The Polanski defense

Amy Sullivan and a bunch of other theocons write that it’s unfair that some pedophile priests have to go to jail when Roman Polanski doesn’t.

That seems absurd to me:

The new 2,600-page report on physical, emotional, and sexual abuse in Catholic-run Irish schools is “a map of an Irish hell,” said the Irish Times in an editorial. The numbers speak for themselves: 800 abusers, 200 schools, 35 years, many thousands of victims. But it’s worse than that—this was a deliberate system of “torture” and “slavery” at the hands of the powerful church, with the knowledge of the state. This is part of the Irish identity now.

[….]

Unforgivably, the actual priests will neither be named nor shamed for their “torture, rape, and beatings,” said Ruth Gledhill in Ireland’s Evening Herald, due to a 2004 lawsuit won by the main “perpetrators,” the Christian Brothers order. If there’s a “ray of light” in this horrible story, it’s that, at least in North America and Europe, the “abuse has now stopped.” Just not in time to save the victims.

It’s also worth noting that, in the United States:

The John Jay report indicated that some 11,000 allegations had been made against 4,392 priests in the USA. This number constituted approximately 4% of the 110,000 priests who had served during the period covered by the survey (1950-2002).[21] The report found that, over the 52-year period covered by the study, “the problem was indeed widespread and affected more than 95 percent of the dioceses and approximately 60 percent of religious communities.”

There have been only a handful of criminal prosecutions.

The truth is, that If Roman Polanski had been a priest, there is very, very little chance that he ever would have been prosecuted in the first place. And that’s wrong — not for Polanski, who deserved prosecution, but for the thousands of victims of sexually predatory priests who had their complaints ignored for years.

The lack of shame among Amy Sullivan and her ilk never ceases to amaze me.

Update. A bunch of you say that I am misreading Sullivan’s point. Perhaps. But what she and the others I linked to are saying is just plain wrong: it’s just not true that priests are at all likely to be prosecuted for raping children. As I said above, if Polanski were a priest, it is very, very unlikely that he ever would have been prosecuted to begin with. The statistics don’t lie.

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111 replies
  1. 1
    LorenzoStDuBois says:

    Sorry to hijack the thread but a glossary question:

    What’s a mouthbreather? That’s one I hear a lot.

  2. 2
    anonevent says:

    I don’t even think you can compare the two. If all these priests had the money to live in countries that wouldn’t actively extradite to the US, they could have avoided prosecution as well. Just one more thing money can buy.

  3. 3
    Ash says:

    Pretty much anyone who diddles little kids needs to be in jail. I’m not sure what these people are trying to achieve by comparing and contrasting.

    I doubt there are many priests that could afford to gallivant around Europe for 30 years while on the lam anyway.

  4. 4
    mad the swine says:

    I think you’ve misinterpreted the thrust of Sullivan et al.’s argument. They’re not saying that it’s unfair for priests to go to jail; in fact, it’s exactly the opposite. They’re saying that the liberals and Hollywood types who are defending Polanski are disgusting hypocrites, who use allegations of child rape as weapons against religion, but who are happy to defend a child rapist when he’s one of their own.

    I have to agree with Amanda Marcotte over at Pandagon: I’m disgusted at having to agree with the right wing that Polanski should be brought back to face justice, and even more disgusted that so many supposed political allies have been supporting him. <a href=”http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/sexist/2009/09/28/common-roman-polanski-defenses-refuted/”Too many so-called liberals have come to Polanski’s defense. The above links you give are trying to smear liberals as willing to condone rape when the rapist is one of their heroes, and I really really wish my side would stop giving them ammunition for it.

  5. 5
    licensed to kill time says:

    @LorenzoStDuBois:

    Urban Dictionary is your Friend

    But probably you want the BJ snarky def. I will wait for a superior intellect to provide that.

  6. 6
    Jay B. says:

    If all these priests had the money to live in countries that wouldn’t actively extradite to the US, they could have avoided prosecution as well.

    Um, they do. The Church not only has tons of money, they kind of have a global reach. In fact, many were sent out of the US — including Cardinal Law who covered up the scandal in Massachusetts for years — at behest of the church.

    The biggest difference is one of scale. Polanski bolted out of fear the judge was going to renege on the plea deal. The Church actively covered up a massive child rape program that stretched over decades all over the world.

    That’s how you can’t compare the two.

  7. 7
    mad the swine says:

    The link I tried to post above:

    /Common Roman Polanski Defenses refuted.

  8. 8
    MattF says:

    The theocon argument doesn’t make any sense at all– Oh, wait, I get it… they’re saying that ‘liberals’ think raping children is OK… and therefore, logically, liberals should think that priests raping children should also be OK. And the only reason liberals oppose priests who abused children is because they hate priests. That’s just disgusting.

  9. 9
    Ash Can says:

    @Ash: Exactly. What the hell is there to discuss, anyway?

  10. 10
    serge says:

    “The lack of shame among Amy Sullivan and her ilk never ceases to amaze me.”

    They’re God’s Special Children. Casting judgment is their daily pastime.

  11. 11
    Jay B. says:

    They’re saying that the liberals and Hollywood types who are defending Polanski are disgusting hypocrites, who use allegations of child rape as weapons against religion, but who are happy to defend a child rapist when he’s one of their own.

    And that’s a horseshit strawman — Sullivan’s primary mode of argument. I’d like to see anyone, liberal or Hollywood type, who is defending Polanski.

  12. 12
    MattF says:

    And, FWIW, I hold no brief for Polanski.

  13. 13
    Bobby Yamaha says:

    What’s REALLY unfair is comparing Polanski to pedophiles. There wasn’t multiple victims coming forward and there is no evidence of him doing it since.

    He did a horrible thing 30+years ago, but all of the new-found Nancy Graces out there need to put their hyper-righteous vindictiveness in check – it’s toxicity spills out to infect the public discourse like an Alabama Town Hall Meeting.

  14. 14
    Zifnab says:

    The truth is, that If Roman Polanski had been a priest, there is very, very little chance that he ever would have been prosecuted in the first place. And that’s wrong—not for Polanski, who deserved prosecution, but for the thousands of victims of sexually predatory priests who had their complaints ignored for years.

    But that’s the thing. We need to legitimize the Polanski rape as a stepping stone to rapes in the future. Not for everyone, of course, but for the select few chosen by a private council of the rich and important.

