu Oct 01, 2009 at 09:29:55 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  The deputy DA has now apparently recanted the (0+ / 0-)

          claims he made on film, saying he lied to the documentarian because "it made a better story", and that he was assured the film would never be shown in the US.

          So the deputy DA is a liar now, or he was a liar then.

          No heroes in this sordid story.

        •  The DA admitted to lying in his film statement (0+ / 0-)
    •  He'd have to be a complete fool to (0+ / 0-)

      withdraw the plea and risk trail on more serious charges.

      Incremental measures won't suffice anymore. Sen. Kennedy - July 18, 2009

      by JesseCW on Thu Oct 01, 2009 at 08:40:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  He's 76, and probably won't outlive any (0+ / 0-)

        substantial prison term.

        So why not make a martyr of himself by having several more years added to his sentence, when they probably won't make any difference to him?

        The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

        by lysias on Thu Oct 01, 2009 at 08:53:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I think it's bizarre (9+ / 0-)

    that this is even a topic of discussion.

    Guy needs to face the music. Period. Doesn't matter who he is or what he's done.

    He's a fugitive. He skipped town. Now he's been caught.

  •  He annoyed the Sasquatch (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chi, JeffSCinNY, Hprof, annetteboardman

    Ever see those jack links commercials?

    Well his lawyers were in LA this summer arguing the warrants should
    be quashed because they hadn't been acted on in 30 years.

    That reminded the prosecutors that the warrants were still active.

    Nothing more then that.

    Had he stayed in Europe, and kept his mouth shut, he'd be fine.
    He was most likely angling to either participate in some movies
    in Hollywood, or, was hoping to be put up for some lifetime
    achievement award at the Emmy's and was trying to get
    his record cleared.

    If he had just waited it out, or even better had some well connected
    guy grease the case in LA,  with an agreement he be able to serve 90
    days in some jail in polynesia, they could have closed the case.

    George Bush is Living proof of the axiom "Never send a boy to do a man's job" E -2.25 S -4.10

    by nathguy on Thu Oct 01, 2009 at 07:51:04 AM PDT

  •  asdf (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    burrow owl, poemless, SilverOz, dansmith17

    Point is that this monster should never have gotten to the fame that he achieved overseas.  He should have been shunned by the industry and never had work.  The people who hired him actively showed that they do not care that this monster raped a young girl.  Actions should have consequences.  This is the reason Hollywood and the like are so looked down upon, because there is no blacklisting there unless you're of a different political party of the vast majority there.  Sad really.

    "It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first." - Ronald Reagan

    by erush1345 on Thu Oct 01, 2009 at 07:53:16 AM PDT

    •  Another low UID Reagan fan heard from. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      penguins4peace

      No one has been blacklisted based on party affiliation since back when the Red-Baiting asshole quoted in your sig-line was naming names.

      What fucked-up O'Reilly world do you live in?

      Do you think people in any industry generally refuse to work others based on the crimes they committed in the past?

      "Oh, you worthless asshole, your manager murdered someone 15 years ago!  He should be shunned and should never have been hired! This is why the Piggly-Wiggly and the like are so looked down on!"

      A judge made a big damned mistake in granting Polanski bail 30 years ago.  

      So it goes.

      Incremental measures won't suffice anymore. Sen. Kennedy - July 18, 2009

      by JesseCW on Thu Oct 01, 2009 at 09:08:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  as to why prosecutors renewed their efforts (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    capelza, gustynpip

    I can't speak to whether this is correct or not, but the LA Times reported that it was re-ignited in part by last year's documentary about the case, and then Polanski's attorneys' subsequent court motions re: the case, filed this year:

    Roman Polanski's attorneys helped provoke his arrest by complaining to an appellate court this summer that Los Angeles County prosecutors had made no real effort to capture the filmmaker in his three decades as a fugitive, two law enforcement sources familiar with the case told The Times.

    The accusation that the Los Angeles County district attorney's office was not serious about extraditing Polanski to face sentencing in a child sex case he fled in 1978 was a minor point in two lengthy July court filings by the director's attorneys.

    But the charge caught the attention of prosecutors, who had made several attempts to apprehend Polanski over the years.

    One way to read this, of course, is as a kind of vindictiveness on the part of the DA's office for this summer's motions.

