Tag Archives: rape

Sex with a minor. Should Roman Polanski be Extradited to US?

It’s been 32 years since film director Roman Polanski was tried and convicted of having sex with a 13-year-old girl. In 1977, the case drew worldwide attention, with many commentators at the time using it to show the depravity and excess of Hollywood. Polanski, fearful a judge would back out of a plea agreement and send him to prison, left the country prior to his sentencing to live in France.

roman.polanski.arrest

It must have come as quite a shock when he was arrested in Switzerland this past weekend. He was there, after all, to receive an award at the Zurich Film Festival. He’d traveled there many times before, and even maintains a home in Switzerland. Yet the ghosts of 32 years past won’t go away. It’s possible Roman Polanski will be extradited to the US to face the sentence he ran away from all those years ago.

Ironically, it could also mean freedom. A lot has happened since Polanski was convicted, and his legal team has been fighting his conviction based on allegations of prosecutorial misconduct. Those were chronicled in a documentary, “Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired” released last year. Regardless, Polanski’s arrest has set off not just a legal tussle, but a diplomatic storm involving the Swiss, French, US, and Polish governments.

Polanski has spent the past 32 years as the world’s most celebrated convicted child molester. Despite the time facing him in the US, he’s directed films around the world apparently without fear of getting busted and sent back. He’s now a French citizen, and France has no formal extradition treaty with the US. He even received an Oscar in absentia for the 2002 film “The Pianist”. Despite having to be careful about where he went, Polanski hasn’t exactly lived as a wanted man.

Roman Polanski 2009

Which leads to a few questions. How badly over the past 32 years has the US actually wanted him back here to do his time? There are reports US marshals came close to busting him on several occasions, but for one reason or another, Roman Polanski eluded their grasp. Then there’s the question of whether Polanski’s obvious and extraordinary talent and his tragic past mitigates his original crime.

For those who may have forgotten, the guy was originally charged with drugging a 13 year old girl, then having sex with her. The original charges could have landed him in prison for life, but he plea bargained down to a single count of having sex with a minor.

The victim, Samantha Geimer, publicly identified herself a long time ago, and has forgiven Polanski.

Samantha Geimer
Samantha Geimer

She also sued him, and received an unspecified settlement. So the question remains, what to do about Roman Polanski?

Should he be brought back here to serve the typical 16 months to three years he’s avoided all this time? Should the protests of France and Poland be heeded, and Polanski released from custody in Switzerland? If he does come back here, is there a good chance the original case will be thrown out? What’s best?

Take my poll on the left and post a comment here!

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Death Penalty. If At First You Don’t Succeed-Execute ’em Again?

I don’t know exactly where I got this idea from, but I always thought if any state botched an execution, they didn’t get a second chance. The condemned man (or woman), or so I believed, would be consigned to life in prison. I guess I was wrong on that one!

The state of Ohio tried to execute a convicted murderer/rapist named the other day. In fact, they spent two solid hours trying to find a vein suitable to inject a lethal cocktail of drugs. No luck.

So, they’ve decided to try again next week.

There is precedent for this. Back in 1946, the state of Louisiana tried and failed to electrocute convicted murderer Willie Francis. They succeeded the following year, after the Supreme Court ruled in essence that once is not enough in the case of execution attempts.

Ohio itself has had it’s share of problems with lethal injection protocols. Twice before, executions were delayed for more than an hour because the executioners couldn’t find a suitable vein. As you might expect, a number of civil liberties groups like the ACLU want to stop Ohio from taking a second shot at Romell Broom. One of his lawyers, who watched the attempt Tuesday on a closed circuit television screen, said Broom was in obvious pain during the botched procedure.

Romell Broom
Romell Broom

The question then becomes whether pain inflicted during an unsuccessful execution becomes cruel and unusual punishment. For me personally, the answer is simple. I am opposed to capital punishment. I don’t believe the state has the right to murder any more than any citizen does, period. However, I have many friends, good people, who disagree with me on this.

They point to the pain and suffering of the victim, who, in the case of Romell Broom, was a 14 year old girl named Tryna Middleton. She was abducted, raped, and murdered by this man back in 1984. If she were alive, she’d be one year shy of her 40th birthday. There is a case to be made for taking into account the fact that her life was cut short by the senseless act of a lowlife.

Bessye Middleton holds a painting of her daughter, Tryna, in Cleveland Heights on Sept. 8. Romell Broom was to be executed Tuesday for raping and murdering Tryna in 1984, but the fatal drugs could not be administered.
Bessye Middleton holds a painting of her daughter, Tryna, in Cleveland Heights on Sept. 8. Romell Broom was to be executed Tuesday for raping and murdering Tryna in 1984, but the fatal drugs could not be administered.

And yet, what is gained by trying to kill Romell Broom next week? The state of Ohio obviously doesn’t have its act together when it comes to executions. Cold comfort comes from Terry Collins, director of the state’s corrections department. “ I have confidence that my team will be able to do its job.”

Like he’s talking about a bunch of Starbucks baristas.

Legal experts say they doubt a second execution attempt will take place as scheduled next Tuesday. Legal appeals are almost certain to derail that. Yet in the end, Ohio seems bound and determined to take a second shot here. What do you think?

Should Ohio make a second attempt at executing convicted murderer Romell Broom?

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