Patterico's Pontifications

9/28/2009

Your Evening Polanski Update, Part 2

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:22 pm



(It’s all too much for one post. Part 1 is here.)

Funnyman Roy Rivenburg reports that Roman Polanski has been arrested for making a bad movie:

“If Polanski had done something minor like drug and anally rape a 13-year-old girl who later forgave him, I’d let it slide,” said L.A. Times columnist Patrick Goldstein. “Unless he were a Catholic priest, although I might make an exception if he were a priest who directed ‘Chinatown’ and ‘The Pianist.’

“But making a lousy film is beyond the pale,” Goldstein noted. “It’s right up there with interrupting Taylor Swift at the Video Music Awards or being Michael Vick. And let’s not forget Polanski was also responsible for 1986’s tragically bad ‘Pirates.’ He deserves a horrible, soul-wrenching penalty, such as being forced to live in Europe, dine at swanky restaurants and hobnob with celebrities.”

Hahahahahahaha. By the way, back in real (non-satirical) life, Goldstein has now tweaked his argument slightly. Goldstein got his head handed to him by his commenters today for suggesting that it would cost my employer, the L.A. County D.A., too much money to seek justice for the anal rape of a 13-year-old child. Now, he says, we just have more important criminals to pursue than people who drug and anally rape a 13-year-old girl:

But with so many far more important cases sitting idle because of budget cuts and lack of manpower, it is hard to fathom why the D.A.’s office is suddenly spending time and money trying to re-energize an ancient sex case when there are so many more nasty characters so much closer to home who need to feel the strong arm of the law.

Of course, the case is ancient only because Polanski fled. You’d think it would be a pretty nervy argument to flee sentencing for 30 years, and then complain that the case is 30 years old. But that’s the argument Goldstein makes on Polanski’s behalf. I guess it’s not much different from the death penalty opponents who delay executions for 20+ years and then complain that it’s cruel and unusual punishment to keep someone on death row for 20+ years. There’s no argument too shameless for some people.

But the real crux of Goldstein’s post is to suggest that the D.A. arrested Polanski, not to seek justice in an awful sexual assault case, but rather for petty revenge:

Did the L.A. County district attorney’s office go after Roman Polanski because they wanted revenge after getting a black eye in the recent Polanski documentary, “Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired?”

That’s the provocative theory floated by Newser’s always provocative Michael Wolff, best known as the author of “The Man Who Owns the News,” the wonderfully dishy recent biography of Rupert Murdoch. According to Wolff, it seems awfully strange that Polanski has been traveling to Switzerland for years — he even has a home there — without L.A. prosecutors managing to nab him until now.

Let’s look at the piece by Wolff, the provocative provocateur who so provocatively provoked Goldstein. It contains such measured and persuasive lines as these:

Prosecutors are the scariest people in a democracy because they can have you arrested and put in jail. They can do this essentially at will, if arresting you suits their purposes. . . . . Among all media whores, there is none so greedy and mendacious as a prosecutor.

(The cheering you hear in the distance is a group of Radley Balko followers. Oh, and fuck the police, too.)

You can tell that there is no axe to grind with Wolff. Just provocative provocativeness in all its provocative goodness.

For those of us who live in the real world, what was the actual reason it took so long to get Polanski? Cursory internet research reveals this answer:

U.S. authorities said Sunday they’ve tried to capture director Roman Polanski on his previous trips to Switzerland, but it wasn’t until recently that they were able to lay the groundwork days ahead in order to facilitate his arrest by Swiss police. . . . “There have been other times through the years when we have learned of his potential travel, but either those efforts fell through or he didn’t make the trip,” William Sorukas, chief of the U.S. Marshals Service’s domestic branch, said Sunday.

This time round, U.S. authorities learned of the director’s trip days in advance and were able to get the operation going.