    •  Maybe, but even less-than-admirable motives (5+ / 0-)

      can lead to good results.  If we have vindictiveness to thank for putting a child rapist in prison, let me be the first to doff my cap.

      We are building a team that is continuously being built. - Sarah Palin

      by burrow owl on Thu Oct 01, 2009 at 08:00:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  asfd (0+ / 0-)

        agreed.

        "It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first." - Ronald Reagan

        by erush1345 on Thu Oct 01, 2009 at 08:00:49 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I don't have any interest in defending Polanski (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        burrow owl, capelza

        My only reservation about renewing the case, I guess, would be this:  

        The fact of the matter is that prosecutors always have more cases against more real criminals than they can ever deal with fully, and so they have to prioritize in deciding how to deploy their scarce resources--money, staff, time.  I'm not sure that vindictiveness about a court filing--if that's what this is--is the best way for them to make that decision.

        •  Might not have been vindictiveness - might have (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          erush1345

          just been reminded about it.  Things get buried, forgotten.  When you're reminded, you act.  Polanski was pretty dumb to bring the subject up.  And I for one am glad.

          "If you trust you are not critical; if you are critical you do not trust" by our own Dauphin

          by gustynpip on Thu Oct 01, 2009 at 08:24:19 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  by that do you mean to imply (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          erush1345

          That Roman Polanski is not a real criminal, who did not commit a real crime?

          The man commits a crime every hour of every day. He is, in essence, an escaped criminal, who was convicted of and avoided punishment for a very real, and very brutal crime.

          •  obviously, he's a real criminal (0+ / 0-)

            But frankly, that's the easy question and the uncontroversial one in this thread--I don't see anyone disagreeing about it.  

            The harder question is what DAs and courts are supposed to do when they have more real criminals that they can fully prosecute--not every criminal is going to get everything he deserves. That's where the prioritizing comes in.  How do they make those decisions?  How did they make it in this case?  I thought the diarist was trying to point the discussion in that direction, but s/he has apparently abandoned the diary, with the result that the comments are just a rehash of (one side of) the conversation the diarist said s/he didn't want to have again.  Tant pis.

      •  Agreed. And I do find it surprising that (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Pozzo

        there is such an outcry to "let it go" from actors, directors, et. al.  Whoopie saying it wasn't "RAPE-rape," so it's not such a much?  He forced himself orally, vaginally, and anally on a 13-yo child.  The transcript, along with his confession, is quite clear.  (I also have a low opinion of this girl's mother.)

        What isn't surprising is the woman wants to not be subjected to being hounded by the press again and they can leave her out of it. This is about sentencing a fleeing felon.

        And I would also point out that he's lived quite a good life the past three decades, retaining his career and his income. I don't know why anyone wants to work with a self-confessed predator, however. We should also remember that he had a relationship with Nastassja Kinski beginning when she was 15 and I believe I've read in the past that he's spoken about being attracted to young girls.

        He's a pedophile who cowardly ran away after he got busted. He should be sentenced to as much time as possible.

        Don't be a dick; be a Weiner! Stand up for health insurance reform.

        by scarlet slipper on Thu Oct 01, 2009 at 09:24:27 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Were he anyone but Roman Polanski (6+ / 0-)
    He would be in jail and we would never even know he had existed.

    OJ Simpson only stayed free so long he did for a similar reason.

    He and Polanski shared the same color - they were both rich and famous.

    Polanski's turn now.

    •  Actually, he would have been out a long (0+ / 0-)

      time ago, but you're right that we never would have known he existed.

      Odds are, back in 1977, with an uncooperative witness and a VERY different attitude about rape, anyone who could afford a half-way competent Defense would have walked with a sentence of less than five year.

      Not to say that the legal system and sociatal attitudes are exactly flawless when it comes to the sexual abuse of women and girls today, but things were very, very different back then.

      Incremental measures won't suffice anymore. Sen. Kennedy - July 18, 2009

      by JesseCW on Thu Oct 01, 2009 at 09:13:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Can talent/smart/fun people get away with crimes? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MsWings, rejoice, JesseCW, erush1345

    Let's take the names out of it.  You have a talented man with many good qualities and many bad qualities.  But, you know, nobody's going to judge someone on their qualifies.  Judgment comes from actions, not human worth.

