The Awful French

From the NYT on Roman Polanski’s arrest.

Jack Lang, a former French culture minister, said that for Europeans the development showed that the American system of justice had run amok.

“Sometimes, the American justice system shows an excess of formalism,” Mr. Lang said, “like an infernal machine that advances inexorably and blindly.”

An infernal machine that advances inexorably and blindly.

Yes, that’s right. Pardon my… French… but that’s the whole fucking point.

What would be the alternative? A system of Justice that attunes itself to artistic merit and excuses the crimes of those who enjoy particular patronage? Should an Oscar amount to a Get out of Jail Free card?

Roman Polanski drugged, raped, and sodomized a 13 year old girl.

Arresting him for fleeing sentencing (he pled guilty) for that crime is justice “run amok?”

Update:

From John Farr’s execrable column, “Leniency for Polanski”:

This new arrest also smacks of a sneak attack on the now 76-year-old director, who’s been remarried to actress Emmanuelle Seigner for two decades. (He’s probably reformed by now , don’t you think?)

“Sneak attack?” executing a 3o-year old arrest warrant is a sneak attack? What about plying a child with alcohol and Quaaludes? Oh… and he’s married. Well then! Married and a famous movie director? He is surely beyond all law.

From Bernard Henri-Levy’s “Rally Behind Polanksi”,

He risks extradition to the United States for an episode that happened years ago and whose principal plaintiff repeatedly and emphatically declares she has put it behind her and abandoned any wish for legal proceedings.

“Episode?” How about “Rape?”

There is no “plaintiff” in this case. A plaintiff exists in a tort, this was a crime. The state prosecutes crimes, not the victim.

Update 2:

Yes, I know that a movie was made about the Polanski trial. Yes, I know that allegations were made that there may have been judicial misconduct leading up to the sentencing. But that’s a movie, those allegations have not been tried because Polanski fled the country and refuses to appear before a Los Angeles court. If the allegations in Wanted and Desired have not exculpated Polanski it is because Polanski remains a fugitive.

There are three legal issues invlved in the Polanski case:

1) He drugged, raped, and sodomized a 13 year old girl. He plea-bargained and pled guilty to a lesser offense.

2) He fled the country before sentencing for that crime.

3) Allegations have been made that the Judge in the trial (now deceased) had improper dealings with a prosecutor (not the one who tried the case) and may have intended to reneg on the plea-bargain and impose a harsher sentence than 42 days time served.

The issue in 3) cannot be resolved until the issue in 2) has been resolved. Anyone who argues otherwise, is arguing one or more of the following:

1) Victims of persecution should be immune from prosecution for crimes–like rape–because… well I’ve never actually seen the because part argued coherently.

2) She asked for it.

3) He was, like, really cool and made a couple of totally awesome movies and, like, come on it was, like, so long ago and she’s not even famous.

4) She was totally hot and he was really horny so it’s OK.

5) Diane Von Fostenburg thinks he should go free.

6) He’s married.

7) He’s 76 dude… he’s like old. Isn’t being old punishment enough?