Friday, October 2, 2009

Schwarzenegger on Polanski

People magazine is all over California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger regarding a potential pardon for Roman Polanski. This article features the following quotes from the Governor:
"It doesn't matter if you are a big-time movie actor or a big-time movie director or producer, I think that he is a very respected person, and I am a big admirer of his work. But nevertheless, I think he should be treated like everyone else ... One should look into all of the allegations, not only his allegations but the allegations about his case. Was there something done wrong? You know, was injustice done in the case?"
The People headline reads "Schwarzenneger: No Pardon for Polanski." But PardonPower fails to see how that is the proper interpretation of the remarks, even as they are yanked from context. What the Governor has clearly said is that he will consider any clemency application from Polanski as he would any other application, from any one else. And, if the Governor finds reason to grant clemency, he will. If he does not, he will not. Far from saying "no," the governor is already interested in "the case" and whether or not anything was "done wrong." If anything, the use of the word "injustice" has to be considered a plus by Polanski supporters.


Charles Berthold said...

I'm not all that familiar with the case. My understanding is he entered a guilty plea and skipped. His plea would seem to suggest ownership of the crime (sex with a drugged 13 y.o.). Whether or not she gave consent is irrelevant since she was not legally capable of doing so. He should serve some time. It strikes me as premature for a pardon to be even considered.

P.S. Ruckman, Jr. said...

Editor:A not-so-uncommon resolution to such cases is for the accused to turn himself/herself in to authorities. Then the plea for mercy is made to court ("It was my first offense, I have been law abiding, I have contributed to this and that, the victim has forgiven me, etc. etc."). The judge then has the option of showing mercy (suspending the sentence or providing a very small punishment) or throwing the book at them. In the cases that I have seen, public sentiment seems to play a very large role in what the judge does. Here, there interesting thing is that there might be two very divided "publics" (the general public and an elite public) as was the cast with Scooter Libby.

John said...

For a state that locks people away for life for stealing a package of gum (i.e. California's three strikes policy), I think that even talk of a pardon for what Roman Polanski did is unjust. He drugged and had sex with a minor. He left the country for over two decades. He deserves to sit in jail.

I realize that in Hollywood celebrities often get preferential treatment, but for such a high profile crime, it will be a farce if California lets him off with just a slap on the wrist.

I'm a 3L at Barry Law, located in Orlando, Florida and am a research assistant for Professor Leonard Birdsong. I would appreciate a visit to his website, at:


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