Saturday, October 3, 2009

I signed this

COUNTER-PETITION: Roman Polanski Must Face Justice. If you've done any work for Hollywood, you can sign it, too.

And, if not, you can check on a few of the Hollywood folks who understand that "no" means "no," and rich guys shouldn't be held to a separate standard of justice.

PS. The site has a lot of rightwing nonsense. I signed the petition because of Ed Bernero's Polanski Apologists Don’t Speak for All of Us in Hollywood. Rape is not about politics.


  1. Not dismissing the act: I do find it interesting that the victim has said she doesn't believe he should be punished, it was thirty years ago and she believes he is truly sorry, yet we are very concerned with the desire to prosecute by people who were neither the victim nor family of the victim.

  2. Whether victims should have the right to choose to press charges does bother me a bit, but I think the point of law is to take matters of vengeance and mercy away from victims to let an ostensibly impartial system decide.

  3. Also, you can't unpress charges once you've already pressed them. Given that Polanski was actually convicted of a crime and fled before sentencing, one of the victims in this case is the state.

  4. That's true about what the law is supposed to do (though I'm not entirely convinced it should), though I have issues with the idea that the State is actually impartial and that it can be a "victim".

    Regardless, I just found it interesting that the people calling for blood aren't the people actually affected by the crime or in danger of being harmed by the perpetrator.

    (And I'll repeat: not that any of that excuses or forgives the action itself.)

  5. I feel the same way, Raven. She has a right to a life not defined by rape, and the way it has been handled is nightmarish from her viewpoint. If she wants it all to go away after 30 years of scandal & suffering, I think her wishes should be honoured. The State screwed up, and shouldn't get to continue this process against her will.

  6. Hmmm... interesting. The state as victim isn't sophistry, it's just the way the legal system works. We could do away with the entire legal system in honor of Roman Polanski, I suppose. Might be fun. Probably wouldn't result in a just world, but that was always a joke anyway.

    On the other hand, even if the State of California dropped their case, that doesn't mean any of this would go away for the girl who was raped. It doesn't go away. Even without a brewing court battle, people know, the media knows... and they'll dredge it back up any time they like. That's one of the reasons why rape victims often don't report the crime.

  7. My current, very ignorant understanding is that charges can be dropped in civil cases, but not in criminal cases. If so, that might be a way to sidestep the "state as victim" metaphor.

    Or it might help to think of "community" instead of "state." Emma said something about how it's important to tell everyone who's been raped that their society thinks that's wrong and will do all that's possible to prevent it from happening again.

  8. That's correct. Civil charges are brought by the victim and can be dropped by the victim.

    It is possible for a person to avoid pressing criminal charges simply by not reporting a crime (which is technically illegal) or by being uncooperative (which makes it difficult for the prosecutor to build a case), but it is ultimately up to the government whether or not a criminal case comes to trial. Victims have no real control either way. The only change recent focus on victim's rights seems to have brought about is the tendency to be more punitive in sentencing with regards to certain types of crime. That doesn't exactly help the people who would just as soon drop a case.

    In the case of Polanski, the original victim is out of the loop at this point. (Although I understand she actually did bring a civil suit against him and win it.) Criminal charges were brought. He pleaded guilty to a lesser charge in order to avoid a trial. Then he fled the country. It's certainly possible that he was railroaded into plea bargaining or that there was prosecutorial misconduct, but if everybody who had that happen to them was allowed to run away, our prisons wouldn't be nearly as full and France would have a much larger population. (Come to think of it, that's maybe not such a bad deal. For those of us who don't happen to live in France anyway.)

    "Community" in place of "State" probably is more apt. The community suffers if we pick and choose who gets charged with crimes based on how much we like their art. The community would probably benefit if we took more account of the preferences of those who have been victimized when making sentencing decisions.

  9. aspyre, I see that. But the reason it's been dragged out is because Polanski ran away. For good or bad, this tells victims that even rich and respected rapists will be held accountable for their crimes.