Thursday, October 01, 2009

Why Polanski Should Be Freed

For all those clamoring to see Roman Polanski extradited for his 32-year-old statutory rape, the fact that is forgotten here is that determination of guilt is no longer a legal issue. Polanski agreed many years ago to plead guilty to "unlawful sexual intercourse" under a deal that sentenced him to time served in a mental institution, which he had completed.

If the court revisits the plea bargain in a case this high a public profile, then no prosecutor in the United States will be believed ever again.

This means that every case will have to go through trial, even slam-dunk, open-and-shut cases. It will clog the courts to the point that no one will ever get their constitutionally guaranteed speedy trial. Fewer people will be convicted of crimes they committed and, one way or another, thousands of seriously dangerous criminals will walk free.

Is the Puritan yen to pin yet another scarlet letter on another public figure that strong? Is it worth it?
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