    So this guy who's enormously talented as a film director deliberately set in motion a scheme to rape a young girl.  He then acted on his plan and raped her.  He ran from the law and was protected for many years because he's an interesting guy who's fun to have as a guest at parties and whatnot.

    Polanski's arrest isn't a judgment on his moral character; it's about a law he broke and justice he ran away from.  There aren't many contemporary cultures that have felony adjudications based on whether a criminal feels super-guilty or a victim feels that she can move on with her life.  

  •  The law (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lupin, Brahman Colorado

    Sadly, both sides seem to be ignoring the legal issues involved in this case. For instance, it is true that Polanski was convicted. It is also true that Polanski followed the orders of the judge and reported to Chino State Prison where he was for 42 days. The question that has always been at the center of this case was did Polanski skip out, or did the judge renege on a plea deal?

    The issue of Polanski as a director is not relevant (I've always thought of him as a great director).

    The idea that he is simply "a fugitive" is a gross simplification of this case. Whether he is a director, a rich man, a "foreigner" is just as irrelevant to this case as his status as a film director.

    -----

    To recap:

    The facts are that Polanski committed a crime; he pled guilty; he followed the orders of the court and spent 42 days at Chino receiving "evaluation"; he was released; then the judge told Polanski's attorney that he would send Polanski to prison, then deport him.

    What is not known for certain is whether the judge engaged in judicial misconduct leading to Polanski bailing out on the American judicial system.  I do not know, and I doubt most people not directly involved with the case know.

    But this case is hardly "black and white".

    •  Once again, the accusation of "misconduct" (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mia Dolan, SilverOz, dansmith17, erush1345

      leveled without one iota of fact indicating what that misconduct was.  A judge is not bound by a plea agreement because the judge is not a party to it.  The agreement is simply that the prosecutor will recommend a certain sentence.  A judge not accepting the prosecutor's recommendation is not misconduct.

      The facts are that the Judge retained jurisdiction over Polanski and had the right to decide what the punishment should be.  He decided, based upon the psychological evaluation, that the evaluation was not sufficient, and more needed to be done.  Polanski treated our judicial system and our country with complete disdain, and rather than going through the process like everyone else would have had to do, skipped out.  So drop the "misconduct" strawman, and stick with the facts of the case.

      "If you trust you are not critical; if you are critical you do not trust" by our own Dauphin

      by gustynpip on Thu Oct 01, 2009 at 08:29:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Excuse me (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lysias

        But please provide any evidence for this. The judge is dead, but somehow you are capable of reading the mind of the man.

        While you are at it, could you please tell me what Beethoven's plans were for this Tenth Symphony? You seem capable of amazing feats.

        As they say, I don't have a dog in this fight, yet people here are ready to come to some amazing conclusions.

        For instance, you say that "Once again, the accusation of "misconduct" leveled without one iota of fact indicating what that misconduct was."

        Really? I leveled this accusation? Or was my crime merely giving the other side's view. Maybe I should be jailed as well?

        I guess Democrats are just as willing to throw a lynch party as Republicans. I guess this shouldn't surprise me, they share one thing in common: they are all products of the American educational system.

        •  Don't over react much, do you? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mia Dolan, erush1345

          Come back with a little more rational way of writing, without over  the top silliness of things like suggesting you be jailed for making an unfounded allegation, and maybe there could actually be a rational discussion.

          "If you trust you are not critical; if you are critical you do not trust" by our own Dauphin

          by gustynpip on Thu Oct 01, 2009 at 08:52:56 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Additional complication: prosecutor says he lied. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    capelza

    'Embellishing a story sounded like a good idea,' prosecutor says of Roman Polanski case:

    A retired Los Angeles County prosecutor, who now says he lied on an HBO documentary when he said he advised a judge to sentence Roman Polanski to prison for having sex with a minor, tried to explain his actions this way: "Embellishing a story sounded like a good idea."

    "I’m known to the world as a liar. It’s mortifying," David Wells told The Times. "But it’s my duty [now] to tell the truth."

    The on-camera statements by Wells in "Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired" were seized upon by Polanski’s defense attorneys, who say in court documents that Superior Court Judge Laurence J. Rittenband and Wells engaged in misconduct by improperly discussing the 1977 case behind closed doors.

    Wells, who at the time of the alleged misconduct was not the assigned prosecutor on the case, claimed in the film that he spoke to Rittenband before sentencing and told the judge that Polanski deserved prison time.

