More Polanski

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From the HuffPo (incredibly enough):

The Washington City Paper‘s Amanda Hess does a fine job in running down and refuting many of the extant arguments that carry a brief for Polanski. There’s the L.A. Times Patrick Goldstein’s “Polanski’s punishment is that he doesn’t get the same privileges of all the other members of the Director’s Guild who haven’t committed crimes” defense. There’s the “Wouldn’t incarcerating Polanski be exactly like Auschwitz?” argument. There’s HuffPost blogger Kim Morgan’s creative convolution, which asserts, “Roman Polanski really understands women when he’s not drugging and buggering them,” and her fellow HuffPost blogger Joan Shore’s “Her mother offered up her thirteen-year old for the taking” defense, a premise that belongs in one of Saudi Arabia’s finer legal journals.

For idiocy completists, you should check out the apologias from Harvey Weinstein and Woody Allen, as well. But I’ll add to this pile of sidesteppery the arguments offered by The Nation‘s Katrina vanden Heuvel, who really has done her publication a ton of good today by taking to Twitter to say: “Very Rarely agree with Anne Applebaum [who wrote a defense of Polanski in the Washington Post without disclosing a major bias conflict], but do in Polanski case,” and then following up with, “Watch “Roman Polanski: Wanted And Desired”–doc made last year. Detailed claims of prosecutorial wrongdoing at time of RP’s original arrest,” and “I am a feminist, declared and proud, but also hate prosecutorial misconduct. How to reconcile? Don’t call me apologist for Polanski.”

Prosecutorial misconduct: It’s uhm…bad, mmm’kay? It’s especially bad when it happens to anonymous defendants who slip through the criminal justice system, who cannot afford to mount the best appeals, and whose fates go largely unnoticed by the media. It should be fought. But Polanski had all sorts of resources at his disposal to fight it: he had wealth, he had friends, he had access to fine legal representation… why, I am reliably informed by Katrina vanden Heuvel that they even made a movie about the prosecutorial misconduct in his case. Polanski had the opportunity to expose prosecutorial misconduct — and who knows whether that misconduct didn’t extend to other defendants? But he didn’t fight it. Instead, he fled, taking that fight with him.

Why did he do that? I’m guessing it’s because he drugged and raped a thirteen year old girl.

But don’t call vanden Heuvel a “Polanski apologist.” He’s just totally helping to raise awareness of rampant prosecutorial misconduct! Forget it, Jake, it’s crazy town!

See also Shakesville, if you haven’t already, here, here, here, and especially here.

–Ann Bartow

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One Response to More Polanski

  1. pj says:

    To Note: In my Constitutional Law II class this afternoon, I was asked to discuss a case involving statutory rape and gender discrimination. My Professor asked me what I would think of a case involving a 32 year old male having sex with a 14 year old female (as in, why is this different than a 16 year old male having sex with a 14 year old female). I couldn’t help but to say that the scenario brought to mind the Polanski issue in high debate.

    In response the class reacted with seeming knowledge of the issue. My professor cut off the class murmuring and my comment, wonderfully, stating that the Polanski case is not one up for question as drugging and raping a minor is the classic clear cut case of statutory rape. He made no apologies for Polanski, he simply moved on with the theoretical scenario. He seemed upset, not at me, but evidently at the notion of debate revolving around the issue.

    Its just interesting to me that my very respected teacher, who has been teaching con law for over 30 years and loves to say controversial things to get us thinking, seemed disgusted at the notion that there is even a debate on this subject. Just thought it was interesting. I know most of the debate rests on his being “railroaded” and if he already “served his time” (as if living like a rock star in France, dragging on a case and so a victims trauma was SO hard for him) but I have also seen pseudo-legalized postings rationalizing letting him off the hook. So to see a very very liberal, male Con Law prof seemingly offended by this debate was heartening to me.

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