    You see, there are laws for the big successful “Randian” people and there are laws for everyone else…

  15. 15
    Mark S. says:

    Could someone answer me a question? If the judge did renege on the plea deal (i.e. said he wouldn’t honor and sentenced Polanski to 30 years or whatever), wouldn’t Polanski have been within his rights to change his plea? I know judges don’t have to honor plea agreements (though they almost always do), but if they refuse to honor, the defendant can opt out, right?

  16. 16
    mad the swine says:

    “I’d like to see anyone, liberal or Hollywood type, who is defending Polanski.”

    See my link in comment #7. The Huffington Post (which counts for both liberal AND Hollywood type, AFAIK) has been one of the major offenders.

    Polanski’s Arrest: Shame on the Swiss.

  17. 17
    Derelict says:

    Awwwww. But Amy is always concern trolling Democrats about how we have to be more tolerant of religion and religious people. Over the years, I have watched her slay entire legions of strawmen.

    Why does her lack of shame surprise anyone?

  18. 18
    anonevent says:

    @Jay B.: Thanks. You’re correct. My two second analysis was focused more on how Polanski was able to avoid it for so long; I completely forgot about those priests that got away with it as well. While an individual priest may be poor, the organization definitely isn’t.

  19. 19
    Notorious P.A.T. says:

    “I have to agree with Amanda Marcotte over at Pandagon”

    What’s it like on the other side of the looking glass?

  20. 20
    Fergus Wooster says:

    @Mark S.

    I don’t think so. The judge can throw out the prosecution’s sentencing recommendation at sentencing, at which time the defendant has already entered his/her guilty plea. Doesn’t happen too often (our “justice” system is almost entirely dependent on plea bargains), but the sentence is ultimately at the judge’s discretion.

  21. 21
    Da Bomb says:

    @Jay B.: Actually, Harvey Weinstein has defended him. Melissa Gilbert did on the View. So there are people who are both liberal and hollywoodish who are defending him.

  22. 22
    MikeJ says:

    and even more disgusted that so many supposed political allies have been supporting him. have come to Polanski’s defense

    I’ve seen the defense at huffpo, and I’ve seen atrios, Pandagon, LGM, and Balloon Juice say lock him up.

    The left (although I haven’t heard specifically from norbizness) seem to be running massively against rape. As it should be.

  23. 23
    Persia says:

    @Ash:

    Pretty much anyone who diddles little kids needs to be in jail. I’m not sure what these people are trying to achieve by comparing and contrasting.

    I am both glad and disappointed that I can’t punch people over the Internet at this point, because I am so very angry at all the people a) making this comparison b) telling me that Polanski should go free because of some bullshit.

  24. 24
    catclub says:

    Someone needs to ask Amy Sullivan if she thinks there are hundreds
    of priests who have gone to prison for child rape, while Roman Polanski
    walks free.

    Given that there are a few priests who have gone to jail, while
    no Roman Polanski’s are presently in jail (in the US).
    Her argument from specifics to generalities ( which is of course
    completely specious) is slightly supported by the present case.
    (Except for the fact that every single Roman Polanski IS presently in jail
    for his crime.)

    I originally was going to argue that Amy Sullivan had overlooked the
    cases DougJ brings up in the top posting. Unless there is some clarification
    by her, I am less convinced it was an oversight.

  25. 25
    mad the swine says:

    Polanski’s defenders now include Harvey Weinstein, Woody Allen (gosh, who’d have thought), and Whoopi Goldberg.

    And yes, I’m harping on this, because DougJ’s interpretation of the right-wing outrage of the day is quite simply wrong. Their point is not to defend pedophile priests, but to paint liberals, leftists, actors, artists, and all the usual targets as hypocrites at best, supporters of rape and child abuse at worst. Just another day over in right wing land.

  26. 26
    Fergus Wooster says:

    @ Da Bomb

    And don’t forget Whoopi Goldberg, who chimed in that whatever he may have done, it was a different time, and it certainly wasn’t “rape-rape”.

    I realize “rape-rape” isn’t in the lexicon, but I think drugging a 13-year-old girl with Champagne and Luudes, going down on her and ultimately sodomizing her despite repeated “no”s, probably meets the layman’s definition of “rape”.

    Is “rape-rape” when the perp jumps out of the bushes??

  27. 27
    The next-to-last samurai says:

    Standard Christian teaching is that the priests, and those who sheltered them from prosecution, are more culpable than Polanski precisely because they are clergy. Over at asksistermarymartha.blogspot.com, Sister explains it all. She is also keyboard-spraying funny on less grim topics; read her archives and enjoy.

  28. 28
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    I pray to Zeus, and of course Aphrodite.

    And Mother Nature is the prophet.

  29. 29
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Zifnab:

    But that’s the thing. We need to legitimize the Polanski rape as a stepping stone to rapes in the future. Not for everyone, of course, but for the select few chosen by a private council of the rich and important.

    If a terrorist knows of a ticking time bomb hidden somewhere in an American city* and in order to get him to talk Roman Polanski has to be flown back to the US to rape the terrrorist’s children, does the President have the authority to order this?

    /John Yoo

    *But not Chicago, San Francisco, or New York (on days of the month that don’t rhyme with ‘heaven’). Those cities are un-American centers of degeneration, deviancy, and Democrats.

  30. 30
    growingdaisies says:

    I agree with some of the other commenters — the post seems to be a misreading of Sullivan’s argument, which is that the guy should go to jail for raping a little girl. She’s arguing that his celebrity is protecting him, not that priests shouldn’t be jailed. Her main point is here.

    If anyone wants to point me to an post by Sullivan saying priests shouldn’t go to jail for abuse, I take it back. But until then this is a pretty unfair post.

  31. 31
    licensed to kill time says:

    Priests are in such a position of power and respect and perceived infallibility that when they betray the trust of – not just parishioners, but children it puts them in a whole ‘nother category of despicable, IMHO. Polanski was terribly wrong to do what he did, but he does not sink to the level of depravity of the pedophile priests.

    Still, he should come back and face charges, to get it over with. The politicization of the first deal and the stated intention to renege on the plea deal on the part of the judge should be taken into account. The original judge is dead and the victim doesn’t want him prosecuted; 50 years was pretty insane at the time and would be a death sentence now. I don’t know what would be fair, make a movie about being a smarmy director guy who took advantage of a young girl trying to break into the business? He could call it Mea Culpa, Mea Culpa.