    I have no idea whether he was lying then, or is lying now, but this is sure becoming a complicated story.

    The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

    by lysias on Thu Oct 01, 2009 at 08:19:51 AM PDT

    •  The fact at the center is uncomplicated. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Samulayo, Pozzo, Mia Dolan, erush1345

      The man drugged and raped a child.

      Talking about complications is an insult to that horrifying fact.

      •  If you're crticizing me for bringing up a new (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        capelza, JesseCW

        fact, please never become a judge.

        If you're saying the outcome of a case involving an unpopular crime should never depend on a requirement of legal procedure, please never become a judge.

        The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

        by lysias on Thu Oct 01, 2009 at 08:50:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  The Judge is dead. He can't defend himself. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pozzo, erush1345

      And I find it a very long shot that a judge would have risked his career to have ex parte communications on this particular case.  What would have been in it for him?  Since the prosecutor is lying at some point, I know when I think it's most likely.

      "If you trust you are not critical; if you are critical you do not trust" by our own Dauphin

      by gustynpip on Thu Oct 01, 2009 at 08:35:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Irving Kaufman was dead and couldn't defend (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JesseCW

        himself when the reports came out about his ex parte communications with Roy Cohn over the Rosenberg case.

        The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

        by lysias on Thu Oct 01, 2009 at 08:51:09 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  And that somehow justifies doing it in this case (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          erush1345
          as well?  You're losing me here.  I don't think the "but mom, everyone else is doing it" thought process works so good for our legal system.

          "If you trust you are not critical; if you are critical you do not trust" by our own Dauphin

          by gustynpip on Thu Oct 01, 2009 at 08:55:31 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I meant charges against a dead judge aren't (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JesseCW

            necessarily false, just because the judge is dead.

            As I said above, I have no idea whether this prosecutor is lying now, or was lying before.

            The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

            by lysias on Thu Oct 01, 2009 at 08:57:25 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  No, but they aren't necessarily true either. (0+ / 0-)
              I just suggest to everyone to have an open mind about it.  It could have happened or it might not have.  Had Polanski stayed, we'd know.  As it is, we probably never will.  I'm just willing to assume the guilt of someone unable to respond at this late date.

              "If you trust you are not critical; if you are critical you do not trust" by our own Dauphin

              by gustynpip on Thu Oct 01, 2009 at 09:01:03 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Either way, it doesn't waive the plea (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mia Dolan

      If true, it's a great reason to Reprimand the (retired) Deputy District Attorney and the (deceased) Judge.

      It's no reason to void the confession.

      Incremental measures won't suffice anymore. Sen. Kennedy - July 18, 2009

      by JesseCW on Thu Oct 01, 2009 at 09:17:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  If Polanski had been thinking, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lysias

    he might have tried to get a pardon from Pres. Clinton when Mark Rich did.   :)

    You may not agree with me but one day you will die. All I need to do is win the hearts and minds of your children and I win.

    by Void Indigo on Thu Oct 01, 2009 at 08:27:46 AM PDT

  •  Comes down to a question of due process (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    capelza

    Polanski was denied it by a judge who sought to break a plea deal as a result of an ex parte communication (despite Wells' "retraction) and personal bias.

    "And the biggest self of self is, indeed, self." Mark Sanford

    by Paleo on Thu Oct 01, 2009 at 08:28:40 AM PDT

    •  This is the first time I've actually heard about (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pozzo, erush1345

      the alleged ex parte communication - instead of people just throwing out an allegation of "misconduct".  However, there are very clear systems without our courts for dealing with such allegations.  Had that been what occurred, he had options other than skipping the country.  Had it been handled that way, we'd now have the facts rather than these vague allegations against a dead man.  I know how protective judges are against violating the ex parte rules.  I find it difficult to imagine one risked his career for this particular case.  And judges can't "break" plea deals.  They have the ability to accept or not accept them, and there's no misconduct in that.

      "If you trust you are not critical; if you are critical you do not trust" by our own Dauphin

      by gustynpip on Thu Oct 01, 2009 at 08:33:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Re: (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lysias, capelza

        I happen to know that ex parte communications take place more than you would think.  And you're right about judges and plea deals, but this judge was ready to accept it until the ex parte communication.  

