Patterico's Pontifications

5/2/2010

Roman Polanski: “I Can Remain Silent No Longer”

Filed under: Crime — Patterico @ 5:46 pm

An extensive whine translated into several languages:

It is true: 33 years ago I pleaded guilty, and I served time at the prison for common law crimes at Chino, not in a VIP prison. That period was to have covered the totality of my sentence. By the time I left prison, the judge had changed his mind and claimed that the time served at Chino did not fulfil the entire sentence, and it is this reversal that justified my leaving the United States.

No, it didn’t.

It is important to note a few points, based on a reading of the publicly available documents in the case, including Polanski’s plea transcript and a Court of Appeals decision extensively setting forth the underlying facts.

1. Roman Polanski did not plead guilty based on the assurance that he would receive only a brief 42-day prison sentence as his entire punishment. When he pled, he knew he could receive as much as 20 years in prison. Neither the judge nor anyone else had made him any promises about what his sentence would be, and his plea did not and could not rely on any promise or assurance from the judge.

2. It is alleged that, on a later date in September 1977, the judge told the lawyers in chambers that he intended to send Polanski to state prison for a “diagnostic study” (which is normally for a period of 90 days) as Polanski’s entire punishment. The lawyers have filed affidavits stating that the judge was told that this procedure was improper, as such diagnostic studies are not intended to serve as punishment, but rather as a tool to allow an evaluation of the defendant, to help determine what further punishment, if any, is appropriate.

3. Polanski served only 42 days instead of the usual 90 — and it has been alleged that the judge wanted to send him back to prison for the balance of that 90 days.

4. The Court of Appeal has said that if Polanski believed that he had been wronged by the judge in any way, there were several options available to him. Given that the Deputy District Attorney on the case is a forthright and honest individual, as Polanski and his lawyer concede, Polanski could have addressed these issues contemporaneously with the full cooperation of that Deputy District Attorney.

Instead, Polanski chose to flee. His actions were not justified.

Speaking only for myself (as I always do on this blog), I have my doubts as to whether the Swiss have any intention of releasing Polanski to the U.S. But regardless of how this all comes out, the way he has flouted our justice system has never been justified.

12/28/2009

In Case You Were Worried About Whether Roman Polanski Is Comfortable . . .

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 4:19 pm

. . . let me set your mind at ease.

The child rapist is in “full comfort” at his Swiss chalet.

I know I’m breathing easier.

10/11/2009

Roman Polanski Is Depressed

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 1:20 pm

Roman Polanski is depressed:

Roman Polanski is depressed and in an “unsettled state of mind” as he begins his third week in a Zurich jail, his attorney told two Swiss newspapers.

Attorney Herve Temime has visited Polanski in jail, where he faces extradition to Los Angeles for sentencing after having pleaded guilty three decades ago to sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl.

“I found him to be tired and depressed,” Temime told the Sonntag newspaper.

He was quoted in the newspaper NZZ as saying Polanski “seemed very dejected when I visited him.”

I have only one question: who cares?

Criminal defendants who are incarcerated are often depressed — but if they are incarcerated because of their own actions, you don’t usually see newspaper articles about it.

What about the depression this rape and its aftermath caused the victim? A depression that is constantly blamed on my employer, the L.A. County D.A. (for whom I do not speak), but which is fairly blamed on the rapist: Mr. Polanski.

There is no mention of her feelings.

There should be.

But this is how Big Media operates: when the leftists writing the story sympathize with the prisoner — such as Polanski, or Gitmo detainees — we get to read about how sad they are while locked up. If the prisoner is unpopular — say, for example, someone accused of a hate crime against a gay victim — you’d never see such a story in a million years. “My client is depressed,” the lawyer would say. “Who cares?” reporters would say.

And that’s what they should say here. The fact that they don’t indicates a lingering feeling of sympathy towards this child rapist.

It’s time to get over that, Big Media. A Dog Bites Man Story is just that — even if the dog is a famous director.

9/27/2009

WaPo Columnist Has Undisclosed Conflict of Interest on Roman Polanski Matter

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:33 pm

In an earlier post I noted substantial inaccuracies and omissions in a post by Washington Post pundit Anne Applebaum in support of Roman Polanski. (For example, she said Polanski fled during his trial; in fact, he pled guilty and fled before his sentencing.) But I think this is worth its own post: Applebaum failed to mention that her husband is a Polish foreign minister who is lobbying for Polanski’s case to be dismissed:

In Polanski’s native Poland, President Lech Kaczynski and Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski said they would appeal to US authorities to drop proceedings against Polanski.

