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Monday, September 28, 2009

No special treatment for Polanski

I don't usually weigh in on cases like this, but those who think that the charges against Polanski should be dropped without him showing up in court in Los Angeles (where the judge who currently has jurisdiction in the case has already gone on record agreeing that there was judicial misconduct three decades ago) are really pushing hypocritically for a double standard for artists and filmmakers.

Polanski committed a serious crime to which he pleaded guilty. If the defendant were Rush Limbaugh instead of Polanski, everyone would be whistling a different tune (on both sides of the issue!) It also does not matter that Polanski's victim has "forgiven" him and also wants the charges to be dropped. Rapists are prosecuted in the name of the people, not solely in the name of their victims, for obvious reasons: Society at large has an interest in preventing such behavior.

I have little doubt that Polanski is now rehabilitated and no threat to society; he was a different person in a different place psychologically when he committed the crime. But we have legal mechanisms for making such decisions and Polanski now has no reason to think that he will again be the victim of judicial misconduct. He should give up his fight against extradition and return to Los Angeles, so everyone can get on with their lives. Maybe he will even be able to accept an Oscar for one of his films in person some day.

A similar take... from Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post.

And from the New York Times editorial page on Wednesday. The arguments some are making on Polanski's behalf, that he has already paid and atoned for the indiscretions of his youth, are also made today by those who think Nazi fugitives from justice should be allowed to live out their lives in peace. As a Holocaust survivor, Polanski should be particularly sensitive to the hypocrisy of such arguments. And those who make them should try to remember that in the United States at least everyone is supposed to be equal under the law.

And most eloquently, a piece in today's Los Angeles Times by Steve Lopez, entitled "Polanski's defenders lose sight of the true victim," which includes detailed excerpts from the girl's Grand Jury testimony.

2 comments:

Woody said...

Holy cow! I agree with you! It's nice to see that you're viewing something like a good conservative.

Anne Gilbert said...

I don't know what to think about Polanski. He's been dogged for years by this. He's a talented guy in some ways, but I'm not sure how much he's "changed". However, I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. Still, he should just go and get this over with, one way or another.