        "And the biggest self of self is, indeed, self." Mark Sanford

        by Paleo on Thu Oct 01, 2009 at 08:41:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Ummm. An alleged ex parte communication. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Pozzo, erush1345
          We have no idea whether it really happened because Polanski skipped the country before it was alleged.  

          "If you trust you are not critical; if you are critical you do not trust" by our own Dauphin

          by gustynpip on Thu Oct 01, 2009 at 08:49:33 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Why do you think he skipped? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            capelza

            His attorney was aware of the circumstances surrounding the judge's change of heart.

            Now, having watched the film, and listened to ex-prosecutor David Wells tell in his own words how he manipulated and advised the Judge behind closed doors how to get around a plea bargain in a manner that would prevent Polanski from appealing, heard the Judge state in his own words how he intended to impose an illegal condition on Polanski, watched as both the DA on the case and Polanski's lawyer separately tell, in their own words, the same story about the judge's misconduct, from making express promises he later renegged on to forcing them to participate in a sham hearing while demanding they not tell the media, listened to the victim and her lawyer describe, in their own words, how events transpired and how the Judge disregarded what was in her best interests

            http://www.talkleft.com/...

            "And the biggest self of self is, indeed, self." Mark Sanford

            by Paleo on Thu Oct 01, 2009 at 08:54:23 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Wells himself said he might be lying now - (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Samulayo

              or he was lying then.  If it was ex parte, the defense attorney wouldn't know about it.  If it happened (and I acknowledge it might well have), there are systems in place to deal with it, which his attorney would have known about.  Skipping the country is not a wise move and prevented the truth from coming out, if that in fact was the truth.  I doubt that was the reason Polanski skipped.  But now he'll have the ability to prove the allegations.

              "If you trust you are not critical; if you are critical you do not trust" by our own Dauphin

              by gustynpip on Thu Oct 01, 2009 at 08:59:13 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Not defending his flight (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                capelza

                All I'm saying is that I believe he was denied due process.

                As for ex parte, it's ex parte when it happens.  It doesn't have to be kept secret to be ex parte.  

                "And the biggest self of self is, indeed, self." Mark Sanford

                by Paleo on Thu Oct 01, 2009 at 09:05:18 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  Also, the lawyer has (0+ / 0-)

          come out and said he is terribly embarrassed but he lied during that documentary.  He said he embellished the story.  

      •  I don;t think anything was known about the (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        capelza, erush1345

        alleged ex parte communication until the prosecutor spoke to the makers of the HBO documentary, just a couple of years ago.

        The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

        by lysias on Thu Oct 01, 2009 at 08:48:02 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  In part, because he filed a to have the case (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    erush1345

    dropped in Feburary of this year.

    Fugitives pulling that one really pisses of District Attorneys.

    Incremental measures won't suffice anymore. Sen. Kennedy - July 18, 2009

    by JesseCW on Thu Oct 01, 2009 at 08:36:51 AM PDT

  •  If anyone cares... (4+ / 0-)

    ...I find the entry on Wikipedia to be both concise and objective,. Here it is with my notes:

    Polanski was initially charged with rape by use of drugs, perversion, sodomy, lewd and lascivious act upon a child under 14, and furnishing a controlled substance (methaqualone) to a minor.

    That was in March 1977. A four month investigation by DA John Van de Kamp followed.

    These charges were dismissed under the terms of his plea bargain, and he pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of engaging in unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor.

    Reportedly, Van de Kamp offered the deal because, on advice of her lawyer, the victim refused to testify.

    Under the terms of the plea agreement, the court ordered Polanski to report to a state prison for a 90-day psychiatric evaluation, but granted a stay of ninety days to allow him to complete his current project. Under the terms set by the court, he was permitted to travel abroad. Polanski returned to California and reported to Chino State Prison for the evaluation period, and was released after 42 days. All parties expected Polanski to get only probation at the subsequent sentencing hearing, but after an alleged conversation with LA Deputy District Attorney David Wells, the judge "suggested to Polanski's attorneys that he would send the director to prison and order him deported".

    This is really where the case derailed. Judges are not bound to honor plea bargain agreement, but it is very unusual for a judge to first accept the plea bargain, and then after the defendant has agreed to plead guilty, to unilaterally change the terms of said plea bargain.

    Note that, at that point, Polanski can no longer withdraw his plea, and has forfeited his right to a trial by jury, even though he he is being sentenced as if the charges that were previously dismissed were somehow still in play, and he had been found guilty by an hypothetical jury.

