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Should he or shouldn’t he?

Be extradited, that is.

I’m sure you’ve all heard about Roman Polanski’s arrest in Switzerland, where he’s facing extradition to the US.

Polanski skipped bail and fled to France more than 30 years ago after he’d pleaded guilty to having had sex with / rape of a 13-year-old.

There’s been some criticism about the circumstances of his arrest as he went to Switzerland to accept an award but got arrested by Swiss police at the request of the US.

So, how do you feel about this case?

37 Comments

  1. Joshua

    9/30/2009 at 4:13 pm

    Stewie: We’re just playing house.
    Lois: But he’s all tied up!
    Stewie: (pause) Roman Polanski’s house.

  2. Ed Greenberg

    9/30/2009 at 6:41 pm

    While I don’t really care one way or another for Mr. Polanski’s circumstances, I’m a bit disappointed that the Swiss rolled over on both this, and the Swiss bank confidentiality issue.

    What’s going on over there?

  3. Mark

    9/30/2009 at 8:09 pm

    Let’s recap:

    1. He raped a 13 year old after giving her alcohol and quaaludes. Even disregarding the victim’s age at the time of the attack, his actions would have qualified for a ‘normal’ (i.e. non-statutory) rape charge.

    2. After pleading guilty, he fled the country.

    So he’s made some great movies, it’s been 30 years and his victim has asked that the whole thing be dropped. Great. It’s too bad that none of that matters to the legal system. Nowhere in the penal code are there any stipulations about how many great movies one can direct to get off the hook on a rape charge, or how much time can pass before one is no longer guilty (remember, he plead so the statue of limitations isn’t a question). Lastly, the US legal system isn’t about revenge; it’s about justice. The victim’s wishes may be sincere, but the case isn’t Victim v. Roman Polanksi, but The People of the State of California v. Roman Polanski.

  4. themiddle

    9/30/2009 at 8:47 pm

    Mark, everything you wrote is correct. There is, however, the small mitigating circumstance of him being a man who must have been extraordinarily troubled at the time after the brutal murder of his wife by the Manson loonies.

  5. Kate

    9/30/2009 at 9:27 pm

    I think what he did was obviously disgusting but I feel bad that the victim has asked the case to be dismissed because SHE wants to move on and it hasn’t.

  6. alexk

    10/1/2009 at 2:19 am

    TM, you lost me. Horrible tragedy = an excuse to drug, rape and sodomize a 13 yr old girl and then act unrepentant? I’m willing to bet that this happened to be the only “girl” he got caught with.

    • themiddle

      10/1/2009 at 2:32 am

      How did I lose you? I wasn’t defending him and as far as I know, he pleaded guilty before he fled. I do think, however, that there is no way for us to understand what becomes of a man who goes through what he went through.

  7. Tom Morrissey

    10/1/2009 at 3:03 am

    I’m glad Hollywood’s worthies have rallied behind Palestinians, Polanski and other oppressed and brutalized persons.

  8. Haifa-Dave

    10/1/2009 at 5:13 am

    David, actually your ‘Palestinian friends’ and Polanski seems to share the same interest in little girls
    http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=a4b_1249043706

  9. Haif-Dave

    10/1/2009 at 9:01 am

    David, I sure do understand your outrage. Sure this Mass Pedophile Wedding in Gaza was Zionist plot conducted by wealthy jews. Unfortunately the situation is much more grave.

  10. themiddle

    10/1/2009 at 9:19 am

    Sorry Haifa Dave but “David” was a certain Bangladeshi anti-Semite who is banned from our site permanently. He has learned the wonders of proxies, so he’s harder to take care of now…but he has no rights here.

    • froylein

      10/1/2009 at 9:47 am

      May I ask our lawyer friends, is Polanski facing extradition mostly because he skipped bail and fled the US or mostly because he’s awaiting sentencing in the rape case?

      I was wondering as there have allegedly been cases of rape in the US that were not persecuted since the victim didn’t press or dropped charges. This, I was told, was possible because of the difference between the US and German system as in Germany public prosecution must press charges in any case of capital crime and in cases of petty crime if the damage exceeds a certain amount (50 Euros if I’m not mistaken).

  11. alexk

    10/1/2009 at 11:00 am

    TM exemplifies the typical liberal worldview of criminal behavior: “it’s not the man whom is evil, it’s the man’s circumstances that led him to be evil”. You’re letting him off the hook and it’s despicable. Luckily, even to most liberals, this is below the pale. I am thankful that this talented artist’s (who had horrible things happen to him) actions have united both the left and right in moral disgust, but I am embarrassed that many other artistic Jews have foregone morality, righteousness, and common sense to find excuses for a pedophile who thinks he is above the law. Justice is blind and if you don’t want to live by our system, then Polanski is free to run from the other relatively just system of “eye for an eye” and hope no one drugs, rapes, and sodomizes his daughter to square things ao to speak. The man is a coward and so is anyone that tries to find excuses for his dispicable act. Talk about a Shanda.