How were we able to learn about it this time? As Sandi Gibbons of my office explained: “It wasn’t a big secret that he was going to be in Zurich. They had announced it on the internet.” If prosecutor-haters Goldstein and Wolff have evidence that Polanski’s past trips had been publicly announced on the Internet days in advance, let them present it. Until then, I’ll stick with the simplest explanation: he had simply become more brazen.

Remember: Gibbons speaks for my office; I do not. I speak merely as a citizen advocating common sense.

Part 1 of tonight’s update is here.

11 Responses to “Your Evening Polanski Update, Part 2”

  1. […] UPDATE: Part 2 of tonight’s Polanski update is here. […]

    Patterico’s Pontifications » Your Evening Polanski Update, Part 1 (e4ab32)

  2. Patrick, check my comment in Part 1. Applebaum certainly did know what her husband was thinking if she read the WaPo story she linked to in her column.

    Dusty (7bba43)

  3. Doesn’t Al Gore deserve some credit for the arrest? Thirty years ago he figured that if he could create this internet thing someday Polanski would use it to telegraph his travel plans. And then justice would be served. Either that or when Gore would be president Polanski could go all Mark Rich and dump tons of money on the Gore Library.

    Can Polanski revoke his plea and get a new trial? Is there anyway he thinks he could get a better result if the victim is not going to testify? A new trial would be bigger than Michael Jackson’s.

    MU789 (9ab961)

  4. Patterico – Who is this LA Times columnist Patrick Goldstein? Have you checked the NY Times wedding section archives for background?

    daleyrocks (718861)

  5. Polanski is also an orphan.

    Kevin Murphy (3c3db0)

  6. LATimes Lefties. Always trying to get us to forget vicious, abhorrent, criminal conduct when it suits them and their tired scripts.
    I got the same pitch, more or less, from a still employed LATimes columnist back after SLA fugitive Kathleen Soliah was finally captured.
    The violent woman was wanted for trying to bomb LAPD cars, and was soon to be indicted for the bank robbery and murder of a housewife in Carmichael.
    Shame on them.
    It’s almost like these hacks are forever anchored in some JC social studies/journo class.

    Andrew (92ffbe)

  7. Knowing a little bit about this — getting a provisional arrest warrant to take someone into custody in a foreign country is not an easy task, and it generally takes time. The local law enforcement authority has to make an application to the Federal Dept. of Justice, and provide all the necessary paperwork. DOJ forwards the necessary paperwork to the State Dept. The State Dept. works through the embassy in the foreign country — in this case Switzerland — to deliver the necessary paperwork to the Swiss Foreign Ministry. The Swiss Foreign Ministry then requests the issuance of a Swiss warrant from a Swiss DOJ (not sure what it’s called), and the Swiss DOJ goes to a Swiss Judge to get the warrant.

    So, it’s not like the LA County DA can simply call the clerk for a Swiss Judge and get a warrant issued when he finds out Polanski plans on taking a long weekend in the Alps. There’s lots of moving parts and it can take days or weeks to get everything right.

    Shipwreckedcrew (7f73f0)

  8. In the words Howard Kuttz the Post used to explain away its lack of coverage of the ACORN story, Anne Applebaum was probably “lamentably late” in reading the whole linked story.

    Corky Boyd (4e8f68)

  9. Am I terribly naive, or could there be a connection between the US recent hammering to release “secret” Swiss banking info, and the sudden “cooperation” of Swiss Authorities in the capture of this notorious fugitive?

    If I were the Swiss dudes, I might hand this hot potato to the American pain – in – the – ass and laugh like hell while I watched Him juggle it.

    It’s a get off my back move, and it works really well as a push-back.

    rick (de9292)

  10. If only those Roman Catholic priests had made a few movies….

    tehag (c2d2a8)

  11. But remember, Clarance Thomas was a monster! /s

    Man, how do live your life with THAT level of cognitive dissonance and not get whiplash on a daily basis?

    Sean P (da7912)


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