  32. 32
    jl says:

    Oops, looks like the Sullivan and thecon crowd is projecting their own habit of special pleading onto the special pleading on the part of artsy fartsies. Speical pleaders are accusing special pleaders of special pleading.

    The artsy fartsies probably will not even notice, because they have their hands (and I guess also their naughty bits) full with debauchery and the corruption of youth.

    That is too bad. If we can get both sides going at each other, then there would be an infinite regress of special pleading projection and both groups would be swallowed up in some sort of rheteorical black hole, and both would disappear forever.

    I would like that to happen, since I want to found a new religion and would like to make some bucks off this screenplay I wrote while on vacation. There is too much competition for me to get a fair chance right now, don’t you think? I will hope for the best.

  33. 33
    DougJ says:

    I have to agree with Amanda Marcotte over at Pandagon: I’m disgusted at having to agree with the right wing that Polanski should be brought back to face justice, and even more disgusted that so many supposed political allies have been supporting him. have come to Polanski’s defense.

    I guess I ignore what everyone in Hollywood says about anything.

    What pundits and reporters say, that can bother me.

    Yes, I realize that maybe I should ignore them too. But, for better or worse, their opinions are widely heard and taken more seriously.

  34. 34
    Robin G. says:

    Is there a part of the Polanski story I’m missing? He fled prosecution; he (many years later) gets caught and is being sent back. Aside from stupid press coverage, there doesn’t seem to be anything objectionable here. So why the fuss?

  35. 35
    jl says:

    I also agree that Sullivan is not saying the same thing as that silly On Faith column, that seems to have some chip on its shoulder about depraved religious leaders getting more flack than they deserved for diddling the faithful (who says that have gotten more than they deserved ? And, why shouldn’t they, since their are violating a very serious trust?)

  36. 36
    Jay B. says:

    OK, so now we’re up to 4 it seems. And even if you don’t personally share the sentiment of the defense it’s an isolated case that has particulars which may (or may not!) mitigate the circumstances.

    The overwhelming difference between Polanski and the Church — and this is impossibly stupid to have to bring up — is the decades-long institutional cover-up the Church enabled, which allowed priest to rape more kids, even priests that the Church itself knew were pedophiles.

    There may be indeed be a few priests who may ALSO have mitigating circumstances on an individual case basis, but the fact remains that The Catholic Church in its institutional protected thousands upon thousands of priests in their midst who for decades left untold victims in their wake.

    It’s like saying if hypothetically, I thought a scumbag like Henry Lee Lucas was railroaded by the justice system, I then must also be a hypocrite for condemning Pol Pot.

  37. 37
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    Although I think Polanski deserves to serve some hard time, from what I understand from the case was that the Judge, prosecution, and defense all agreed that Polanski upon pleading guilty would spend a period of time in a prison psych ward for evaluation and all parties agreed to accept sentencing recommendations from the shrinks.

    And when the shrinks cut him loose early and recommended probation and no more jail time, the judge reneged. While he had a right likely to do this, he agreed to it, to get the guilty plea. And for someone with Polanski’s celebrity, withdrawing a guilty plea after making it would make it impossible to get a fair trial imo. And that there is evidence that the judge and prosecutor may have had a little ex parte fun during this time.

    While it grates that someone who did what Polanski did, would be handed a get out of jail free card, it is how our system works — that the actors, all of them, act rightly and honestly.

    Though personally, I hopes the dude gets some real time before he dies, if for nothing else fleeing justice. He will have a better case to make to St Peter when that time comes, but without rules for jurisprudence that are followed, we are all in trouble.

  38. 38
    MattM says:

    Is there a part of the Polanski story I’m missing?

    Polanski struck a plea deal with prosecutors, served the agreed-upon time, then fled when a “grandstanding” judge signaled that he was going to throw out the plea deal.

    I’m in agreement that what Polanski did was wrong, immoral, and illegal, and that he should have done/should do more jail time than he did, but I think the “what a monster” vilification is a little embarrassing. Sex with minors was rampant in the groupie culture of the 70s–are these same people urging police to track down Robert Plant and shackle him for a public stoning?

  39. 39
    Demo Woman says:

    Polanski is a creep but when I heard the person that he raped say the news media was worse, I took notice. Her life is being torn apart again. What cost justice.
    Licensed to kill was right that Priests are in such a position of power and respect and perceived infallibility that when they betray the trust of – not just parishioners, but children it puts them in a whole ‘nother category of despicable,

  40. 40
    The Very Reverend Crimson Fire of Compassion says:

    Allow me to recap here my verbatim response to the comparison between Polanski & the RC Church @ the original Mother Jones article:
    This is exactly the kind of moronic false equivalence that prompted the column in the first place. Let’s just recap the high points of your stupidity: Roman Polanski is not the Catholic Church. He does not (to my knowledge, anyway) claim to be the body of Christ, led by an infallibly inspired heir to the apostleship of St. Peter. He does not, as does the Catholic Church, explicitly claim to be more, in fact, than human. He does not claim to be the moral and spiritual light of the world, qualified to pass judgment on all human beings. Secondly, you twit, I have yet to hear any liberal forgive Polanski, or blame the victim (who, btw, filed a motion to have the case dismissed for reasons of her own), but if they had, the two situations are in no way comparable. Idiot.

  41. 41
    gwangung says:

    Meh. My feeling (as ill thought out as it is): time served for the rape, because that was the bargain.

    For the escape, 5-10 years.

  42. 42
    jl says:

    I do not know the merits of the case, and do not presume to know whether Polanski should receive more sanction for the original crime. But my understanding is that he did flee, and violate a court order. So, that needs to be addressed.

    I agree with commenter above, that there is no grounds for Fuss over this.

    I guess I am sympathetic to neither the high art film crowd nor the theocons in making a big issue over the case.

    It is too bad that Polanski has to face this when he is old. But that would be true for anyone. If there is a case against improper actions of a judge, he should have made it. Instead he ran away and stayed ran away for 30 years. That is unfortunate, but that is what it is.

    His fame, and reputed film genius doesn’t make any difference to me. Nor the dubious case that religious leaders engaged in similar behavior are picked on too much, or whatever the theocons are whining about.

  43. 43
    licensed to kill time says:

    @Demo Woman:

    The victim said she lived through a year of sheer hell. I imagine she will get another year of hell thanks to the gaping maw of media insatiability where celebrities, sex and drugs are concerned. (Ok, they’re insatiable in other matters as well, but the CSD trifecta seems to win every time.)

