Patterico's Pontifications

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.

5/20/2010

Polanski Accuser’s Evidence

Filed under: Crime — DRJ @ 11:28 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

John Nolte at BigGovernment thinks the latest Polanski rape accuser has corroborating evidence — a witness who may verify she made a contemporaneous outcry:

“When British actress Charlotte Lewis first came forward to accuse fugitive director Roman Polanski of abusing her in 1983 at a press conference last week, one of the more intriguing statements was made by her attorney Gloria Allred:

“[Ms. Lewis] did present fresh complaint evidence to law enforcement, and it is in their possession.”

The Polanski-loving media didn’t mention this. They prefer a ”He Said, She Said” argument. Upon hearing this, however, my first thought was that a witness would be interesting, though obviously unlikely.

This is me speculating, but in a just-released statement Ms. Lewis might have revealed what that fresh complaint evidence is. And while it’s not a witness to the crime, it is the next best thing:

I stand by my statements to the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, and would welcome the chance to confront Roman Polanski face to face anytime, anywhere in the world because I am telling the truth and he knows it,” Ms Lewis said.

Further, shortly after the incident with Mr Polanski when I was 16 I told a friend the truth about how Mr Polanski had taken advantage of me.

“My attorney, Gloria Allred, delivered a notarised statement to law enforcement from that friend and it supports my statement.”

According to Ms. Lewis, under penalty of perjury, someone has made a sworn statement that Ms. Lewis told them Polanski took advantage of her — and told them shortly after the incident.”

Does California consider the testimony of a rape outcry witness as an exception to the hearsay code? My guess is that it does.

— DRJ

5/14/2010

Woman: Polanski Forced Himself on Me When I Was a Teenager

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:03 pm

Knock me over with a feather:

A British woman came forward Friday alleging sexual assault against director Roman Polanski, who is currently under house arrest in Switzerland for the sexual assault of a 13-year-old girl in 1977.

In a press conference at her attorney Gloria Allred’s Los Angeles office, Charlotte Lewis, an actress who appeared in Polanski’s 1986 film “Pirates,” alleged that Polanski sexually abused her in the “worst way possible” when she was 16 years old. Lewis claims the attack took place in Paris in 1982, four years after he fled the U.S. to escape sentencing for the sexual assault of 13-year-old Samantha Geimer.

According to Lewis, now 42, Polanski was aware that she was 16 at the time when he “forced himself” on her in his apartment. The legal age of consent in France is 15.

“He took advantage of me,” Lewis said. “What I want is justice.”

Shocking, huh? Not to Patterico readers, it’s not.

Loyal readers will recall that, back in September of 2009, I asked a simple question:

Roman Polanski’s defenders continually emphasize one thing: that despite raping a child in Los Angeles, he has never done anything like that since.

I have a simple question: how do we know that?

The next day, quoting his statement that “everyone wants to fuck young girls,” I said:

And you Polanski defenders think he didn’t do this to anyone else, huh?

I think you’re wrong.

A couple of days later I said:

The girl he raped in L.A. is not the only underage girl he had sex with. And I feel certain that she is not the only underage girl he raped, either.

Always trust content from Patterico.

UPDATE: Will this revelation change the minds of the directors who recently signed a petition advocating Polanski’s exoneration? Don’t be an idiot. To them, the auteur is above silly things like laws against sodomizing 13-year-old girls; why would another forced encounter with an underaged girl change these moral midgets’ minds?

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.

1/31/2010

Swiss Official: Polanski Could Be in His Chalet for a Year

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:19 pm

Roman Polanski could be in his Gstaad chalet for a year:

Film director Roman Polanski could spend up to a year in courts appealing if Switzerland decided to extradite him to the United States, the Swiss justice minister was quoted as saying on Sunday.

. . . .

“After an extradition decision by the Swiss justice ministry, Mr. Polanski has the possibility of appealing to the Federal Criminal Court and then the Federal Supreme Court,” Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf told the newspaper Le Matin Dimanche.

“It’s hard to say how long (an appeal) would take, but it could be from several months to a year.”

The evident goal here is for him to collect so much time “served” at his chalet that, when that time is credited against any possible prison sentence he might receive, Polanski wouldn’t have to spend any time at all in a California prison. I won’t express any opinion as to whether he would be entitled to have his time at the chalet credited against any prison sentence. But if he were entitled to such credit, and if it takes a year for all the appeals to be resolved, that could eat up most or all of the actual time he would have to serve — given he reportedly faces a maximum sentence of two years, minus any credits he would already be entitled to from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Lovely.

Disclaimer.

P.S. The story repeats the canard that there was an “agreement” that he serve only 42 more days:

He has said he feared the judge was going to renege on an agreement to sentence him to the 42 days he had already served behind bars.

An “agreement” implies a quid pro quo. And as I have explained countless times, there was no “agreement” because Polanski pled to a charge that he knew carried at least 20 years, with no agreement as to what the sentence would be.

Good luck trying to get a correction . . .

1/22/2010

Judge: Polanski Must Be Present for His Sentence

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:21 pm

Absent a successful appeal, Roman Polanski will not be sentenced in absentia.

A judge has rejected director Roman Polanski’s bid to be sentenced in absentia in a three-decade-old child-sex case.

Judge Peter Espinoza ruled that Polanski, 76, will have to come back Los Angeles to be sentenced.

“I have made it clear he needs to surrender,” the judge said.

Polanski’s attorneys said they would appeal.

The court also rejected an appeal by the victim:

Lawrence Silver, who represents Ms. Geimer, admonished the judge that officers of the court were obligated by a new victims’ rights provision in the California Constitution to honor her request for an examination of official corruption in the case. The judge said he did not “believe anyone anticipated” the victims’ rights provision, called Marcy’s Law, would be used in support of a defendant like Mr. Polanski, and turned down the request.

Disclaimer.

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.

12/21/2009

California Court Denies Polanski Appeal (Updated x2)

Filed under: Crime — DRJ @ 4:04 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

A California appeals court upheld a trial court decision and denied Roman Polanski’s appeal asking that his child sex case be dismissed for prosecutorial and judicial misconduct:

“In a unanimous decision, a three-judge panel of the Court of Appeal 2nd District said a lower court judge did not err a year ago when he ruled that the acclaimed director, then a fugitive in France, had to surrender to U.S. authorities before pursuing the misconduct claims.

Lawyers for Polanski, now under house arrest in Switzerland pending possible extradition to Los Angeles, had argued earlier this month that the “fugitive disentitlement doctrine” cited by Superior Court Judge Peter Espinoza did not apply to the filmmaker because of the egregiousness of the misconduct alleged. But in a decision today, the justices disagreed.”

The appeals court recognized the seriousness of Polanski’s misconduct claims and urged the parties to address them. In light of this ruling, the only way Polanski can raise a claim of misconduct is by coming back to LA, willingly or unwillingly.

— DRJ

UPDATE: In the comments, Beldar provides a link to the court’s opinion. Don’t miss Beldar’s analysis in this comment and also in this one. My thanks to Beldar for the link and the analysis.

UPDATE 2: Polanski is completing work on a movie while under house arrest.

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