The PAP news agency said Sikorski was consideri[ng] a direct appeal to US President Barack Obama to end ‘once and for all’ the proceedings against the filmmaker.

Radoslaw Sikorski is married to Anne Applebaum:

Anne Applebaum is a columnist for the Washington Post and Slate. . . . Her husband, Radoslaw Sikorski, is a Polish politician and writer.

Applebaum failed to mention this little fact.

So at the same time that she was giving readers a fact-challenged screed in support of Polanski, she was failing to disclose that her husband was a Polish official who was lobbying for Polanski’s freedom.

I work for the L.A. County District Attorney’s office, which is seeking Polanski’s extradition; that is no secret to anyone who reads this blog (nor is it a secret that I do not speak on behalf of my office on this blog). By contrast, it is not well known to Applebaum’s readers that her husband is a Polish official actively involved in the effort on Polanski’s behalf.

This is reminiscent of the episode where Linda Greenhouse repeatedly reported on the facts of a case in which her husband was involved. The New York Times‘s ombudsman opined that Greenhouse should have disclosed that connection.

This is no different. Applebaum should have disclosed this connection.

UPDATE: For what it’s worth, Applebaum does know how to disclose her marriage to her husband, as she did it in a column published five days ago:

Last week, the Czech prime minister was roused from his bed after midnight to be informed by the White House of a non-urgent decision many months in the making: the cancellation of the missile defense program. The Polish prime minister refused to take a similar call (and the foreign minister, to whom — full disclosure — I am married, was asleep).

Thanks to a reader, who agrees with me that the disclosure should have been made here as well. The point is not just the identity of her husband — but, additionally and more importantly, the fact that he is advocating on behalf of Polanski in an official, governmental capacity.

Roman Polanski Arrested in Switzerland

Filed under: Crime — DRJ @ 12:17 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Director Roman Polanski was arrested in Switzerland after he flew in to attend the Zurich Film Festival:

“Polanski was scheduled to receive an honorary award at the festival when he was apprehended Saturday at the airport, the Swiss Justice Ministry said in a statement. It said U.S. authorities have sought the arrest of the 76-year-old director around the world since 2005.

“There was a valid arrest request and we knew when he was coming,” ministry spokesman Guido Balmer told The Associated Press. “That’s why he was taken into custody.”

Polanski is wanted because he fled the U.S. in 1978 after pleading guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl, although he was originally charged with rape, sodomy, child molestation and giving drugs to a minor. As Patterico noted earlier this year, Bill Wyman wrote the definitive fisking of Roman Polanski apologists here.

UPDATE BY PATTERICO: I suppose we’re in for a lot of handwringing about poor Mr. Polanski, along these lines:

In Paris, Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand said he was “dumbfounded” by Polanski’s arrest, adding that he “strongly regrets that a new ordeal is being inflicted on someone who has already experienced so many of them.

Those comments referred to the fact that Polanski, a native of France who was taken to Poland by his parents, escaped Krakow’s Jewish ghetto as a child and lived off the charity of strangers. His mother died at the Auschwitz Nazi death camp.

As Bill Wyman said in the piece linked by DRJ:

Polanski has had a wrenching life, of course, but it is overplayed in “Wanted and Desired” [a documentary about the case]. I think it’s true to say that there are many people who survived the Holocaust who don’t drug and rape children, for example.

Will media accounts point out that Polanski was treated differently because of his wealth and fame? He got a lenient plea deal largely because the prosecution was worried about the girl’s willingness to testify in the face of international publicity surrounding a trial in which Polanski’s team planned to paint her as a 13-year-old harlot — an example of fame stacking the deck. And that victim now supports dismissal of the case . . . now that she has settled a civil suit with him for an undisclosed amount — an example of wealth stacking the deck.

I suspect that we won’t see much mention of any of those facts.

UPDATE x2 BY PATTERICO: I think from now on, for the benefit of people who aren’t aware of it, I will have to include the following passage from the victim’s grand jury testimony in my posts about Polanski. It gets pretty rough since it’s a 13-year-old girl talking about the details of Roman Polanski forcibly having anal sex with her and ejaculating in her anus, so if that’s a bit much for you, back out now:

A. Then he lifted up my legs and went in through my anus.

Q. What do you mean by that?

A. He put his penis in my butt.

. . . .

