Tuesday, September 29, 2009

'Chinatown' Justice

There are bunch of articles going around on social-networking sites reminding us that "all sex crimes need to be punished." I agree, and I'm certainly not here to defend a 44-year-old man raping a 13-year-old girl. But -- and this is a HUGE "but" -- I think everyone needs to remember that Roman Polanski AGREED to be punished: he was ordered to and completed a psychiatric evaluation in a Chino, Calif., prison (isn't being in Chino punishment enough?) and the judge then agreed to sentence him to probation. (Was this a just punishment? Maybe not. But that's the deal that was hammered out at the time.) The judge then decided AFTER THE FACT that it wasn't enough (he's dead now, but by all accounts his motives were not in the name of justice) and wanted to break the agreement and increase the penalty, so Polanski ran. It may be true that plea deals fall through all the time, but would you want to be on the receiving end of the sentence of a publicity-hungry judge with a sudden ax to grind?

The real moral of this sad story is that the second judges begin to renege on plea bargains is the second the justice system crumbles.


4 comments:

CD said...

you are completely wrong- he didn't serve his time. He went for a 90 day Psychiatric Evaluation - in which he was released after 42 days. He was to go back for sentencing, thinking it would be probation. When his lawyers learned he might get jail -he fled.

If it was your 13 year old niece who was FORCIBLY RAPED by a 44 year old man would you feel the same way? Despite her pleas of no- she was held down, sodomized and forced intercourse.

Your comments that he has served his time are incorrect. This has nothing to do with judges reneging against someone already serving their time!

JSH said...

Kenneth - I understand where you're coming from, however my problem with Roman Polanski is THAT he ran. I agree that the judge should have never reneged on the agreement, but Roman Polanski should have stayed and fought the injustice. He was a Academy Award winning direct for f**k's sake! He, more than anyone, had the money & power necessary to fight...but he didn't. He ran from the obligation he had to atone for his crime & from the obligation he had to address the injustice done to him.

Kenneth Walsh said...

CD: I'm willing to rephrase my post (which I have) to more accurately describe what happened in legal terms, but I call it semantics to say that a FREE man who is LOCKED UP didn't "serve time." I don't care if it's for 90 days, 42 days or one hour, being in prison IS a punishment. (I never said he served "his time," because that would imply that he was sentenced to jail time and he hadn't been; I said he WAS punished, because jail IS punishment.) He was ordered to undergo the evaluation in a prison -- which he did -- and the judge then agreed to a plea of probation. To start bringing up if it had been MY 13-year-old niece is to completely miss the point. (Just as I didn't bring up the fact that his victim doesn't want him jailed.) I can name TWO-DOZEN crimes off the top of my head where people have plea-bargained down to lesser offenses that I do not agree with (it happens every day). But you can't go around agreeing to one thing and then trying to sentence someone to something else. The whole system would cave in -- and that's EXACTLY what happened here.

JSH: You're right, except it's this very same celebrity status that made him a ripe target for a "make-an-example-out-of-him" sentence. The judge should have never agreed to probation in the first place.

MJM said...

"To start bringing up if it had been MY 13-year-old niece is to completely miss the point. (Just as I didn't bring up the fact that his victim doesn't want him jailed.)"

Wrong. She wants the case thrown out to save both herself and her family (which includes the children and husband she has managed to acquire in the 30 years since her rape) from the embarrassment and trauma of having to relive the experience through the course of another trial. Its not that she doesn't want him jailed, is that she doesn't want her loss of innocence to be pushed back into her face for months, or even years, repeatedly as it was all those years ago.

And I quote: "True as they may be, the continued publication of those details causes harm to me, my beloved husband, my three children and my mother."

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/celebritynews/6237442/Roman-Polanskis-victim-is-mother-who-wants-charges-dropped.html

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