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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Roman Polanski and Statutory Crime

The story of Roman Polanski is interesting. He is a famous filmmaker who has made several popular movies.

In 1977, he raped a 13 year old girl. He was arrested. He was charged with several crimes, but plea bargained for a lesser statutory rape charge which would have led to 90 days in jail and probably being deported. Instead of serving his sentence, he fled the country. He lived in France and for many years, which does not have an extradition treaty with the USA.

He went to Switzerland to accept a filmmaking award, and the Swiss police arrested him. He is being detained for extradition to the USA.

The girl filed a civil lawsuit against him. There was a settlement, although the sources I read didn't indicate if he actually paid her.

The mainstream media is making a big deal about Roman Polanski's extradition to the USA. Outside the USA, the attitude seems to be "It was 30 years ago! Let it go and move on!" In the USA, the attitude seems to be "He is a criminal and must be brought to justice!"

This is fake justice and not real justice. Real justice is paying compensation to the victim. Kidnapping a productive person and putting them in jail accomplishes nothing, especially when there is no risk of a repeat offense.

A pro-State troll says "If the only penalty for crime is compensation to the victim, then won't a rich person just commit crimes for no penalty?" First, a rich person can commit crimes with no penalty in the present. One famous example is O.J. Simpson hiring expensive lawyers so he would get acquitted. There also are crimes explicitly encouraged by the State, such as trillions of dollars stolen via bailouts. In the present, State insiders usually allow other State insiders to commit crimes with no penalty.

Second, a repeat offender would owe punitive damages in addition to compensatory damages. If you murder several people on purpose, that's a more severe penalty than killing someone once.

Third, suppose the fine for murder is $X. A rich person uses this fact to murder with impunity, paying off the fine. Then, some relative of the victim says "I'm going to get my revenge and murder you. The $X I owe you cancels the $X you owe me."

Fourth, without State violence, it would be very hard to accumulate a ridiculously huge amount of wealth. Most of the people who earn millions of dollars a year or more, do so via State violence. The State allows a handful of people to earn huge salaries while doing no useful work.

Finally, a repeat murderer would have a hard time finding anyone to do business with him.

In free market justice, the important principle is compensation to the victim. Punitive damages are added to discourage flagrant criminal behavior or gross negligence. For example, a psychiatrist who says "These drugs are helpful!" when they are really harmful is guilty of murder. That is an example of murder by gross negligence rather than murdering someone intentionally. As another example, suppose you are constructing a building, don't take proper safety precautions, and someone is injured. Then, you owe punitive damages in addition to compensatory damages.

The mainstream media article I read said "That's odd. In the USA, public opinion favors Roman Polanski's extradition and jailing. In France and Switzerland, public opinion favors his release!" The mainstream media is hyping the urgent need for his kidnapping and torture.

My first reaction was "So what? He goes back to the USA, serves his 90 days, and then goes back to France. What's the problem?" The problem is that "Refusing to show up for sentencing!" is a separate crime, more serious than raping someone. The fact that he refused to show up for sentencing invalidates his original plea agreement.

This is an important principle of corrupt State law. "Crimes against the State!" are more serious than "Crimes against an individual!" The victim of the rape would rather the issue not be pressed further. She does not have that option. Once the machinery of the State has identified you as a criminal, there's nothing you can do, even if the victim doesn't desire the criminal to be jailed. The interests of the victim are irrelevant.

In a criminal trial, it is not "victim vs. criminal". It is "State vs. criminal". Roman Polanski is guilty of damaging State property, when he raped that girl. He also committed the statutory crime of refusing to show up for his jail term. By disrespecting the State, Roman Polanski is a serious criminal.

In free market justice, a crime must have a specific victim. Roman Polanski's prosecution and the mainstream media hype is an evil fnord. The point is to emphasize "Statutory crime really is a crime!" Roman Polanski is being prosecuted for dodging his sentencing, and not for the lesser crime of rape.

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