    I wonder if it will feel like justice to her.

  44. 44
    growingdaisies says:

    MattM —

    I think you’re missing this part:

    “Let’s keep in mind that Roman Polanski gave a 13-year-old girl a Quaalude and champagne, then raped her, before we start discussing whether the victim looked older than her 13 years, or that she now says she’d rather not see him prosecuted because she can’t stand the media attention. Before we discuss how awesome his movies are or what the now-deceased judge did wrong at his trial, let’s take a moment to recall that according to the victim’s grand jury testimony, Roman Polanski instructed her to get into a jacuzzi naked, refused to take her home when she begged to go, began kissing her even though she said no and asked him to stop; performed cunnilingus on her as she said no and asked him to stop; put his penis in her vagina as she said no and asked him to stop; asked if he could penetrate her anally, to which she replied, “No,” then went ahead and did it anyway, until he had an orgasm.”

    This isn’t sex with a minor. It’s raping a kid. And he plead guilty to the charges. “What a monster” sounds about right to me.

  45. 45
    Robin G. says:

    Okay, I see the plea deal problem. But I’m not wild about the idea that just because someone has the money to flee the country and avoid the justice system, they should get to. The man had plenty if money; if he got screwed back then, could he not have appealed? Maybe he wasn’t about to get a fair shake, but when you have rich people deciding for themselves that they’ve paid their dues and are going to opt out now, I think we’ve got problems.

    I doubt that the right-wingers will be singing the same tune if Kissenger gets snagged, though.

  46. 46
    Jay B. says:

    I don’t think you misread the post at all Doug J. She clearly led with the snide comment that a Father Polanski would have already been in jail. Which, as you point out, is complete bullshit.

  47. 47
    Penfold says:

    He does not (to my knowledge, anyway) claim to be the body of Christ, led by an infallibly inspired heir to the apostleship of St. Peter. He does not, as does the Catholic Church, explicitly claim to be more, in fact, than human.

    There is kind of an important point to be made here. This is not unlike the difference between institutionalized, “legalized” torture and the apocraphyl situation of the “few bad apples”, or a private citizen committing a horrendous crime. There are issues of responsibility, public trust, and vastly asymmetrical power relationships that are really not at all the same as what went happened with Polanski.

    Of course, the SOB should be in jail, and this is not an attempt to excuse anything, but there is no question the Sullivan article is based on a false equivalency.

  48. 48
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    And as far as the RC church is concerned, what they did was unforgivable, and I’m mostly talking about the decades long coverup by the priesthood hierarchy that allowed those thousands of victims to be created. Victims of a crime that created adults so damaged and deeply pained, that they are the ones who get life in a prison of sorts.

    The punishment, iMO, should have been abolishment of the entire priesthood in this country, to be replaced by something else altogether different. Radical, I know, but not as radical as the crimes and coverups, I think.

  49. 49
    kay says:

    @MattM:

    He filed a motion last year to have the plea bargain issue reconsidered. The judge in that case “signaled” he was sympathetic to this argument.
    The coward didn’t show up. No judge in this country is going to toss the whole complaint when the defendant doesn’t bother to SHOW UP.
    Defendants plead every single day, and there are no guarantees at sentencing. They make a “knowing and voluntary” admission of guilt as a predicate to sentencing. That’s the deal. Only very rich and very well-connected defendants manage to slide out from under any accountability for their actions, like this one.
    If we’re going to have a two-tiered system of justice in this country, it might be nice if we’d let the masses on the bottom tier in on our little secret.

  50. 50
    Makewi says:

    Can’t we just agree that rapists should go to prison?

  51. 51
    freelancer says:

    IANAL, and I hate People/USWeekly tabloid bullshit, therefore I do not give a fuck.

    Are we talking about this because the right is talking about this?

    This was more fun when they were freaking out about doughnuts.

  52. 52
    DougJ says:

    Can’t we just agree that rapists should go to prison?

    Yes, that’s my point.

  53. 53
    DougJ says:

    Are we talking about this because the right is talking about this?

    Any attempt to defend the Catholic Church’s role in sexual abuse bothers me.

  54. 54
    Demo Woman says:

    @licensed to kill time: No kidding.

    It would not bother me if Polanski dropped dead tomorrow but to tie his crime with priests is just sick.

  55. 55
    Mr Furious says:

    Sullivan’s point that Father Polanski would be in prison is a crock of shit. Father Polanski probably would be on his tenth parish by now and would have molested countless kids all with the active protection of one of the most powerful organizations in history.

    The statistical odds of a priest getting successfully prosecuted and a fugitive Polanski crossing the wrong border are probably about the same.

    As for Roman Polanski, I can have a moment of understanding for his decision to flee considering the judge’s signals, but I don’t have any sympathy for him. He probably got off too lightly at the time, and deserves to answer for fleeing the country. The fact that a harsh penalty now would “be a life sentence” is his fucking problem—he went on the lam for 30 years.

    If the original judge is dead, the victim doesn’t want him prosecuted further—and she is certainly capable of making that decision in her 40s—then the original plea deal should stand and he should be punished for escaping the country.

    As for the petitioners, they need to get a fucking grip and look at what they are defending. The guy raped a little girl. He was able to continue his “contribution to the arts” for decades relatively unencumbered. I for one can live just fine with one less brilliant filmmaker working. Time to pay up.

  56. 56
    growingdaisies says:

    @Makewi: Agreed 100 percent.

  57. 57
    Zifnab says:

    @DougJ: Well, that’s the real joke. You’ve got guys in Georgia living in tents in a park because the anti-rape laws have gotten so overblown that an offense at 18 will out-and-out destroy your life until you’re 80.

    So the idea that rapists should go to prison for life without parole seems a bit extreme. And that’s what the punishment is for modern convicted molesters, because no politician ever lost an election for being too hard on rapists.

    So, in the modern day, I can absolutely see a guy who – after serving his sentence and “paying his due” – would flee the country rather than stand in front of a judge more interested in the next election cycle than an equitable verdict.

  58. 58
    Makewi says:

    @Zifnab:

    So, in the modern day, I can absolutely see a guy who – after serving his sentence and “paying his due” – would flee the country rather than stand in front of a judge more interested in the next election cycle than an equitable verdict.

    If he paid his due, why would he need to flee or stand in front of a judge?

  59. 59
    kay says:

    I’d sentence Debra Winger to a day in county court. She can explain to those assembled for sentencing why her friend is much, much better than they are, and shouldn’t have to take any risk at all, really. He’s that valuable, and they’re just not him.

