Monday, June 09, 2008
A Cursed and Charmed Life--A Story Beyond Belief.
It was a L.A. County Superior Court Press Release that called my attention to this story. The court was trying to do some damage control on a minor factual issue in the HBO documentary, Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired
If the Superior Court was complaining I had to see what the fuss was about. The court was going to be exposed for a horrible example of Celebrity Injustice.
In Poland, Roman Pulaski’s Catholic mother was murdered by the Nazi’s and his father was sent to a concentration camp. Polanski lived on a farm and after attending a film school the lad escaped from then Communist Poland to France, where he was born. Soon Polanski was living the American dream finding himself quickly thrust into film making and Hollywood’s A-List.
Polanski met and married the beautiful actress, Sharon Tate. While Polanski was in Europe the Manson Family butchered Tate and her friends. The murders were ritualistic in appearance and since Polanski directed Rosemary’s Baby some muck-raking members of the international media declared Polanski as the obvious suspect. He had to morn his pretty young wife and their unborn child under the cruelest of circumstances.
One night Polanski found himself in actor Jack Nicholson’s hot tub with a delightful, nude 13 year-old girl, Samantha Geimer. A lot of champaign had been consumed by both and there was sex. In most American states that’s considered a somewhat serious crime but in Europe they are more cavalier about such things.
Soon Polanski found himself in yet another international media firestorm. During my time as a criminal defense investigator I’ve worked two celebrity cases where I learned about Celebrity Justice. As an investigative TV news producer I've covered several others.
Celebrity Justice is inherently unfair because of media involvement and the serious matter of cops, prosecutors and Judge’s behavior throughout these cases. Instead of just doing their jobs human nature prompts these players to perform and bask in their new found fame. Caught in the glare of the media floodlights was Santa Monica Superior Court Judge Laurence Rrittenbrand.
The alleged victim, Samantha Geimer and her parents did not want to see Polanski imprisoned of even jailed. A plea bargain was struck. Because of despicable judicial shenanigans by Judge Rittenbrand things became incredibly convoluted. Polanski was ordered to surrender to California’s Chino State Prison for an evaluation period of six weeks. There is nothing pretty about a diminutive young celebrity like Polanski getting sent to prison on a child sex beef. That punishment in and of itself could be a death sentence. Polanski served his time.
Soon the Judge demanded more imprisonment even though nobody, including prosecutors and probation officials were asking for that. Polanski understandably was distrustful, frightened and fled to France. France refused to allow Polanski’s extradition.
Polanski did not authorize the documentary which included participation by most people still alive today including, Samantha Geimer. Grimer forgave Polanski long ago and was an honored guest at the New York Premier of this documentary film.
Polanski is 74 years-old today and has since won an Academy Award as a Director. He’s been punished and victimized more in his life than most people on our planet. The documentary is first rate and a must see for court watchers and people working within the justice system..
It’s time for a California Governor to issue a pardon to Polanski while he is still alive for humanitarian reasons.
Watch an interview with the documentary director!