Director Roman Polanski was arrested on September 27th during a trip to the Zurich film festival, where he was to be given a lifetime achievement award for his work.  The United States will attempt to extradite him in relation to the rape of a 13 year old girl in 1977.

The prosecution alleges that Polanski gave the girl champagne and a partial Quaalude after a photo shoot and then had sex with her.  Clearly, this was wrong, and I won’t attempt to convince you otherwise.

However, I do believe that it is time to drop the case against Polanski.

Polanski plead guilty to engaging in unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor.  After serving 42 days in prison undergoing a psychiatric evaluation, Polanski expected to be sentenced to time served and probation, per the terms of his plea deal.  When the judge told Polanski’s attorneys that he would send Polanski to prison and have him deported – contrary to the plea deal – Polanski fled to France, where he has resided for the last 30 years.

Judges do have the right to overrule plea agreements if they feel that they are not a fair resolution to the case.  Many times, I would be OK with this.  However, in this particular case, the victim of the crime has repeatedly stated her opposition to the judge’s intentions, and has even filed paperwork asking that the case be dropped.  Bear in mind that the victim is no longer a fragile 13 year old girl, but a 45 year old woman.  She has had 32 years to think about this and form an opinion – this is not some off-the-cuff comment.  If she wants the case dropped, perhaps we should listen to her.  I do not believe her statements are financially motivated – she reached a financial settlement with Polanski decades ago.

So, then whose interest is the district attorney representing?  Certainly not the victim’s, since she wants the case dropped.  Perhaps you could make the case that he is representing society, to make sure that Polanksi does not reoffend.  However, this appears a bit unlikely at this stage in Polanski’s life.  I’m not saying that it’s impossible, but I’d be very surprised to see this.

Polanski has lived a life with incredible peaks and valleys.  He grew up in Poland and was sent to the Krakow Ghetto by the Nazis during World War II.  Both of his parents were sent to concentration camps; his mother died in Auschwitz.

In 1969, his pregnant wife, Sharon Tate, was savagely murdered by members of the notorious Manson Family as part of a slaughter at Polanski’s home (Polanski himself was out of town at the time of the murders).  Tate was stabbed sixteen times as she was held down and begged for her assailants to spare her life and the life of the unborn child.

In the midst of this tragedy, he has woven together a masterful career.  Polanski is the director of Oscar winning films Rosemary’s Baby, Chinatown, Tess, and The Pianist, as well as many other critically acclaimed movies.