  60. 60
    apikoros says:

    For those who believe that Polanski’s rape of a 13 year old child was a single incident, remember he went on to conduct an “affair” with the then 15 year old Nastassja Kinski. Pedophiles are rarely one-shot violators.

    I am personally sorry that the judge who was to have sentenced him, Laurence Rittenband, died in 1994 and has been robbed of the opportunity to actually impose some form of justice.

    On a side note, I’d love to learn that there are any specific instances of clerical abusers being sent to prison, as opposed to “rehab.” Does anyone know of any? All I see (with growing anger) is instances like Law’s where the abuser gets off without punishment. Make my day, tell me at least one of the thousands of rapists is in jail.

  61. 61
    Morbo says:

    @MattM: Can you provide evidence that Robert Plant had sex with any thirteen year olds whom he had gotten drunk and given quaaludes to and begged him to stop? If not then I’m afraid your analogy just does not hold up.

  62. 62
    Bruce (formerly Steve S.) says:

    I think the “what a monster” vilification is a little embarrassing.

    Yes, and so are the calls, coming from people that I would presume are appalled at the Bush torture regime, for Polanski to be tortured, thrown in jail for life, etc.

    You have to keep in mind that America is hyperhysterical about any issues involving the genitals. And it’s not just the sickening medievalists who threw Genarlow Wilson into the slammer, even ostensible DFHs are getting into a lather here.

  63. 63
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    Now I can no longer link to anothers comment. but

    Kay

    Though I don’t know all the details in this case, mostly because I barely care, wasn’t the trip Polansky took to the prison psych ward actually part of a formal sentencing agreement, signed on to by the judge, leaving it up to the prison docs to decide if more incarceration was needed>

    As opposed to an agreement just by prosecutors and the defendant that the judge can accept or deny at formal sentencing. though usually they do, but don’t have to.

  64. 64
    Comrade Dread says:

    Can’t we just agree that rapists should go to prison?

    Yes.

    It disgusts me that our society is even talking about this. It doesn’t surprise me, given the ‘debate’ over other heinous behavior, but it still disgusts me.

  65. 65
    Makewi says:

    @apikoros:

    Here’s one. Just do yourself a favor and don’t look at the time he had to serve.

  66. 66
    kay says:

    @General Winfield Stuck:

    I don’t know. That’s not what I read. I read he fled prior to sentencing.
    I’d like to nominate Martha Stewart for “best celebrity behavior post-sentencing”, by the way. She just shut the hell up and did her time, in a graceful and sensible manner.
    This jackass could learn a thing or two from Martha.

  67. 67
    Makewi says:

    Another, and with an appropriate term. The problem has never been the ones who do go to prison for their crimes of which there are many. It has been that the Church has, at times, considered itself outside and above the laws of the country in which it resides for it’s employees. Which is unacceptable, to say the least.

  68. 68
    Zifnab says:

    @Makewi:

    If he paid his due, why would he need to flee or stand in front of a judge?

    When you strike a plea bargain, you’ve got to have it signed by a judge. The prosecution and the defense can’t just make any deal they want and turn it legal.

    And when you come up for parole, you’ve got to revisit the courts before your release. Once you go into the prison system, there are a host of ways for a judge to extend your sentence through probation violations or to simply revoke your parole. The California “revolving door” prison system is a classic example, with the highest recidivism in the nation.

    A five year prison sentence doesn’t have to last nearly five years on either end of the spectrum.

  69. 69
    joeyess says:

    Here’s the deal: Where were all these law-n-order, panties-in-a-bunch, latent bedwetters when the last administration was busy killing innocent Iraqis in the madness that was the illegal invasion of a sovereign nation that had never attacked us? Why aren’t they calling for the trial and conviction of those that ordered and advocated for that fucking crime?

    (crickets)

    I thought so.

  70. 70
    JK says:

    My question for Amy Sullivan:

    Have any pedophile priests directed masterpieces on the order of Rosemary’s Baby, Chinatown, and The Pianist?

    But seriously, Roman Polanski’s actions were indefensible, depraved, and despicable. He should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law as should any priest accused of rape.

    Rape is equally unacceptable whether it is committed by a priest, a celebrated film director, a construction worker, a hedge fund manager, an unemployed person, an actuary, zoologist, a journalist, or a politician.

    As someone who has great admiration for people working in the arts, the kneejerk defense of Polanski by many in the Hollywood community is beyond disgusting. I don’t know what planet these people were raised on when they formed their moral values.

  71. 71
    Fergus Wooster says:

    I won’t shed tears one way or the other over Polanski.

    But in case anyone isn’t sufficiently infuriated on the priest pedophilia issue, be sure to watch “Deliver Us From Evil” about one such case – the Church’s coverup, well-documented, simply shuffled a rapist from parish to parish. And he’s currently a free man.

    As awful as it is, the intra-Church maneuvering they document would indicate this was just one case among many. Can’t recommend the documentary emphatically enough.

    http://www.netflix.com/WiMovie.....id=1280194

  72. 72
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    You have to keep in mind that America is hyperhysterical about any issues involving the genitals

    Speaking of which. The little town I live near in the desert has only one ENT doctor who just recently was suspended pending investigation into charges that for the past 15 years when performing surgery on patients had routinely performed genital examinations on patients while they were out under anesthetic . And to top it off, she was female.

    Folks here are stuptified because they never knew there were ears noses and throats in their nethers. As a person with lifelong and severe ear problems, I feel vindicated however, as I visited her at my Primary Care doctors consult when I moved here, but left before the exam was finished because she seemed el weirdo to me, though she didn’t exam my pecker cause I was awake. I caught hell from my Pcare doc that she was a fine ENT and everybody thought so. That was eight years ago and I have to travel a hundred miles to see another.

    My question is, how did it go on for so long without being reported by her colleagues. Must be our fine upstanding Health Care system. True story.

  73. 73

    The last link in the post here

    “It’s also worth noting that, in the United States:

    The John Jay report”

    sends me to the same article about Ireland as the previous link. It does send me to an article containing the quoted text about the USA.

  74. 74
    Makewi says:

    @joeyess:

    No offense, but that argument is just stupid. People can find agreement on some issues and disagree on others. Rather than just demanding that everyone meet all of your high expectations of them, just be happy that commonality exists on at least some of these issues of morality.

