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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

More Polanski…

The Key Pro-Polanski Rationalizations
1. He was going to be sentenced unfairly… so fleeing was okay.
2. It’s been so long, why is this still be pursued?
3. He shouldn’t have pleased guilty… so he should not be held accountable for having done so
4. He is a great artist and though we don’t want to say this out loud, he should be above these petty laws.
5. The girl and her mother have some responsibility in the matter.
6. The girl has forgiven him, so the law should too.
7. The butchering of his wife and child, as well as his history of escaping The Jewish Holocaust must have changed his sense of right and wrong… the man needed love and help and not punishment.
Answers To The Key Pro-Polanski Rationalizations
1. This is what appellate courts are for.
2. This is what Statutes of Limitations address… and Polanski took the time issue off the table by fleeing the country. In addition, he has repeatedly chosen not to face the charges in the United States, even though there have been clear indications of the case leaning in his favor now.
3. The failure of Polanski and his attorneys to choose a jury trial over a plea is their own, not even the terrible judge in the original case… and certainly not the judicial system as a whole.
4. He is a great artist… but you have to be kidding. Some very intelligent and well-intended people are, amongst the ivory tower arrogant fools, supporting this man. Where were they when OJ – one of the greatest athletes in history – was on trial? Ya… they decided he was guilty before any evidence was offered in court and didn’t want him to have a fair trial either… they just wanted him put in the electric chair… because artists and intellectuals should be more influential on criminal law than the courts or lawyers or the facts.
5. As in, “she was asking for it?”
6. “The Girl” also got a cash settlement from Polanski years ago. And how many rape victims don’t want to move on with their lives? Do people realize how many women – of age and underage – never report their rapes to the authorities… how many never tell the people in their lives that are closest to them?
7. Tell it to the judge. They are called extenuating circumstances. And if the sentencing judge was acting illegally, tell it to the judge who overturns him. You don’t get a free pass because you have suffered.
Sorry… I do think there are complex moral issues in play here. I do think that on a purely emotional level, there is some importance to Ms Geimer’s public forgiveness and to the length of time since the events and the attitude of many Europeans about the reasonable age of consent, etc, etc.
But I also believe in The Law as our best chance of structuring civil intercourse in this country. And I believe that no one is above The Law, including President Bush, Dick Cheney, and Roman Polanski.
I am pleased that amnesty was given to draft dodgers after Vietnam. It was morally righteous – in my opinion, though many people who served and who family members died serving might still disagree – and it was legal.
I believe that marijuana laws should be changed to reflect the realities of American use of the drug, that gun laws should be changed to reflect the realities of American use of guns, the marriage as a legal issue should not be allowed to be discriminatory under the Constitution, that abortion rights should be sacrosanct within limits that reflect medical consensus, etc.
If you want to change the law, change it. But breaking it is breaking it. Murdering Bush & Cheney on the day they were elected might have, quite literally, saved scores of thousands of lives, both American and Iraqi. But sorry… not acceptable.
There can be a debate between reasonable, well-intended people about what the statutory rape of a child by a grown man 30 years ago means today. I don’t think everyone who argues sympathy for Polanski is insane, stupid, or morally bankrupt.
But the idea that this is an extra-legal moral conundrum is the worst kind of moral relativism we on the left have engaged in here in America… which started back with Clinton lying under oath and then rationalizing that it was okay because it was sex – we can have the discussion over how consensual the blow-job of an employee half your age really is some other time – and because it was “personal.”
Why you commit perjury can be and generally is considered when it comes to the punishment for your illegal actions. it is completely reasonable to argue that the punishment of impeachment is excessive… even absurd. But the perjury is no less illegal because it was about a blowjob. Sorry.
Fleeing the country because you don’t anticipate the deal you thought you made for sentencing over the illegal act that you pleaded guilty about is not going to go the way you expected or like doesn’t become legal because the judge was trying to screw you over.
Where is the outrage of so many of these same people over men who have been sitting on death row for decades based on perjured testimony, judges who didn’t let in relevant testimony, or simply biased juries… even before we get to DNA issues?
He’s guilty… he admits he’s guilty… he ran… but we like him… so it’s okay.
Epic Fail.
If you want to make the argument, make a real argument.
I haven’t heard one yet.
P.S. I feel bad for the film festival that invited him and may feel responsible for the arrest… they get a moral pass from me for saying truly stupid things in response… they are being reactive… and that happens.

