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Chan Lowe cartoon: Polanski: Roman no more

genius.gifWhy bother with this guy?

Let's face it: He's in his seventies. That thing he did with the 13-year-old girl was thirty years ago or more, and he hasn't broken the law since. He made a cash settlement with her, and she doesn't want to pursue charges any more. Plus, look at all the magnificent films he's made. One of the greatest cinematic minds of our time.

As for the first part of that argument, which is being peddled by the French, the Poles, and the Hollywood glitterati among others: It's not up to the girl. Society has an interest in the pursuit of justice. The crime to which Polanski confessed was against all of us.

To extend this argument logically, John Demjanjuk was shabbily treated. After all, his alleged crimes against humanity as a Nazi prison camp guard occurred over sixty years ago. He lived a nondescript, law-abiding life ever since as an autoworker in Cleveland. He was deported once to Israel for trial, found guilty, had the verdict overturned, and returned to the U.S. He's now in Germany awaiting another trial at the age of 89. I wonder how the French, the Poles, and Hollywood would have felt if he'd been discovered and the Justice Department had decided to just let bygones be bygones.

No, he was deported to face justice, which is as it should be. The same reasoning applies to Roman Polanski. If there are those who think the brilliance of his movies might exonerate him if he is found guilty at trial, then film critics can be brought in to testify as expert witnesses.

That would cover the second part of the argument. And who knows...he might get a jury full of film buffs.

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Never thought it would happen but I agree with you Chan. For those who say he's suffered enough, I say he hasn't suffered until his testicles have been removed!

Of course the Polanski Defense is nearly verbatim the Clinton Defense. Every "argument" employed for Roman was first concocted and honed as for Bill a decade ago and to this day. Clinton is the most notorious rapist in the world, yes, even before Polanski, and he roams not just the globe but the global stage unfettered, unfazed and unapologetic. Anyone allegedly surprised by the Polanski defense was not paying attention, and therefore not outraged.

Wow... I thought that had all been forgotten, years ago. Here, in Oregon, an ex-Governor raped a 13-year-old, long ago... covered it up, made payments to the victim, etc., and avoided prosecution because of the Statute of Limitations. I think HE needs to have his testicles removed, too.

As to Demjanjuk, I fear he is the scape-goat for thousands of WWII Red Army POWs who opted for life as a death-camp guard rather than death as a Russian in a German POW camp.

Don't ya wish everything was black & white?

The problem that I see with your argument, is that you are basically asserting that the legal system should not adapt itself to the unique circumstances of the crime.

Here, clearly, the victim no longer feels victimized enough to press charges, and the accused has no committed any further crimes. If the goal of the legal system is to deal with crime, clearly there is no longer any crime here to be dealt with. Extraditing the guy, trying him, and if found guilty, sticking him in a cage would merely be a waste of government resources.

Upholding "the law" is irrelevant to a productive legal system. Insisting on justice, when there is no discernible injustice, is zealotry beyond reason or use. It's just plain silly.

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About the author
Chan LoweCHAN LOWE has been the Sun Sentinel’s first and only editorial cartoonist for the past twenty-six years. Before that, he worked as cartoonist and writer for the Oklahoma City Times and the Shawnee (OK) News-Star.

Chan went to school in New York City, Los Angeles, and the U.K., and graduated from Williams College in 1975 with a degree in Art History. He also spent a year at Stanford University as a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow.

His work has won numerous awards, including the Green Eyeshade Award and the National Press Foundation Berryman Award. He has also been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His cartoons have won multiple first-place awards in all of the Florida state journalism contests, and The Lowe-Down blog, which he began in 2008, has won writing awards from the Florida Press Club and the Society of Professional Journalists.
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