    Unless what you are really trying to do is to hide your disapproval of the prosecution of Polanski behind layers of supposed moral superiority, in which case – good luck with that.

  75. 75
    Mike G says:

    all of the new-found Nancy Graces out there need to put their hyper-righteous vindictiveness in check – it’s toxicity spills out to infect the public discourse like an Alabama Town Hall Meeting.

    Slightly OT, what the hell happened to Headline News? It used to be a mildly useful news channel, now it’s nonstop harpies screeching about the latest “blonde girl in danger” sensationalized crime story. Fuck CNN.

  76. 76
    jl says:

    @joeyess: On Iraq, I marched, I wrote my useless Congresscritters a bunch of letters advising them not to do stupid and wicked things, that most of them ignored, and signed several petitions that were personally delivered to said useless Congresscritters.

    So, yeah, that wasn’t enough. I guess I should have got my ass thrown in jail over it. Not that it would have made any difference.

    I do not know enough about the case to say whether Polanski’s plea deal was OK or not. Just that no one should be able to flee the justice system with no accountability at all. Especially rich and famous people who have the means to flee, and means to seek protection whither they flee.

    And if Polanski gets his case processed, I will contact my Congresscritters, and the Obama gang, and say ‘See, that isn’t so hard, is it? You can help deliver some due process to some suspicious characters who need attention, get on it.”

    So, don’t know if you are talking about me, but I think I am consistent.

  77. 77
    Comrade Luke says:

    I’m a (lapsed) Catholic, and I think the real issue is that to this day Catholics are not able to reconcile the pedophile scandal in their minds.

    The result is that they either a) find an example of a pedophile they don’t like and use it to make the priest scandal seem like less of a deal (in their minds), or b) find an example of a pedophile they do like and use the priest “witch hunt” as a way to exonerate said person.

    An example of b):
    I was on a tour in Europe with a bunch of Catholics when Michael Jackson died, and I mentioned how disgusted I was that the media was deifying the guy and selectively forgetting that he was a pedophile. These people were MJ fans, and claimed that none of it was proven, and one of them said “It’s just like the priest thing”

    How do you argue with someone like that? You don’t; you just walk on by.

    They know it’s wrong, and they probably know in their heart of hearts that the priests are guilty as sin (pun intended), but admitting it would rock them to their core so they have to act like this.

    BTW, “walk on by”, or whatever the official term was that Peggy Noonan used, should be added to the dictionary.

  78. 78
  79. 79
    Mark S. says:

    @Mike G:

    Slightly OT, what the hell happened to Headline News?

    I’ve been ranting about this for weeks. My gym always has one of the TV’s set to this drivel. Nancy Grace does not look human, and the gal on after her has a hairdo that wouldn’t have looked out of place on Flashdance. Both of them spend their entire time screaming about dead children. The entire channel has turned into an absolute cesspool.

  80. 80
    JK says:

    @Mike G:

    It’s too bad that CNN Headline News has chosen to descend into the gutter with Fox News and other providers of tabloid trash news.

  81. 81
    Keith G says:

    @mad the swine:

    What I typed this morning on an earlier thread:

    I am sensing a convergence of wingnuttery and simple math. Take one hung up child abusing federal worker add one Polish-born, French citizen, child raping, Hollywood directing fugitive who must be a liberal Dem of sorts, and you can get (with Beck-like arithmetic) a scandal to hang upon President Obama and the Dems.I am not sure how they will do it or who it will be, but this will be worked out.

    What you typed a short while ago:

    They’re saying that the liberals and Hollywood types who are defending Polanski are disgusting hypocrites, who use allegations of child rape as weapons against religion, but who are happy to defend a child rapist when he’s one of their own.

    Bingo!

  82. 82
    apikoros says:

    @makewi

    Thank you, Makewi. You are right, I shouldn’t have looked at the sentence on the first one. Still, it’s nice to see *someone* go to jail. I keep reading and reading about how this or that occurred and the names are being withheld and the perpetrators have moved out of the country or are being “rehabilitated” or the statute of limitations has expired, or…. without ever seeing anyone go to jail. Sometimes I just get depressed. I am amazed that no one has filed a RICO lawsuit against the whole damned* organization.

    On an unrelated note, as I searched for info on Roman Polanski, I found this. There is someone who is saying (OK, I know, he’s being paid to say it) that someone who has been on the lam for 30+ years is not a flight risk and should be freed to house arrest! If the Swiss courts grant that request, I will not be happy, but will not be surprised.

    As to your implied question as to why “Holy Mother Church” considers itself outside and above the laws of the country in which it resides, well, for 1800 years, it was and it is still coming to terms with the French revolution. (They are a bit slow there in Rome)

    *yes, I mean that literally.

  83. 83
    freelancer says:

    Continuing the “Treason” theme I went on about earlier,

    Here’s Newsmax via MM:

    Will the day come when patriotic general and flag officers sit down with the president, or with those who control him, and work out the national equivalent of a “family intervention,” with some form of limited, shared responsibility?

    Imagine a bloodless coup to restore and defend the Constitution through an interim administration that would do the serious business of governing and defending the nation. Skilled, military-trained, nation-builders would replace accountability-challenged, radical-left commissars. Having bonded with his twin teleprompters, the president would be detailed for ceremonial speech-making.

    Military intervention is what Obama’s exponentially accelerating agenda for “fundamental change” toward a Marxist state is inviting upon America. A coup is not an ideal option, but Obama’s radical ideal is not acceptable or reversible.

  84. 84
    MikeJ says:

    Slightly OT, what the hell happened to Headline News?

    Jesus Fuck! I hadn’t looked at it in a while, but a quick perusal of the schedule says that they show news for about 3 hours per day now.

    Come back Ted. We need you.

  85. 85
    MikeJ says:

    Skilled, military-trained, nation-builders

    Didn’t Bush run in 2000 laughing at the entire concept of using the military for nation building?

  86. 86

    Roman Polanski is a convicted child rapist. He fled justice and should be returned to this county to do his time. Period. If he wants to appeal, fine, let him do it from behind bars like all other convicts.

  87. 87
    Penfold says:

    @Zifnab

    You’ve got guys in Georgia living in tents in a park because the anti-rape laws have gotten so overblown that an offense at 18 will out-and-out destroy your life until you’re 80.

    This is another thing. It’s not for nothing that The Economist had an issue recently with the cover story being “America’s Unjust Sex Laws.” Some of the statutory rape laws in the country are terrifying and of questionable legal validity in my mind.