36 Responses to “More Polanski…”

  1. Don Murphy says:

    [b]Fleeing the country because you don’t anticipate the deal you thought you made for sentencing over the illegal act that you pleaded guilty about is not going to go the way you expected or like doesn’t become legal because the judge was trying to screw you over.[/b]
    Actually yes it does. If the judge is no longer following the law, you’re a fucking idiot for staying around and playing a rigged game. Especially as in this case where you are a citizen of a country that will protect you from judicial excess.

  2. leahnz says:

    “There can be a debate between reasonable, well-intended people about what the statutory rape of a child by a grown man 30 years ago means today”
    just one thing, because i’ve had a gutful of this wretchedness:
    from what i’ve read, there seems to be a common misconception that polanski was charged with what amounts to statutory rape. this is not correct. he was originally charged with rape, then plead down after being offered a plea bargain deal by the DA, for which he plead guilty to statutory rape, thus requiring no trial.
    if the case had gone to trial and he hadn’t taken the plea bargain deal, it would have likely been for the original charge of rape, NOT statutory rape. the only reason the case is now referred to as one of statutory rape is because that is what polanski plead guilty to after being offered a deal. this does make a difference.
    (if i have misinterpreted what i’ve read of the case, i’m happy for someone who actually knows what they are talking about — not just someone who’s seen ‘wanted and desired’ which is rife with subjectivity and legal inaccuracies — to set me straight on the details)

  3. Don Murphy says:

    He pled guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse

  4. David Poland says:

    Actually, Don, no it doesn’t. And you seem to know that.
    It may make it understandable, which is the argument you seem to be making. But it is not legal. And it doesn’t become legal until it is addressed in a US court.
    Add to that, the judge, however wrong, was sentencing within legal guidelines. What he broke was a deal, not the law. And he should have honored what he agreed to. But he was still following the law. That is why Polanski ran.
    I agree that according to the facts offered in the doc, the judge was 100% asshole and dead wrong in most of his choices. But just because he was bad doesn’t make the whole system “rigged.”
    Tommy Chong going to jail for selling bongs in insane… but it’s not illegal. Nothing Polanski faced was beyond the law.
    Criminals don’t get to determine what is legal for themselves in this country. By that standard, Polanski shouldn’t even have been indicted. Are you going to make that argument too?

  5. Don Murphy says:

    According to the victim it sounds like she would have preferred that.

  6. qwiggles says:

    Well said, David.
    Nothing beats Sasha Stone et al over at Awards Daily for chilling reasoning on this issue. Ex.:
    “Matt, you want to hold to those hard and fast rules

  7. Joe Leydon says:

    Just curious: What would happen if Polanski’s brought back, and the girl/woman in the case flat-out refuses to testify? Or would she need to testify at this point?

  8. Blackcloud says:

    Portions of the left have been excusing Stalin and Mao for decades. Why wouldn’t they excuse Polanski? After all what’s raping a child compared to killing millions of people?
    The best case for the prosecution. And as David says, so far, there isn’t one for the defense.
    http://www.salon.com/mwt/broadsheet/feature/2009/09/28/polanski_arrest/

  9. Mr. Muckle says:

    It’s probably some kind of an ethnic thing to be that obsessed with “the law,” DP. But sanity trumps legality any day in my book. The crude hammer of the law, as grotesquely manipulated as it is, will never be sufficient to create a just society, but sanity could do it. I myself left the country during the insane episode of Vietnam. That was illegal in the view of one government, and perfectly legal in the view of another. Frankly, I wish I had never come back, given that the U.S. and its legalities are as insane and corrupt as ever. In my opinion, anyone who views “the law” with so much reverence is simply not very bright, and not very much in touch with reality.

  10. Lota says:

    I can’t believe that any person would think a 13 year old has any responsibility compared to a middle-aged person–that’s why they are referred to as a “minor child” at that age regardless if they are sexually active or not.
    The victims wishes are immaterial if there was a crime committed acc to the Law–it is the State vs. the perpetrator–it is Polanski vs. the state not vs. his victim.

  11. The Big Perm says:

    “Ethnic?” Is DP black now? What are you talking about Muckle? Do you find laws unjust that seek to put child buggerers in jail? Who would you choose to prosecute, and why? Obviously you’re a hippie so you’d let pot smokers go, I’m down with that too.

  12. 100% in agreement with you here.