Q. Do you know whether he had a climax?

A. Yes.

Q. And how do you know that?

A. Because I could kind of feel it and it was in my underwear. It was in my underwear. It was on my butt and stuff.

Q. When you say that, you believe that he climaxed in your anus?

A. Yes.

Q. What does climax mean?

A. That his semen came out.

Q. Do you know what semen is?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you see some semen or feel some semen?

A. I felt it.

Q. Where did you feel it?

A. I felt it on the back of my behind and in my underwear when I put them on.

Yes, by all means, shed a tear — but not for Roman Polanski. For the 13-year-old girl.

Standard disclaimer here.

1/9/2009

Nice Fisking of a New York Times Piece About Poor Roman Polanski

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:39 pm

It’s a nice job by Bill Wyman.

6/10/2008

Tom Shales Owes a Correction on Roman Polanski

Filed under: Crime,General — Patterico @ 12:13 am

Washington Post columnist Tom Shales:

Polanski, diminutive director of “Chinatown,” “Rosemary’s Baby” and other creepy classics, did indeed have sexual intercourse with Samantha Gailey, who was 13 at the time, back in 1977. He was never charged with rape but with “unlawful intercourse.”

Really?

Take a look at Count IV of Polanski’s indictment:

polanski-indictment.JPG

A contemporary BBC article confirms:

Polanski is facing four charges including rape, sodomy, child molestation and giving drugs to a minor.

He was accused of giving a 13-year-old girl several glasses of champagne and part of a Quaalude, and then raping her. Time Magazine explains: “the drug is often used by professional pornographers to tranquilize young subjects.”

I think Shales means Polanski entered a plea to unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor. But don’t try to tell us he was “never charged with rape.”

Well, this is a nice opportunity to become acquainted with another ombudsman for a major newspaper.

Thanks to Rob I.

DIGRESSION THAT IS NOT REALLY A DIGRESSION: Maybe Shales is just practicing the Orwellian revisionism of judges who bar the word “rape” at rape trials. Imagine being told that you have to describe your rape as mere sexual intercourse. It’s like the state telling you that you really wanted it after all.

12/6/2010

Polanski Phones It In (Update: New Swiss Deportation Law)

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 7:22 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

Lots of interesting bits on this article about Polanski winning an award given out by a bunch of people I never heard of before, don’t care much about.  But in case you do care:

Roman Polanski’s “The Ghost Writer,” a story of a journalist hired to write the memoirs of a British prime minister, has won the prize for best film at the European Film Awards.

But it seems he doesn’t totally feel safe picking up his award in person:

“You have awarded a truly European venture. This is too much … thank you very much,” Polanski said in an acceptance speech through a Skype connection from an unknown location. “I wish to thank—before anything—this wonderful crew I had, a truly European crew.”

(Emphasis added.)  And then as usual, the AP mangles the facts:

As he was finishing the movie in September 2009 Polanski was taken into custody at Zurich airport by Swiss police at the request of U.S. authorities to face prosecution in a 1977 child sex case. He had to finish editing the film while in Swiss prison before being released on house arrest.

In July, Polanski was freed after the Swiss government declined to deport him to the United States. But he still faces an Interpol warrant in 188 countries. Most European nations, including Estonia, have an extradition treaty with the United States.

To “face prosecution”?  No, to face sentencing.  Now he might also be prosecuted for fleeing the jurisdiction, but not for raping a child.

And would it kill them to call the crime “raping a child?”

Meanwhile, Ewan McGregor has the unintentionally funny line in the piece (emphasis added):

McGregor, who played the ghostwriter, said he had a “fantastic time” while making the film.

“More than any other part I’ve played I feel like the director Roman Polanski had his hands really on my performance and is as worthy of this award as I am,” McGregor told the audience through a video message from Thailand, where he is currently shooting a film.

Kids, do not let Roman touch your performance.  And he tries to, run and tell an adult (but not Ewan McGregor).

Update: Hat tip to SPQR in the comments who pointed me in the direction of this story:

Swiss Right Wins Vote on Deportation of Criminals

GENEVA — After heated debate and a campaign utilizing controversial “black sheep” posters, Switzerland’s far-right party won voters’ support in a referendum Sunday that calls for the automatic deportation of foreigners who are convicted of serious crimes….