    In response to the threat of imprisonment, Polanski fled the United States.

    This is a separate offense, which gets into the complicated issue of jurisdictions, Polanski being a French, not an American citizen.

    He could have stayed and appealed and the conviction might very well have been thrown out.

    Polanski fled initially to London on February 1, 1978, where he maintained residency. A day later he traveled on to France, where he held citizenship, avoiding the risk of extradition to the U.S. by Britain. Consistent with its extradition treaty with the United States, France can refuse to extradite its own citizens, and an extradition request later filed by U.S. officials was denied.

    Note that there IS and has been an extradition treaty between France and the US since 1909. Notorious murder Ira Einhorn was extradited back to Philadelphia in 2001.

    The issue is two-fold here:

    1. There is/was no plea bargaining in France, so from the viewpoint of French justice, Polanski was not tried and convicted.
    1. Most countries do not generally extradite their own citizens; or sometimes they request that their citizens serve their sentence in their own country.

    The United States government could have requested that Polanski be prosecuted on the California charges by the French authorities.

    This is VERY important, as if a criminal complaint had been filed, with sworn affidavits by the victim, Polanski would very likely have been found guilty by a French court and sentenced to a much harsher punishment (no plea bargain).

    Why this was not done puzzles me greatly.

    Polanski has never returned to England, and later sold his home there. The United States could still request the arrest and extradition of Polanski from other countries should he visit them, and Polanski avoided visits to countries (such as the UK) that were likely to extradite him and mostly travelled and works in France, Germany, the Czech Republic and Poland.

    We know what happened since.

    OVER HERE: AN AMERICAN EXPAT IN THE SOUTH OF FRANCE, is now available on Amazon US

    by Lupin on Thu Oct 01, 2009 at 08:37:42 AM PDT

  •  We've carried the "indulgence of artists" thing (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pozzo, erush1345

    ...too far.

    Talented people (of all types) frequently see things in ways that are different from most people. This is good; it should be encouraged.

    But nowadays, we've come up with the crazy idea that when it comes to behaviour, "artists" should be able to do whatever they want, even if what they want to do is behave like spoiled brats. From rock stars trashing hotel rooms (and please don't tell me "They paid for it" as though that makes it acceptable) to hip-hop musicians writing lyrics about vicious attacks on women, we've decided that "celebrities" can do whatever they want without consequences.

    To me, this is exactly like saying that a corporate hotshot can do whatever he wants because he's so "valuable." At some point....and the rape of a young girl is far beyond that point...no kind or amount of "talent" should give someone a "get out of jail" pass.  

    •  Charlie Chaplin and Errol Flynn were both (0+ / 0-)

      prosecuted for sexual involvement with teenaged women.  They were both acquitted, it's unclear whether the charges were in any way true, I believe that the girls were older than 13, and there was no claim of the sex being nonconsensual.

      But the parallels are there.

      The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

      by lysias on Thu Oct 01, 2009 at 09:04:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Excellent (0+ / 0-)

      also: if someone's creativity depends upon preying on others,
      what good is it, and whose creativity is it really?

      Just another kooky artist against vampire culture.

      Everything you do is a balloon.

      by Maori on Thu Oct 01, 2009 at 09:12:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Interesting (0+ / 0-)

    mesh of opinion and information.

    Nice diary.

    Everything you do is a balloon.

    by Maori on Thu Oct 01, 2009 at 09:09:02 AM PDT

  •  I just don't get (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    poemless, Mia Dolan, fl1972

    This outpouring of support for  a child rapist, even an Oscar winning one.

  •  Pimps,Whores,perverts,And Crooked Judges (0+ / 0-)

    Being entrapped does not forgive him for the crime, but there are many criminals in the case including the pimping mother,trampy daughter, and crooked judge.
    Polanski was tricked him into pleading guilty to a lesser charge. The deal was for the judge and his partners to get half a million for no jail time. But once Polanski pleaded guilty the price went up. He was threatened with 50 years if he did not come up with the money. Polanski would not give up all his assets and fled the country.

    •  Wow (0+ / 0-)

      but there are many criminals in the case including the . . .trampy daughter

      A 13 year old girl gets drugged and then foribly raped and sodomized, and she is one of the criminals in the case?   Sorry, just one criminal here.

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