  13. I generally think this article (link below) says it all.
    http://www.salon.com/mwt/broadsheet/feature/2009/09/28/polanski_arrest/index.html
    “The reporting on Polanski’s arrest has been every bit as “bizarrely skewed,” if not more so. Roman Polanski may be a great director, an old man, a husband, a father, a friend to many powerful people, and even the target of some questionable legal shenanigans. He may very well be no threat to society at this point. He may even be a good person on balance, whatever that means. But none of that changes the basic, undisputed fact: Roman Polanski raped a child. And rushing past that point to focus on the reasons why we should forgive him, pity him, respect him, admire him, support him, whatever, is absolutely twisted.”
    Imagine if he was someone much less talented than him (or, hell, not even a celebrity at all just a man who the law finally caught up with) and I imagine this conversation wouldn’t be happening.

  14. And to those who say he didn’t have good enough legal representation and that if he did the judge would have been dismissed…? well, he’s a big famous movie director. He had the money to afford one! And if he has the money now to live in a chalet in France or whatever then he has enough to hire a lawyer to craft a decent appeal and defense.

  15. berg says:

    what about other celebs that walked … Anthony Perkins got poped for lsd at Heathriow … Paul Mc C got busted for pot in Japan, you dont get busted for pot in Japn, even the Yakusa dont get busted for pot in Japan, you dont walk … they walked … there is a double standard

  16. LYT says:

    doing drugs and doing a kid are not remotely the same.

  17. York "Budd" Durden says:

    6. “The Girl” also got a cash settlement from Polanski years ago.
    End of story.

  18. Kambei says:

    McCartney didn’t walk. He was jailed (albeit for a week or two).

  19. Plenty of celebrities have been caught and got off (or got off lightly), but Polanski admitted to the crime of having sex with a minor. A minor who has said she said no and asked him to stop. If you think getting caught with pot is on the same level as being found guilty of having sex with a 13-year-old and then skipping the country for 30 years then I’m afraid you’re delusional.
    Besides, what makes you think that the people who are calling for Polanski to face the music weren’t also against those celebrities you listed being penalised for their crime?

  20. The Big Perm says:

    Ha ha, pot = sex with 13 year old. Nice one, berg!

  21. Wrecktum says:

    I can’t make up my mind what I’m going to do tonight. Should I smoke a bowl or bugger a 12 year old boy? berg, please help me make my decision.

  22. Kelby says:

    Hi! I am in finishing film school here at ucla, do I have to wait to graduate before raping 13 years old or can I start before? The question would be more exactly: when exactly can I start to claim to be a Director. Is to make a student film ok? Do it need to win an award, to be on the IMDB, to be aired on tv? Or am I only a director when I start getting paid for it? Thanks for help! I just want to be sure I can have a free pass before raping anybody.

  23. Joe Leydon says:

    Kelby: Just don’t make a movie as bad as Pirates or Bitter Moon. Otherwise, you’re just asking for trouble.

  24. christian says:

    Well Kelby, if you’re an Art God (copyright Jeff Wells), thou shalt do what you will with the whole of the law.

  25. jeffmcm says:

    Kelby, it sounds like you’re starting on the right track by not having a firm grasp of English.

