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The comments underneath give a good idea of British sentiments as to how Polanski should be treated and although Ms Poirier claims to speak for France, I very much doubt that many French people would endorse her views.

I think that some polls showed that a majority of French people were in favor of extradition (well, I suspect that probably a majority of people have no opinion about it, so maybe it was only a majority of the people who replied...)

There is probably a discrepancy between some politicians and intellectuals who support Polanski, and the rest of the population, who basically pays little attention to it...

I'd say it's quite amusing to see that the conservative party UMP (the party of President Sarkozy) has expressed its support for Polanski, while in general it always asks for longer jail sentences, more severity for criminals, etc.

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There is an issue of flight, and under what charge the warrant and extradition request is made. Is it for statutory rape, or for flight?

An Appeals Court judge in the original jurisdiction has stated publicly that there were "irregularities" and "misconduct" involved in the original proceeding.

Because of changes in the effective laws in both the US and Switzerland, the issue of ex post facto enters in. I know virtually nothing of Swiss law, but it strikes me as an international doctrine that one cannot be prosecuted under a law which was not in effect at the time of the original act.

Polanski was convicted by plea of guilty and fled before sentencing. It is a fugitive warrant, based on his failure to appear when ordered. He may have valid arguments to attack the conviction or to avoid a further sentence, but the rule in the US is you don't get to make those arguments, or any others, while you are a fugitive. And he's been avoiding this case for a long long time, its not like he panicked and then tried to comply shortly thereafter. I don't believe the relevant US laws have changed so that he has a valid ex post facto argument.

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Polanski was convicted by plea of guilty and fled before sentencing. it is a fugitive warrant, based on his failure to appear when ordered. He may have valid arguments to attack the conviction or to avoid a further sentence, but the rule in the US is you don't get to make those arguments, or any others, while you are a fugitive. And he's been avoiding this case for a long long time, its not like he panicked and then tried to comply shortly thereafter. I don't believe the relevant US laws have changed so that he has a valid ex post facto argument.

It's my understanding also that the "fugitive" aspect is driving the current actions.

I have to say that what would this case look like if the person who committed the actions WASN'T wealthy and didn't have the financial resources to disappear

before sentencing. It sort of gives meaning to the term "flight risk", doesn't it?

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There is an issue of flight, and under what charge the warrant and extradition request is made. Is it for statutory rape, or for flight?

An Appeals Court judge in the original jurisdiction has stated publicly that there were "irregularities" and "misconduct" involved in the original proceeding.

Because of changes in the effective laws in both the US and Switzerland, the issue of ex post facto enters in. I know virtually nothing of Swiss law, but it strikes me as an international doctrine that one cannot be prosecuted under a law which was not in effect at the time of the original act.

Yeah, that's important. And Cristian pointed out the Atkins just died, which I hadn't known--she was always the creepiest of the Manson gang, at least going on what Bugliosi reported about what she said about the stabbing of Sharon Tate, really one of the most graphically horrible things I've ever heard (I hadn't even thought till this minute about Polanski and Tate.) I think I read the book in 2000, and this might not be related to 'not in effect at the time of the original act', but that also reminds me of why some of the Manson murderers are still imprisoned, and/or were till their deaths, instead of executed, isn't it? Wasn't it because during the time of the murders and/or trial(s), the death penalty was not in effect? and then bringing it back later still didn't affect crimes, sentences, and judgments retroactively? I know, not exactly the same, but related, just like double jeopardy, etc.

The "gifted artist" argument is a non-starter. But the argument that the original jurisdiction has been dilatory in its pursuit of a fugitive isn't bad! To claim that a convicted individual no longer has any rights before sentence is imposed is, at best, weak.

Yes.

The proper venue for a final determination in the case would be a court of law with appropriate jurisdiction. We can jaw it to death, but none of us has all the evidence before us, and while we have rights to opinions*, and the right to express those opinions, but we lack enforcement authority, except for our own conduct. Whether to greet Polanski cordially, should the occasion arise, or to cut him dead is within all our jurisdictions.

*opinion - rather like noses; everybody has at least one, and most of them smell.

THAT is good. Okay, I think you should claim the 'Bartlett's Familiar Quotation' now as your own, or give proper attribution so we don't get it mixed up when we use it. This post does sum up, though, the way opinions are based on emotion, which is valid to a degree, but law doesn't work only on them, and shouldn't. In this case, I'm not especially interested in it, which doesn't mean I think it's unimportant. Obviously, this is more serious than other cases we've 'jawed' about, such as cocaine in cars, and even in that one, our opinions (including mine) may well have smelled.