  12. Tom Morrissey

    10/1/2009 at 12:44 pm

    froylein, as I understand it he was charged with a lesser offense as part of a plea bargain and pled guilty to that charge, but the trial judge in the case was considering departing from the plea deal (which was essentially letting RP off with 42 days’ worth of time served); he skipped town before sentencing.

    A 2008 film makes the case he was the victim of prosecutorial and judicial misconduct, but rather than appeal (and take the chance he might lose), he fled (taking the chance he might be extradited).

    • froylein

      10/1/2009 at 1:37 pm

      Thanks for explaining, Tom.

      Hopefully this case will get the community as a whole to reflect on and deliberately evaluate the way it views sexual abuse of minors.

  13. alexk

    10/1/2009 at 1:39 pm

    Yes, but in an article by Marsha Clark yesterday, the lawyer in that documentary admitted that he lied in the film because he thought it made for a better story and was told the movie would never be released in the US. Now some think that because of his lie in the movie, the case jumped up in priority because it cast aspersions of the judge and lawyer. He says now that he will testify under oath that he lied in the movie but dd not act unethically in the case. I’ll dig up the link when I’m off my death bed.

  14. Tom Morrissey

    10/1/2009 at 1:41 pm

    The “community as a whole” evidently doesn’t yet include elite opinion in Hollywood, Paris and elsewhere. This is not original with me, but if a Catholic priest or a Republican politician engaged in like conduct, I rather doubt the French minister of culture or the Hollywood establishment would rush to his defense.

  15. alexk

    10/1/2009 at 1:43 pm

    Hopefully it will make people rethink their weird worship and frhibeness of celebrities and Hollywood’s self ponounced “moral compass” because of compassion. Sheesh. F*** the dirty Weinsteins.

  16. Tom Morrissey

    10/1/2009 at 1:45 pm

    Whatever the merits of Polanski’s appeal, he forfeited his appellate rights by fleeing the country. An inner-city kid who’s in jail on a mandatory sentence for a drug charge is more deserving of leniency than this guy.

  17. alexk

    10/1/2009 at 1:46 pm

    I meant foregiveness and I agree with Tom. The double standards are clear and only reenforce my opinion in the role Hollywood has played in destroying this country with their equally weird worship of the Cult of Obama.

    • froylein

      10/1/2009 at 2:03 pm

      Certainly, Tom, the double standards have always irked me, particularly since “assumed innocent until convicted” should apply universally. When convicted, crying “lashon hara” if the scoundrel is of the Mosaic persuasion (and possibly religious at that), is just an attempt at silencing people that make mention of or ask questions concerning the cases. That kind of attitude does neither do the victims justice nor the desired position of being a “light unto the nations”.

    • themiddle

      10/1/2009 at 3:44 pm

      Alex, generally when you have conversations with others, do you froth at the mouth?

  18. mark in east berlin

    10/1/2009 at 2:47 pm

    The legal question that needs to be asked is whether a statute of limitations should be on charges of this kind. The American system does not have one, others do. Granted, it’s more a question of legal philosophy, but an important one nevertheless.

  19. Tom Morrissey

    10/1/2009 at 4:02 pm

    Mark, the fairness concerns underlying the statute of limitations– stale evidence, shaky witness testimony owing to the passage of time, etc.– don’t apply here, because Polanski’s not being held for trial on the rape case. He pled guilty, having gotten his due process. None of the facts of his conduct (including his flight to avoid prison) are in dispute.

  20. mark in east berlin

    10/1/2009 at 4:33 pm

    one of the cornerstones of traditional extradition law is reciprocity, meaning that countries as a rule do not extradite for (alleged) crimes that are not punishable by their own law, or not any more. which is why polanski would not have been arrested in (or extradited by) germany. the applicable law between switzerland and the US is different, the statute of limitations of the US system is the one the Swiss have agreed to. additionally, there is no time limit on rape cases in Switzerland anymore. but that was changed only recently, so there are a number of questions still open, including whether the American system even knows of a “time limit” statute of limitations like the European system (a Swiss law professor says the American system doesn’t). Then there is the question whether Polanski did in fact get his “due process”. if there was a plea bargain and the judge did decide to not honour the agreement (as it has been suggested), then it is questionable whether that still constitutes due process. which of course is impossible to prove now one way or the other.