  26. David Poland says:

    Mr. Muckle – Putting aside what seems to be an unfortunate, probably-unintentionally racist aside about my religion, The Law is often as ass. But it is the national standard, working under checks and balances, in the pursuit of an operating standard for a society.
    Lovely as it would be for you or for me to operate exclusively on the basis of our personal idea of “sanity,” give me a call when you can find someone whose idea of “sanity” matches yours with any precision.
    Now, don’t misunderstand me… I hold moral standards in a similarly idealistic way. But I rarely find that people really want to live up to what they claim to be their moral standards in a consistent way. This Polanski situation is a classic example.
    Someone asked whether anyone would care about arresting Polanski all these years later, given the victim’s disinterest in pursuing this, if he was “a nobody.” Obviously, the answer – short a Dateline segment – is “no.” But the flip side of that is that if this was Nicholson’s 38-year-old pool guy who got a 14-year-old stoned and sodomized her in 1978, he would have gotten out of jail around the same time Polanski was winning the Oscar. (Note: I do not object to The Academy awarding him for his work. It is not meant to be a popularity contest but a referendum on work. A lifetime achievement award for Polanski from The Academy would be unacceptable.)
    In any case… your poor guess at the evolution and lack of complexity in my idea of The Law is indicative of how wrong-headed your notion on this is. I don’t think you are a bad person for it and in the end, what you were doing was expressing your own opinion more than commenting on mine, but you assume a lot more than you know… and you do it with such ease.
    I don’t think it’s probably appropriate for me to lay out my family’s history with The Law to you here and now, but let me just say, my parents suffered much more heinous failures of The Law than the Polanski case. Multiple deaths leading to short time in juvie for the late-teens perps. This resulted in one parent who hates the law and lawyers and another who still had enough respect for The Law that wanted he me to go to law school.
    I have lived through the damage to and survival of people who were not well served by The Law. And over decades of daily consideration of it, I still believe – with all of its failures – in the system that exists in this country.
    I don’t know any more about what you feel than what you wrote, Muckle, but I find that most of the Polanski sympathizers don’t spend much time considering the fact of what he did. The same was true of Clinton and perjury. The same is true of rationalizations that Obama created the current economic hole and not 8 years of Bush and 8 years of similar policy from Clinton and 12 years of Reagan/Bush before that. That is where The Sanity Code gets us.
    There is A LOT wrong with this country. People intuitively understand that. It put a black man in the presidency. And it is likely that whoever is next – hopefully not for 7 years – they will also preach change, as whatever Obama does will not be enough to “fix” all of our ills… and with a nod to the right, maybe he doesn’t even want to fix them all.
    But seriously, man, I don’t have the right to drive my car on the streets of Los Angeles without insurance or without paying all of my parking tickets before my registration is renewed. If I drove an unregistered car around for a couple of years, much less 30, I would surely end up in short-term jail, explaining to the judge how I was going to correct this before I was allowed to drive again in Los Angeles. I don’t get to just decide that the registration fees are too high and I don’t need insurance and a quarter for 15 minutes of street parking is unjust and get away with it forever. Should I be able to decide for myself and get away with having sex with a 14-year-old after giving her a quaalude and her saying “no” without ever facing the law of the nation I was in? Should I be any more free to do so because in some nations, they would stone the woman to death for enticing me (even if her enticement was really my rape)?
    I am all good with you and I and everyone having big philosophical debate about The Law vs Sanity. But your blithe dismissal of The Law and those of us who believe that it has great importance as a standard in your comment suggests to me that you haven’t seriously considered the alternative… not smart… not in touch with reality. I do think you probably are talking about blind faith in the law… but no one else here is.

  27. Crow T Robot says:

    This whole thing reminds me of the ending of “Gone Baby Gone.”
    Polanski is the little girl.
    The L.A.P.D. is Amy Ryan
    Europe is Morgan Freeman.
    Hollywood is Michelle Monaghan.
    And Dave Poland is Casey Affleck.

  28. jennab says:

    Dave, you are so right on on this! Polanski DRUGGED and forcibly RAPED…orally, vaginally, anally…a 13-year-old child and, btw, it would have been rape no matter her age. And, if I understand correctly, the charge was rape, the plea was statutory.
    Re: statute of limitations, it seems to me (and please correct me if I’m wrong) that the clock stopped when he fled. The case was brought to court within the statute, and everything went into limbo when he fled.
    As the excellent article on Salon stated, we pursue Polanski to serve JUSTICE, not just the victim.
    How can he face his children? “Daddy, did you really drug and forcibly rape a young girl?” Um, well, yes. I did. As a holocaust survivor, how can he not want to take responsibility for his heinous actions? How can he die with clear conscious?
    And F-you, Debra Winger, for pronouncing those of us who feel that a man should be accountable for drugging and forcibly raping a CHILD “Philistines.” WTF?

  29. leahnz says:

    “And, if I understand correctly, the charge was rape, the plea was statutory.”
    thanks jennnab, i’m glad someone finally chimed in on that. boo hoo, what if polanski had to face the actual crime he was charged with originally? he should thank his lucky stars he was allowed to plead down to ‘stat’ in the first place (i wonder if because he fled it all resets back to the original charge? where’s a lawyer when you need him/her?)

  30. leahnz says:

    and DP, she was 13, not 14. not that hard to get that right

  31. MDOC says:

    I’m with you DP. Why would France harbor a child rapist?

  32. christian says:

    Why do you think THE PROFESSIONAL is so beloved?

  33. IOIOIOI says:

    No Women. No Children. ?

  34. I’m not sure why Dave’s last entry ended up about Obama.
    I think it’s kinda disgraceful that all these filmmakers are coming out and supporting him.
    http://www.indiewire.com/article/2009/09/29/over_100_in_film_community_sign_polanski_petition/P1/
    I imagine they’ll be signing petitions for all men who have been found guilty of raping 13-year-olds then?

  35. bulldog68 says:

    Woody Allen signed this? Wow, what a surprise!

  36. christian says:

    Woody Allen didn’t rape anybody. Cheap shot.

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