Okay, I googled, couldn't figure out who said it, unless it was George Burns. I suppose there are people with two noses, but that's not very nice to say, is it. :wink:

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I think you should claim the 'Bartlett's Familiar Quotation' now as your own, or give proper attribution so we don't get it mixed up when we use it. Okay, I googled, couldn't figure out who said it, unless it was George Burns. I suppose there are people with two noses, but that's not very nice to say, is it. :P

Actually, the "familiar" version of the quotation refers to a rather nethermore part of the anatomy, and the saying ends, "and most of them stink!" :o I just cleaned it up for a family discussion board. :innocent:

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The proper venue for a final determination in the case would be a court of law with appropriate jurisdiction. We can jaw it to death, but none of us has all the evidence before us, and while we have rights to opinions*,

In this case much of the relevant information is in the public domain. There is no such thing as a perfectly cut-and-dried case but there are plenty of known facts out there for intelligent discussion.

Thanks to sunday and others for posting more articles, and thanks to everyone who's posted so far!

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The "gifted artist" argument is a non-starter. But the argument that the original jurisdiction has been dilatory in its pursuit of a fugitive isn't bad! To claim that a convicted individual no longer has any rights before sentence is imposed is, at best, weak.

The It's-been-32-years argument cuts both ways, though, doesn't it? For 32 years he's been evading punishment for a brutal rape (Salon had the details yesterday) of a 13-year old girl. I don't know if he can be sentenced for evasion or not, but that's 32 years of ethical, if not legal, misconduct.

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However, for a meaningful resolution to the matter under discussion, proper authority is a sine qua non. We may attitudinize all we like about whatever matter, but beyond our own selves, we have little or no ability to make our decisions stick. Society seems to be making a hard turn into Egoism. The tendency today has moved toward mobocracy, where being the greatest boor receives the greatest attention, and the loudest shouter is esteemed the winner of any discussion. I don't know if any of us is a member of the bench of California or Switzerland, but I somehow suspect not. We may express our opinions of whatever topic, but nothing can be settled save the identification of our own concerns.

For the longest time, the term "democracy" was viewed with suspicion, as it carried with it the connotation of chaos and a lack of social order. Just because we have an opinion on the matter does not give us any especial right to be borne out in action by a competent authority. Laws and procedures have been constituted among humankind in order that justice be properly served and that society does not rip itself apart from its own passions.

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The "gifted artist" argument is a non-starter. But the argument that the original jurisdiction has been dilatory in its pursuit of a fugitive isn't bad! To claim that a convicted individual no longer has any rights before sentence is imposed is, at best, weak.

The It's-been-32-years argument cuts both ways, though, doesn't it? For 32 years he's been evading punishment for a brutal rape (Salon had the details yesterday) of a 13-year old girl. I don't know if he can be sentenced for evasion or not, but that's 32 years of ethical, if not legal, misconduct.

And I [am?] curious how happy the the US really is have this case thrown back into our laps.

I'd be curious too, Quiggin. Apparently Polanski's side has been driving recent events, as articles posted earlier suggest, by trying to get the case thrown out without Polanski having to show up, and it is possible to question the wisdom of poking the DA with a stick like that ("Hey! You're not chasing him hard enough! We think you're covering something up!") regardless of what you consider to be the merits of your argument.

The It's-been-32-years argument cuts both ways, though, doesn't it? For 32 years he's been evading punishment for a brutal rape (Salon had the details yesterday) of a 13-year old girl. I don't know if he can be sentenced for evasion or not, but that's 32 years of ethical, if not legal, misconduct.

It does cut both ways, potentially. There is an argument that as a rule fugitives should receive a harsher, not lesser, degree of punishment because in addition to the original offense they have flouted the law by taking off.

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The "gifted artist" argument is a non-starter. But the argument that the original jurisdiction has been dilatory in its pursuit of a fugitive isn't bad! To claim that a convicted individual no longer has any rights before sentence is imposed is, at best, weak.

The It's-been-32-years argument cuts both ways, though, doesn't it? For 32 years he's been evading punishment for a brutal rape (Salon had the details yesterday) of a 13-year old girl. I don't know if he can be sentenced for evasion or not, but that's 32 years of ethical, if not legal, misconduct.

it doesn't appear he's been charged with a bail jump or whatever the CA equivalent is. he just has to be sentenced on the original guilty plea (assuming he's extradited and loses any challenge to the original conviction). A court can consider in determining sentence both the fact that he skipped and the fact that he's led a law-abiding life for thirty years. He's not the first fugitive to be brought back after decades, although most of them try to work out a deal and come back on their own if they have the money and profile that Polanski does.

