Thank you for this. A voice of sanity. Heaven forbid we let the legal system handle something instead of celebrities and the internet.
I agree. I'm tired of people being tried on TV, or the newspapers or the internet.
I found this article: http://www.radaronline.com/exclusives/2009/09/harrowing-testimony-roman-polanskis-rape-victim
I didn't realize people in Hollywood were signing a petition. (You can also download the victim's grand jury testimony from a link in the article.) People stating their opinion doesn't surprise me, but if they think they can influence the course of what happens to Polanski, they're delusional. It'll be the court system of L.A. who'll decide his fate, as it should be.
When I first read Helter Skelter in 1989, I had no idea that he had been a fugitive for rape for years. I felt bad for him for losing his wife and baby so horrifically. Even so, I remember some passages in the book made me think he was rather goofy. But not so much that I would have guessed he was capable of drugging and raping a 13-year-old! Jeez!
Yes, there are petitions for his release without extradition, thereby avoiding L.A. courts again.
I refuse to look at who has signed because it would infuriate me.
Everyone is talking about the initial crime and whether or not he should be punished for that.
No one seems to be talking about the crime of fleeing. It seems to me regardless of what anyone thinks of the first crime, there should be no argument about the second.
(note, I'm not saying fleeing the country is worse than sex with a minor, lest any onlookers be confused.)
The part that astounds me is that if he hadn't fled he probably would have gotten a light sentence and mostly probation back then. All these years of flight and infamy would have been behind him long ago.
This, exactly, is what I've been telling people. The entire petition business is driving me insane.
I think there are some pretty clear precedents in this case. We have laws that cover all these things. Unfortunately, I believe that Hollywood insiders have become accustomed to getting lesser treatment than the rest of us, and have acquired a sense of entitlement.
For the original crime he will have to be sentenced according to the sentencing guidelines of the time. The fleeing is a far bigger thing now.
I don't know, I don't see it as up to the judge and jury in that he was convicted, the evidence was laid out in court. We KNOW he's guilty.
Also there might be some legitimate concern, not for the man but for some of the legal implications of his capture in a neutral country.
People spout off opinions about all kinds of things they aren't directly involved in why should this be exempt?
Determination of guilt and determination of appropriate sentencing are two entirely different decisions. Guilt is not the issue here, since it was established. Sentencing takes into consideration ameliorating factors such as state of mind. Whether he should go to jail for the crime clearly committed is the question at hand.
Also, fleeing from sentencing is another crime for which he can and should be charged and tried.
The neutral country is of no significance. We have an extradition treaty with Switzerland .
Yes, people spout off all the time. Including me.
YES! I had a thought spree about him in my LJ on Monday.
*That he took advantage of the special arrangement he had -- not being in jail and able to travle/work on film while awaiting a court date -- to flee the country makes him look either guilty or disrespecting of the American court system. The rules for regular folk don't apply to the rich, famous and talented? Nnuh-uhh.
*Lots of people have bad things happen to them: they don't then go out and take advantage of underage girls. Even if he mistook the girl for legal age, he was 44 and she was still way too young for it to be an adult-to-adult consensual act. She claims she felt pressured by his authority and what he could do for her career -- not to mention by the champagne and 'ludes he plied her with. She says she said No. Again, the rules don't seem to apply to him. He doesn't get a pass from me on the "poor thing he had his wife murdered so he gets to act out on other people." I have sympathy in spades for his trauma: how he choose to deal with it is still inexcusable.
- He paid restitution. (And perhaps the girl's mother set him up with her "prosti-tot" so she could blackmail him later: a court needs to figure that out.) So, one can buy one's way out of a sexual scandal? How is that different than paying for sex? And, again, people with money/fame have a different set of rules? Nnuh-uhh. (Personally, I think prostitution should be legalized, along with pot. Until it is, Don't do the crime if you can't do the time.)
All of which still points to your conclusion: he should have stayed and seen this through to a verdict. Maybe he didn't believe he'd get a fair trial. Maybe he felt himself above American laws or "prudish/Puritan" morals. Again, why should he be given special treatment other offenders aren't?
Considering the era in which this happened, and his trauma, he probably would have gotten a light sentence. He made everything worse.
The only argument for letting him off right now that I see as having any weight is the victim having said she wants him let off the hook so she can put all this behind her. He may have made some brilliant movies, he might be reformed, there might be mitigating factors not properly considered, but the only leg he really has to stand on as far as getting off the hook without further court action is the victims request. At least, thats all he should have.
Of course, even with the victims request, the prosecutor and the courts have to consider the risk of future victims, or other existing victims that might not come forward if they dont' believe justice will actually come. The victims request should be considered if it hasn't been already though.
"further court action" should have actually said "without being extradited to face sentencing".
Well in my book Polanski deserves to be shunned and not fawned over by his peers. He is a child molester at worse and a dirty old man at best. I say that he shouldn't be brought to trial only because his victim is tired of all of this and wants it to just go away. Which is fine with me. But Polanski is a sad excuse of a man, I don't care how good his stupid movies are.
Oh, he won't be brought to trial for rape. He already pled guilty, as part of a plea bargain.
What he needs to be brought to trial for, now, is skipping bail before his pitifully small sentence was due to start.
2009-10-01 02:20 am (UTC)
I was proud to see Secretary Clinton stating that this isn't a matter for diplomats, it's a matter for the judicial system.
AKA appeals to her go nowhere.
Forget it, Gini. It's Chinatown...
wow, sanity on the internet! ;-). Thank you.
I get so few chances to use it, it's always a pleasure.
The sentencing process is a separate process, and for the original crime he would have to be sentenced by the standards of the time. The evidence at sentencing is different and things like state of mind can be ameliorating. There weren't mandatory sentencing requirements at the time. Sentencing is still an open question with a lot of discretion.
And I, for one, will never be able to take Whoopi Goldberg even remotely seriously again.
Why? Don't you see the intuitively obvious difference between rape and rape-rape?
Of course, his lawyers argued over the summer that he was considering coming back and facing sentencing if they would agree to a change of venue.
He doesn't trust the L.A. Court system and given their history I can't blame him.
2009-10-01 11:54 am (UTC)
I think strict liability in statutory cases is a mistake. I know in NY, ameliorative circumstances don't matter and a good friend who was studying to be a teacher at an Ivy League school can no longer ever work with kids because he had sex with an underage girl who traveled from another state to meet him, making it a felony. He had no idea that the girl was not the age she presented herself as. I think strict liability is a mistake.
I think the United States often infantilizes teenagers, as though they were unaware or incapable of making good decisions.
I think that many rape crimes are not prosecuted, out of respect for the victim.
I think that rape needs to be taken seriously, that rape happens way too much, way too often and too many many men rape without thinking about it clearly.
Rape is not acceptable. Child rape is not acceptable.
And yet, many people have left the US for countries that don't continue extradition. Things like dodging the draft, or even just a refusal to pay taxes for the wars abroad. And they are guaranteed some sort of security. I think that is what the international community is responding to, rather than the original crime.
2009-10-02 12:19 am (UTC)
Let's keep the argument simple
There is a very big difference between leaving the country because you believe war in immoral and leaving the country because you ignored the pleas of a girl and anally assaulted her (just to take the age and consent issues out of the picture).
And tax evaders should be extradited.