  21. Jack

    10/1/2009 at 4:39 pm

    The facts are simple. A 43 year-old man sodomized a 13 year old girl. Even if you accept the premise that she wanted the drugs and alcohol there is no excuse for his behavior.

    He fled instead of facing justice and has lived a privileged life. Polanski’s talent and wealth seem to have clouded the judgment of some people.

    IT WAS WRONG.

  22. mark in east berlin

    10/1/2009 at 4:47 pm

    i don’t think anybody would disagree with the statement that “IT WAS WRONG.” i certainly don’t. doesn’t change the fact that this does not answer the question as to what is the “correct” way to proceed some 30 years later.

  23. Tom Morrissey

    10/1/2009 at 4:51 pm

    Yeah, Mark, without knowing the law in CA, I’m assuming that Polanski would be viewed as having foregone his appeal by leaving the jurisdiction– so there will be no litigation about alleged misconduct. That’s his responsibility, however.

    Crimes as well as civil liability are generally subject to s of l’s, but those vary widely depending upon the jurisdiction. California doesn’t have one regarding sexual abuse-related crimes, though again that wouldn’t apply in this case as Polanski has been tried and (via his plea) was found guilty. Here in Massachusetts, the limitations period is 15 years.

  24. mark in east berlin

    10/1/2009 at 6:01 pm

    ok, the point here is that according to the (a version of the) European version, a guilty plea wouldn’t rule out the the question of s of l.

  25. alexk

    10/1/2009 at 8:35 pm

    TM, usually yes. Today was not one of those days.

  26. Ephraim

    10/2/2009 at 1:29 am

    Middle, you aren’t citing PHSD (Post Holocaust Stress Disorder) as somehow mitigating Polanski’s behavior are you?

    I suppose if Polanski saw somebody in a Wehrmacht uniform, had a flashback, freaked out,and shot the guy in the head, I could kinda sorta understand it, maybe.

    But seriously: WTF are you talking about? And what Tom said: are you gonna give a pedophile priest a pass because his life of forced abstinence has screwed him up, or because he performs a spiritual service (makes good movies)?

    I thought not.

    I really liked “The Fearless Vampire Killers” (scared the bejeezus out of me when I first saw it) and “Chinatown is a great film, but the guy’s a child rapist.

    • themiddle

      10/2/2009 at 3:25 am

      I repeat again: I’m not defending what he did.

      I am saying that the guy’s mind was in a place none of us understand, which might explain his actions. It doesn’t defend his actions, but it might explain them. And yes, a life of abstinence definitely explains the numerous priests molesting children and although the celibacy explains the reason for their actions, it does not excuse them.

      As for being a good film director, big deal. I also liked Chinatown, but Death and the Maiden was a waste of several dollars and Bitter Moon was even worse.

  27. Tom Morrissey

    10/2/2009 at 10:11 am

    Middle’s not even outraged about what Polanski did to Jack Nicholson’s nose.

  28. froylein

    10/2/2009 at 11:22 am

    It’s actually the other way round; a priest won’t turn a pedophile because of being sworn to celibacy (20% of Catholic priests, in fact, are married as they became Anglican priests initially and then turned Roman Catholic, so there are loopholes), but there are pedophiles that, realising their inclinations, try to “deal” with them by “removing” themselves e.g. by joining the clergy or mingling with the gay community. A priest that can’t deal with celibacy might be looking for a mistress, but it takes a pedophile to molest children. A “normal” person will not be sexually attracted to kids, celibacy or whatnot.

    There are also numerous cases of sexual abuse of minors committed by rabbis / yeshiva resp. seminary teachers, and particularly in the Orthodox communities, it cannot be taken for granted that the cases are properly addressed and the victims often are treated like offenders if they dare to speak out.

    That’s why I wrote above that the community as a whole should reflect on what its values are.
    The Vatican, luckily enough, has changed the attitude towards pedophile priests since Ratzinger became Pope and has since ordered all priests that got accused of sexual abuse of minors to stand trial in a secular court in the state they’ve committed the crime in. While there are no such hierarchies in Judaism, the community cannot tolerate that known sex-offenders will get away with their crimes by e.g. fleeing to Israel or having the victims silenced.

  29. Ephraim

    10/2/2009 at 1:58 pm

    So his mind was in a place none of us understand.

    So what?

    Weak, Middle, weak. The same could be said of anyone who commits a crime. It’s meaningless.

    I certainly hope I can never understand what goes through the mind of a child rapist or a murderer.

    As far as pedophile priests are concerned, I agree that they were pedophiles first and priests later. I was just using the example as a rhetorical device.

    • froylein

      10/2/2009 at 3:11 pm

      No worries, Ephraim, that’s how I read you. I just wanted to clarify “for the record”, so to speak.

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