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For 32 years he's been evading punishment for a brutal rape (Salon had the details yesterday) of a 13-year old girl.

We really ought to try to use accurate words when discussing a sensitive issue like this.

Whether you accept it or not, Polanski was charged with "unlawful sexual intercourse".....not any other crime. You can't now use vigilanty tactics to charge him for crimes beyond those he was charged with. Furthermore, I don't see how any of us can determine if the word "brutal" is appropriate or not. I suppose we could agree that all rape is brutal, but if we take that tack, then we are left with no ability to make distinctions. For example, if I had had sex with a 17 year old girl when I was 18, technically, I could be charged with statutory rape even if all parties were consentual (not an unheard of event in the high schools of today or even in my day many decades ago). Should we then say that my actions necessarily would have been "brutal"? Not that most rapes aren't brutal, they probably are, but you can't use the word "brutal" in all cases automatically or the word would cease to have meaning in these situations.

I'm struck that as I read this thread I also happen to be attending several performances of Maillot's R&J at PNB. At the 2 performances I've seen so far, should I view the bedroom scene as the brutal rape of a 14 year old girl?? I didn't feel that way; and I suspect no one else in the audience felt that way either. If the word "brutal" ought always apply, it seems I would have no choice but to see the scene that way. It seems to me one would need to know a great deal about the actual situation to be able to make that determination. As I watch the ballet, and actually see the circumstances presented, the word "brutal" does not seem to apply.

P.S. Please don't think I am excusing Polanski's behavior or its seriousness (or excusing the brutality that men too often inflict on women around the world) because I don't. I just think we should refrain from adding our own spin to a complex situation. Leave the judgement to the jury.

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For 32 years he's been evading punishment for a brutal rape (Salon had the details yesterday) of a 13-year old girl.

We really ought to try to use accurate words when discussing a sensitive issue like this.

Whether you accept it or not, Polanski was charged with "unlawful sexual intercourse".....not any other crime. You can't now use vigilanty tactics to charge him for crimes beyond those he was charged with.

Sandy,

Polanski was charged on six counts, including statutory rape. He supplied the girl with champagne and quaaludes and performed various sexual acts on her over her protests.

He was allowed to plead quilty to "unlawful sexual intercourse" as part of a plea bargain but he was originally charged with more serious counts. It sounds to me that

the judge then reneged on the deal that was struck with Polanski at which point he got (rightfully) concerned. I won't comment on Polanski's supposed flight except to say that the correct legal solution would have been to fight the judge's about-face in the US courts.

And having sex with a 13 year old that has been plied with chemicals but was still protesting has really no parallel with Romeo and Juliet or any other teenage romantic episodes. That description is part of the public record.

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I don't see how any of us can determine if the word "brutal" is appropriate or not. I suppose we could agree that all rape is brutal, but if we take that tack, then we are left with no ability to make distinctions. For example, if I had had sex with a 17 year old girl when I was 18, technically, I could be charged with statutory rape even if all parties were consentual (not an unheard of event in the high schools of today or even in my day many decades ago). Should we then say that my actions would have been "brutal"?

Good, very important points, Sandy. 'Statutory rape' is a legal term, it's not by any means always accurate. Certainly, it IS rape, though, if it's a 13-year-old--or most likely is; I forgot the exact age of Lolita, but she was a very bright young sexy thing, but she always knew it was rape that Humbert Humbert was performing on her, and did say 'you raped me last night'. And this changes by the year. By 17, when the legal age is still not reached, there could be very much sexual precociousness involved, and total fully consensual. That's the problem of the law, and it's always hard to accept it. I know several examples of males and females of 16 or 17 who would never dream of calling their sexual activity 'rape', because they were just as determined to proceed as was their (usually) somewhat older partner. Also, when the high school 'forced-marriages' occur (I guess they still do as when I was in high school), it's complicated still further with the fact that the partners may be 16--respectively. I had a cousin to whom this happened. Was her boyfriend, also 16, somehow guilty of 'statutory rape'. Maybe in some strict legal sense, but it never occurred to anybody, they got married and had stilll more children and the (surprisingly often) happy marriage that sometimes results even when it seems disturbing at first.