    @…the thread:

    That being said, Polanksi drugging and raping a 13 year old girl is a bit different than, say, an 18 year old guy to jailing for having consensual sex with his 16 year old girlfriend, or some other such miscarriage of justice. It was, I think, a clear case of “rape-rape”, whatever else Whoopi may think.

    I don’t think, though, that any of this means he should be treated in a cruel and unusual manner. I might feel differently if I were the girl or her mother, but there’s a reason why we attempt to be a nation of laws rather than men. Those exhibiting standard American punishment-fetishizing should settle down. Hurray for having the world’s largest percentage of our citizenry incarcerated!

  88. 88
    MattM says:

    @Morbo: Well, apart from the “begged him to stop” part, just read any Zeppelin biography… Anyway, wasn’t it Nicholson or Angelica Huston who got her drunk in the first place? Been a while since I reviewed the details of the case.

    But, regardless, “sex with a minor” is what we’re discussing/condemning here, right? Limiting it to “forcible sex with a minor” seems to be excusing an awful lot.

    Anyway, my point is that the people going all Helen Lovejoy about this probably aren’t a lot of fun to watch Almost Famous with.

  89. 89
    Desert Rat says:

    I think Polanski should be extradited and made to face a California court for his crimes.

    Ditto the Catholic Priests, without exception. Hell, if I were God-Emperor of the US, the Catholic Church would lose its tax-exempt status over it.

    I also think Amy Sullivan is a complete a**hat, whose separation from William Donahue is that she’s only 90% full of sh*t, instead of 100%.

  90. 90
    Brachiator says:

    @kay:

    He filed a motion last year to have the plea bargain issue reconsidered. The judge in that case “signaled” he was sympathetic to this argument. The coward didn’t show up. No judge in this country is going to toss the whole complaint when the defendant doesn’t bother to SHOW UP.

    Also, Polanski’s lawyers outsmarted themselves and are partially responsible for Polanski’s recent arrest (“Polanski’s attorneys may have ignited arrest fuse.”)

    http://www.latimes.com/news/lo.....5846.story

    The lawyers claimed that the Los Angeles officials knew where Polanski was over the years, but had never bothered to seek Polanski’s extradition because they knew that the original judge’s conduct was improper and wanted to cover their asses and protect their careers.

    Oops.

    Jay B. — I don’t think you misread the post at all Doug J. She clearly led with the snide comment that a Father Polanski would have already been in jail. Which, as you point out, is complete bullshit.

    Absolutely.

    And any pundit who tries to turn this into a liberal vs conservative thing, or to pretend that pedophile priests were treated more harshly than Polanski not only collide with the hard wall of reality, but also have to confront an even more uncomfortable truth.

    Just as there are those who try to mitigate what Polanski did, there are those, including the religious faithful, who defend the Church and pedophile priests, and who deny the continuing cover-up of priest abuse cases by Church leaders.

    Few priests have gone to jail. But I do not know of a single cardinal or other Church official punished for conspiracy or obstruction of justice. But here’s a little something from the Wiki:

    According to the John Jay study, 3 percent of all priests against whom allegations were made were convicted and about 2 percent received prison sentences.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R.....xual_abuse

    On the other hand, Cardinal Bernard Law, who protected pedophile priests, resigned as archbishop of Boston on December 13, 2002, in response to the Roman Catholic Church sex abuse scandal. And yet he was restored to a position of authority and is the Archbishop emeritus of Boston, member of the Roman Curia, archpriest of the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, and titular Cardinal Priest of Santa Susanna, the American Catholic church in Rome.

  91. 91
    Fergus Wooster says:

    @Comrade Luke:

    See “Keep On Walking” in the Lexicon.

  92. 92
    kay says:

    @Brachiator:

    The lawyers claimed that the Los Angeles officials knew where Polanski was over the years, but had never bothered to seek Polanski’s extradition because they knew that the original judge’s conduct was improper and wanted to cover their asses and protect their careers.

    Thanks. Interesting. There’s that, too, in this, don’t you think? Some stupidity and arrogance? Like the “fugitive” announcing a time and place he’s going to be picking up an award?
    That’s just a giant “f you!” to the prosecutor, right?
    “come and get me if you want me”. They take him up on it, and his response is to assemble luminaries for a press conference?
    I can’t muster any sympathy for this guy. Sorry.

  93. 93
    Fergus Wooster says:

    @DougJ

    (Per your update)
    Irrefutably right. Well said.

  94. 94
    Mnemosyne says:

    @MattM:

    Polanski struck a plea deal with prosecutors, served the agreed-upon time, then fled when a “grandstanding” judge signaled that he was going to throw out the plea deal.

    Actually, he didn’t serve the agreed-upon time. The plea deal called for 90 days and he was released after 42 days. That’s less than half of the agreed-upon time.

  95. 95
    Flugelhorn says:

    @Comrade Luke: Just a point of informaton here. MJ was never proven to be a pedophile at all. In fact, it was proven he was NOT a pedophile as a jury of our peers found him not guilty. Much of what you know about the MJ trial was spoon fed to you by a media that had no accountability on the issues and was decidely one-sided in the coverage.

    In both cases where MJ was accused of pedophelia, the accusers had a long history of scams, cons and lies. MJs mistake was paying the first one off with a 20 million dollar check so he could move on with his life. That tarred him for the remainder of his days.

  96. 96
    Brachiator says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Actually, he didn’t serve the agreed-upon time. The plea deal called for 90 days and he was released after 42 days. That’s less than half of the agreed-upon time.

    You’re confusing things a bit. The 42 days was a psychiatric evaluation, which Polanski completed. Had the judge later agreed that this constituted time served, then there would be no problem.

    But Polanski fled before formal sentencing, supposedly because he feared that the judge was going to reject the previous plea deal and impose a harsher sentence.

  97. 97
    Comrade Luke says:

    @Flugelhorn:

    I read all of the articles listed here, and I don’t see any way that he’s innocent.

  98. 98
    Morbo says:

    @MattM:

    But, regardless, “sex with a minor” is what we’re discussing/condemning here, right? Limiting it to “forcible sex with a minor” seems to be excusing an awful lot.

    No, we are in fact discussing forcible sex with a minor, which is why the Robert Plant analogy is completely inappropriate.

  99. 99
    joeyess says:

    @jl: No no no….. I’m talking about the angst and outrage over a 30 year old case, that while the offense being egregious, is still prosecutable. Yet, we as a nation must now “look forward” and “not backward” in regards to the worst crimes committed in decades in the name of the Exceptional Empress known as the U. S. of A.