Final results of the poll showed that 52.9 percent of voters and a majority of Switzerland’s cantons supported the rightist Swiss People’s Party initiative calling for the expulsion of foreigners convicted of crimes ranging from murder and rape to drug dealing and social security fraud.

Legal experts have warned that automatic deportation could violate a 1999 agreement between Switzerland and the European Union that provides for freedom of movement in the Continent. The government also expressed concern that the measure would breach Switzerland’s obligation not to return people to countries that practice torture.

But those arguments evidently made little impression on voters uneasy over a large immigrant population.

A counter-proposal by the government and center-right parties opposed to the People’s Party initiative that was also put to the vote in the referendum failed to garner a majority in any of the cantons and won support from only 46 percent of voters. The counter-proposal also would have toughened provisions for deporting foreigners, but it would have allowed a judge to review each case.

There is no mention in the New York Times article about whether the Polanski situation inspired this law, or what the proposal actually is.  For the second part, you have to go to, of all things, the Amnesty International website which explains that:

If the results of the referendum known as the ’Deportation Initiative’ are implemented, the Swiss constitution would be amended to permit the “automatic” and immediate deportation of non-citizens convicted for certain criminal offences to their countries of origin.

So if they are characterizing this correctly, this allows for automatic deportation—which AA and a few other sources understand to mean without any judicial review.  Depending on how it is written, it might mean merely that they have no business exercising mercy, but they can make sure that the person is actually convicted, etc. of the relevant crimes.  And if it only allows for such deportations, then this doesn’t mean that the legislature has to put that into effect.  I mean, Congress is allowed to pass an income tax under the constitution, but that doesn’t mean it has to.

They even show you what the hell that “black sheep” ad was and it is pretty hard to defend:

And while cases like the Polanski case makes me sympathize with this law’s impulse, it is still wrong.  For instance, if a man said something critical of Switerland, could that country get him expelled from China by convicting him of trumped up charges?  At the very least, if I was in Switzerland, I would advocate that the automatic expulsion only apply when the convictions are in certain countries that practice a modicum of due process.  Switzerland can rationally say the United States of America is not the same as China.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

7/28/2010

Yet Another Woman Accuses Polanski of Rape

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:37 am

I have been dilatory in passing this along:

Another woman has come forward charging that Roman Polanski raped her in 1974, RadarOnline.com has exclusively learned.

The woman, who was 21 at the time, reported the alleged sexual assault to the Los Angeles District Attorney in May and was interviewed by authorities.

Edith Michelle Vogelhut, a former model also known as Shelli Paul, told authorities Polanski “handcuffed” her at actor Jack Nicholson’s Hollywood house where he was staying, then sodomized her repeatedly, before he passed out, RadarOnline.com has learned exclusively.

Recall that Charlotte Lewis made a similar accusation some time back.

Well done, Swiss authorities. It’s a fine artiste you protected with your transparently ridiculous decision not to extradite. Well done indeed.

7/12/2010

Swiss Deny Polanski Extradition Request; Director Is a Free Man

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:07 am

I have told people privately for some time that this would happen. But I didn’t think the reasoning would be this transparently ridiculous:

The justice ministry of Switzerland said on Monday that it had denied a request to extradite the director Roman Polanski to the United States, where he has been a fugitive since 1978 after pleading guilty to having sex with a 13-year-old girl, and that he was no longer under house arrest.

In rejecting the extradition request from the United States, the Swiss ministry cited two factors: first, the Swiss said, the U.S. had failed to provide the records of a January hearing in Los Angeles County Superior Court that would have shown the judge in charge of the Polanski case in 1977 agreed that “the 42 days of detention spent by Roman Polanski in the psychiatric unit of a Californian prison represented the whole term of imprisonment he was condemned to.”

Second, the Swiss said, when Mr. Polanski traveled in September 2009 to the Zurich Film Festival where he was arrested as he arrived at the airport, he did so in “good faith” that “the journey would not entail any legal disadvantages for him.” The Swiss justice ministry noted that Mr. Polanski had been staying regularly in Switzerland since 2006, and though “he was registered in the Swiss registry of wanted persons, he was never controlled by the Swiss authorities.”

The judge never agreed that 42 days would be his entire sentence. At most, he said that 48 additional days (on top of the original 42) would be the full sentence — if Polanski agreed to certain illegal conditions that he never agreed to.

As for his good faith belief he would not be arrested: so what?

He plied a 13 year-old with drugs and anally raped her, and was confined to a Swiss chalet.

Travesty.

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