BUT--I'm not sure that 'brutal' is accurate, only because that would seem to apply only if physical force is used. On the other hand, it may be irrelevant, because if it's 13, it definitely is a kind of rape when it's a man that much older behaving like this. So, perhaps you could say it's 'psychologically brutal', because it surely is--there's no question that Lolita's rape was brutal in every way, even though she knew she couldn't fight back physically--but I do think you're right to question these terms, because what Mel and others are talking about, with 'mobocracy', etc., is still what has to not prevail, and the wrong words can be incendiary. I'm not sure 'mobocracy' is anything new, though; it definitely seems to have been around a long time. But celeb 'rush to judgment' is definitely a major recreation, that much at least is not so much new, but bigger than ever. I never in my life saw anything so idiotic as the rabid attitudes when Paris Hilton went to jail and was then acquitted briefly before serving the rest of her sentence, with the mob furious beyond comprehension, given the 'crime', which amounted to almost nothing. Other starlets committed far worse, and because they seemed to be 'mentally ill', they got sympathy. The 'mobocracy' element was not based on the seriousness of the crimes, but that Paris Hilton was a 'loose playgirl' and not sufficiently 'sympathetic', even if only because not having a hardcore enough drug problem. That's why I'm not really interested in anything but the result, and not even especially any of it.

Actually, my publisher's brother does serve as a lawyer for the Swiss government--a prosecutor. I can write him if anyone wants me to, just tell me exactly what to ask. i'm sure he'll answer, although I'm not going to bother unless someone says to--although I definitely think he'd have the answer to the technical questions. I personally just don't care that much about this case. Celeb cases are okay to 'voyeur', as it were, I think if we're honest, we are interested in them to the degree that we have some emotional connection with the celeb. There were, for example, many more people who had an emotional connection with N. Martins when his little cocaine business occurred--I mean, even if they didn't know him personally. 'Chinatown' means more to me than anything I ever saw Nilas do, but I'm still only interested in noting the result.

Okay, saw Richard's addition: Yeah, you can call it brutal if the girl protested and Polanski used 'quaaludes' and 'champagne'. Or rather, even if the word 'brutal' isn't perfect, the slight inaccuracy doesn't really matter. He was forcing himself on her in a criminal way.

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Polanski was charged on six counts....

I apologize. I "mis-spoke". I should have said Polanski was convicted of "unlawful sexual intercourse" rather than my sloppy charged with "unlawful sexual intercourse". In terms of other crimes he might have once been charged with, I continue to believe in the wisdom that one is innocent until proven guilty.

And having sex with a 13 year old that has been plied with chemicals but was still protesting has really no parallel with Romeo and Juliet or any other teenage romantic episodes.

My point exactly. These types of situations differ greatly. This is why I think it unwise to automatically prefix the word "brutal" to every one of these situations. And BTW, from what I observe, the use of chemicals such as alcohol is quite common in "teenage romantic episodes".

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Just to be clear, at the time of the crime, Polanski was in his mid-forties. That is very different from two teenagers a year or two apart in age.

Edit: Sorry, Sandy--I was writing as you posted, and I see your point. In this case, though, I don't think one would be unjustified in using the word 'brutal', but of course, that is only my opinion. :innocent:

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.....but I do think you're right to question these terms, because what Mel and others are talking about, with 'mobocracy', etc., is still what has to not prevail.....

I think my sensitivity to these distinctions stems from our current political climate in this country. For many years I have listened to far-right wing radio as a source of entertainment (I am quite liberal myself). These talk shows seemed rather harmless to me at the time. But in the last 2 or 3 years, I have become concerned. Not just that the far-right commentators are showing decided lack of voracity and discrimination, but now I am finding that far-left blogs and even just-left commentators are indulging in the same sort of practices. Inflammatory words are used, and claims are made with little regard to doing the difficult journalistic work it takes to remove reasonable doubt from one's claims.

It is my opinion that we all have to take a stand against this indiscriminate use of words and conclusions. I fear marginal minds may feel justified in taking horrific action feeling that these inflammatory statements represent reality and that they must take violent action to restore the America they profess to love.

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Just to be clear, at the time of the crime, Polanski was in his mid-forties. That is very different from two teenagers a year or two apart in age.

Edit: Sorry, Sandy--I was writing as you posted, and I see your point. In this case, though, I don't think one would be unjustified in using the word 'brutal', but of course, that is only my opinion. :innocent:

Yeah, after Richard's info (at least I hadn't known it), I can see how 'brutal' is what it really WAS, because the age difference and the use of substances makes it psychologically brutal, very obviously. But after this latest part of the discussion, I really don't object to 'brutal' except for the fact that it seems to refer to real physical force, and being realistic about the mise-en-scene, if the champagne is drunk by the victim, there probably was not a great deal of physical force, although I don't know. I don't thnk it really matters, because it's clearly a major violation for someone that old to do this. Quaaludes, on the other hand, could be something that a kid wouldn't really know much about and would think she was 'having fun'. But she shouldn't be expected to be the responsible one in this kind of situation, it was was definitely all his fault. As for the rest and the legal proceedings, they never go in the same way as 'true justice'. There are a million examples of lunatic jury decisions, including celeb ones, so I guess I just don't worry about it that much unless I have some kind of personal attachment.