    The media are once again chasing the blonde bimbo instead of George the Ripper.

  100. 100
    joeyess says:

    @Makewi: See my response to jj below.

  101. 101
    Makewi says:

    @joeyess:

    I saw it. I still think my comment to you is appropriate. In addition I would add you are trying to force dissimilar things to be similar. For example, it is possible to be truthful when you say you love rock and roll and yet hate Neil Young and love the Cure. Or, you know, vicey versey.

  102. 102
    joeyess says:

    @Makewi: I think what Polanski did was disgusting and he should be brought back to face the music. Period.

    Once again, it’s just not the most important story evah!!! like the media are portraying it to be. That’s my only gripe.

    Aside from the fact that Cheney is still free, as is Rove, Yoo, Bybee, Bush, etc.

    I’m not comparing apples to oranges or visey versey. I’m simply pointing out the spinelessness of our elected leaders and the priorities of our media/entertainment complex.

    That’s all. Jail the bastard and get it over with. Then can we move on to the war criminals?

  103. 103
    joeyess says:

    @Makewi: BTW, I find this assumption:

    Unless what you are really trying to do is to hide your disapproval of the prosecution of Polanski behind layers of supposed moral superiority, in which case – good luck with that.

    goddamn offensive. So without telling you to go f@*# yourself, you know, go…….. well, you know.

  104. 104
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Brachiator:

    You’re confusing things a bit. The 42 days was a psychiatric evaluation, which Polanski completed. Had the judge later agreed that this constituted time served, then there would be no problem.

    But Polanski fled before formal sentencing, supposedly because he feared that the judge was going to reject the previous plea deal and impose a harsher sentence.

    That’s the part I don’t get. If the court says you go to a psych ward for 90 days and you get let out after 42, doesn’t that leave you quite a bit short of the agreed-on time in your plea agreement? I’m not understanding how the Polanski camp can argue that the judge reneged on the deal when Polanski didn’t do all of the time that was in the deal.

  105. 105
    Mark S. says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I’m not understanding how the Polanski camp can argue that the judge reneged on the deal when Polanski didn’t do all of the time that was in the deal.

    I think the deal was that the judge would listen to what the shrinks suggested after the psych evaluation.

    The way the entire case was conducted was unlike any other I’ve ever read about. Polanski was allowed to keep his passport (which made fleeing the country a lot easier) and travel abroad while he was finishing a project, a liberty not afforded to many other defendants.

    I can’t find a definitive answer to this, but I really think you should be able to change your plea if the judge doesn’t agree to the plea bargain.

  106. 106
    hmd says:

    Dans ce pays ci, c’est bon, de temps en temps, de tuer un amiral prêtre pour encourager les autres.

  107. 107
    Brachiator says:

    @Mark S.:

    I can’t find a definitive answer to this, but I really think you should be able to change your plea if the judge doesn’t agree to the plea bargain.

    There was nothing preventing Polanski from changing his plea to “not guilty.” He believed that, as a celebrity, he would not be able to get a fair trail if it went to court.

    And so he fled before a formal sentence could be imposed.

    Mnemosyne – That’s the part I don’t get. If the court says you go to a psych ward for 90 days and you get let out after 42, doesn’t that leave you quite a bit short of the agreed-on time in your plea agreement? I’m not understanding how the Polanski camp can argue that the judge reneged on the deal when Polanski didn’t do all of the time that was in the deal.

    The psych evaluation was not the official sentence. I’m not sure how else to explain this.

    The judge could have included the evaluation as part of time served, but Polanski fled before the formal sentencing could be done by the court.

    The 42 days vs 90 days is not really relevant.

  108. 108
    Brachiator says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    That’s the part I don’t get. If the court says you go to a psych ward for 90 days and you get let out after 42, doesn’t that leave you quite a bit short of the agreed-on time in your plea agreement?

    Ah, also 90 days is the defined period allowed for a psych evaluation. It was completed in 42 days and Polanski was released. The plea deal is that Polanski would do time served, whatever that time turned out to be, not that Polanski would be held for a fixed period of 90 days.

  109. 109
    ericvsthem says:

    Why do Dirty Fucking Hippies hate Polanski’s freedom?

  110. 110
    Texas Dem says:

    I hate to be negative, but the discussion about what kind of punishment Polanksi deserves is probably moot because the fucker will probably never be extradited. Basically the Swiss are caught in bind. If they release Polanski they anger Americans, but if they send him back they piss off the French and Polish governments and a whole lot of prominent Europeans who are calling for his release. PREDICTION: What do you want to bet that he is accidentally released on bail and hops back over the border to France? That would solve the Swiss government’s problem quite nicely, wouldn’t it?

  111. 111
    Paragon park says:

    The amount of misinformation being prpoagated is beyond astounding.

    The plea agreement Polanski entered did not bind the judge to impose any specific sentence let alone foreclose the possibility of additional time under psyvh custody.

    The smoking gun has the plea transcript and if you take the time to read it, you will see it was clearly explained to Polanski and he acknowledged under oath that he understood, that under the terms of the plea agreement the senternce was in the sole discreton of the court and that he could be sentenced to up to one to twenty years imprisonment.

    The whole meme about the judge “reneging” on the plea agreement is entirely false. The plea agreement was not one where the court had to either impose an agreed upon sentence or reject the plea agreement entirely.

    The judge may well have had improper ex parte communications with a proseuctor, but there is no suggestion that he was going to impose an “illegal” sentence as the nuts at Talkleft are claiming. Any sentence at or less than the statutory max would have been perfectly legal. It should seem beyond misunderstanding that if a judge imposes an “illegal” sentence a defendant– especially a rich one with good lawyers– would prpomptlyu appeal and have the illegal sentence vacated.

    What Polanski feared was not an illegal sentence but a legal one which was harsher than he expected when he entered the plea agreement. that happens all the time and that is why he was expressly warned on the record that the judge could choose to give him a sentence up to the statutory maximum despite his plea agreement.

    The only remedy reserved if that happened was that Polanski would be permitted to withdraw his plea of guilty to the lesser charge and stand trial on all the counts including the ones that might have put him away far longer than was possible under the plea. for obvious reasons that option did not appeal to him. He struck a very good deal for the nature of his crime but then fled when he changed his minsd and dcided the deal wasn’t good enough.

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