Monday, September 28, 2009


Part of What's Wrong With the Media

Here is what Washington Post columnist Anne Applebaum says about the recent arrest of fugitive-from-justice film director Roman Polanski. She calls it outrageous. Money quote:
Polanski's crime -- statutory rape of a 13-year-old girl -- was committed in 1977. The girl, now 45, has said more than once that she forgives him, that she can live with the memory, that she does not want him to be put back in court or in jail, and that a new trial will hurt her husband and children. There is evidence of judicial misconduct in the original trial. There is evidence that Polanski did not know her real age. 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.
Much of what she says is untrue. His crime was real rape and sodomy, not just statutory rape. In other words, the drugged 13-year old did not consent and made her lack of consent known.

There was no trial and there almost certainly won't be in the future because Polanski pled out to the least of the charges--statutory rape. In other words, he admitted in open court, knowing it could get him 50 years in prison, that he had sex with a girl too young to be able to give consent when he knew that she was too young,

There is no evidence of judicial misconduct: No plea bargain binds a judge's hands. The judge can always reject it in the whole, or can not go with a recommended sentence if the judge doesn't think justice will be served by the agreement. Polanski was told all this at the time he entered his plea. Applebaum is alluding to the HBO special about Polanski which was shameless in its one-sidedness. There was no trial. Polanski received the favorable treatment celebrities in Hollywood often receive. His civil rights vis a vis the justice system were never abridged.

There was evidence that Polanski did not know her real age? Yeah, Polanski saying so on TV (I remember seeing it in 1977) "She was a woman" Oh right, many people mistake 13 year olds for 18 year olds, so few changes take place in that 5 years. Oh and in the same breath that Polanksi falsely stated that he could not tell her age (false because he was getting permission from her mother to take photographs of her and admitted he knew she was underage) he was also saying "she was willing" when she was not willing, particularly regarding the anal sex.

Polanski didn't panic. He fled from the jurisdiction to avoid jail time and went to France from whence he knew he would never be deported. That is logic, not panic. There was no trial.

He's never been convicted of anything else. True enough, but let's look at the relative ages of some of the women we know Polanski has had sex with:

Nastasia Kinsky 15--Polanski 41
Emmanuel Seigner (now his wife) 20--Polanski 54

He still liked them pretty young even after his arrest, but was in places where such an age difference was not merely not a crime, but no big deal. Not the ringing endorsement, perhaps, Ms. Applebaum was hoping for.

So all in all not a completely accurate or fair representation of the facts. Biased towards the long suffering artist. Child molester, schmild molester she seems to be saying. Polanski could have moved to have the plea withdrawn had he been unfairly treated. He fled the jurisdiction instead.

Oh, and Applebaum has a huge, no, let me write that more accurately, HUGE conflict of interest which she fails to reveal. Not only the French but the Poles want the whole thing over and the Polish government has been working to get the plea withdrawn and the charges dismissed. Applebaum is married to the Foreign Minister for Poland.

People are turning off the alphabet news broadcasts in droves and the papers are losing readership and profitability at an alarming rate. The journalists don't appear to know why.

This is why.

Oh, and Roman, love your movies, particularly Cul-de-Sac, Macbeth and Chinatown, but time to face the music there, kitty kat.

More here.

UPDATE: Is there a single child rape apologist on the right? Is there a single left winger saying he must face his sentencing, and about time too? This is a political blog, after all.

UPDATE: Kate Harding at the left wing site Salon, speaks truth to Leftie power. Well done.

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I think I have this right. I heard that there may be an impediment to extradition.

Because he was never sentenced, he cannot be credited and therefore may not be able to be extradicted.

This from NPR on 9/28

Professor Valerie Epps, at Suffolk University Law School in Boston, says the 42 days Polanski already served could cause some difficulty under article two of the extradition treaty between the U.S. and Switzerland.

Professor VALERIE EPPS (Suffolk University): They're only going to grant extradition if the period - duration of the penalty or detention awarded or their aggregate still to be served amounts to at least six months.

There is no way of knowing this.

I can't believe fleeing the jurisdiction after a plea but before sentencing can work in his favor but anything is possible. Polanski may well come back to mere weeks and days of detention. Or he may go back on his merry way without ever entering the US. Extradition of famous men is often tricky.
I looked at the treaty and I disagree with Ms. Epps. The section uses the word "or" so either he faces a maximum over a year or he has more than six months left on his sentence. Since Polanski has no sentence (unknown if diagnostic incarceration counts) it's the first part. My guess is that he'll fight for about 7 months and end up in LA.
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