I guess where I am right now on the word 'brutal' is that it doesn't matter too much, even if imperfect, because the word 'rape' definitely applies here.

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Really, my point in commenting on this matter has been to counsel against water-cooler jurisprudence. We may feel better to have vented on our opinion of the case, but in reality, all we do is figuratively promote photosynthesis by providing warm carbon dioxide. If you feel that you have a vital information for these proceedings, then file an amicus brief or move an intervention and tell it to the judge.

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Let's keep blue and red state politics out of this discussion, please. :innocent:

You are certainly correct that the laws concerning statutory rape have on occasion been misapplied, Sandy, but it is doubtful that this is one of those cases. What the girl described is in fact rape by any definition of the term. As far as I know, no one, including Polanski's most fervent defenders, has ever suggested that she was lying under oath or brought her account into serious question.

This is why I think it unwise to automatically prefix the word "brutal" to every one of these situations.

I think kfw's use of the word 'brutal' was accurate, given the details which the girl provided and which have not been disputed, and not carelessly chosen.

Regarding Polanski's plea deal, the laws back then placed a much higher burden on the accuser in such cases, and Polanski's attorneys had made it very clear that they intended to explore the girl's sexual history and follow every such avenue, as lawyers will do, of course.

Update in The Los Angeles Times:

The U.S. has 40 days from the arrest to lodge a formal extradition request, a period that can be extended to 60 days if necessary. The Swiss Justice Ministry then has a week or two to examine the request. If authorities accept the request, Polanski can file a formal appeal in federal court, which would take another few weeks.

Related.

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I don't think one would be unjustified in using the word 'brutal', but of course, that is only my opinion.

And you're entitled to your opinion as we all are. I would probably lean that way too, but in this case I don't even have an opinion since I know too little about the case.

What I am willing to have an opinion about is that hounding someone around the globe for decades better be justified by truly horrific crimes when you consider the kinds of monumental pain and suffering we humans seem to tolerate under the banner of "national security" or "national ethnic purity" or even the availability of cheap goods.

Most of the performing arts I love often seem to focus on redemption. Perhaps we need more of that in the world instead of just on the stage -- the stage that all on this board cherish so highly.

(I guess I'm in a mood today :innocent::o).

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I wouldn't probably use 'brutal', though, unless it really involved holding someone down, they were screaming, hitting and bruising, etc., It's maybe not an important moral distintion, but maybe 'brutal' is just not quite accurate, since there are many truly brutal rapes in the sense of beatings, extreme physical injury, and even murders. Yes, I think maybe it is a fairly important distinction, if for no other reason than those women (and occasionally men) who are physically beaten up and injured are killed are those who have suffered the 'brutal rape'. Maybe 'unconscionable rape' or 'cruel rape' , or 'calculated rape', whatever, it used force, but that's still different from the Central Park Jogger and a million others.

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One of my early posts on this thread was to question whether the warrant was drawn on the sex charge or the flight. The answer seems to be somewhere inbetween, as Swiss authorities have said that they wouldn't arrest Polanski earlier because the statute of limitations had run out. Then they said that they would arrest, as a revised extradition treaty made paedophilia cases exempt from statute of limitation, which begot my question regarding ex post facto.

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Hans, I still think you have to be careful. If someone beats someone up, I can't think of any other possibility other than a cruel act has been committed (to use one of your words). However, assessing rape can be a tricky issue. The same exact sequence of physical events (assuming no overt physical violence exists) can in one instance be a wonderful thing, and in another, a horrible thing (and certainly a cruel thing). Frankly, I can't think of any other crime for which this is true. Even more problematical, there are rarely 3rd party witnesses to these events. This is one crime (but perhaps there are others) where one needs to be exceedingly careful. The consequences resulting from the same set of actions can be night and day depending on what word someone picks to refer to the events. We all have an obligation to insure that the "right" words are used, and then an equally serious obligation to insure that the appropriate consequences result once we've determined what actually happened and therefore what word to use to describe what happened.

P.S. Note I am talking generally here as you did Hans in the previous post. In the Polanski case one fact we know for sure is that the female involved was 13 years old. That in itself heavily skews the considerations, and certainly determines that some crime was committed (once one leaves out the qualifiers).

[Later edit.....OOPS, Hans seems to have deleted his post to which I was replying.]

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