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So, hey! Let's talk Polanski!
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JaySeaver
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 03, 2009 10:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rob Gonsalves wrote:
Has anyone read the actual petition? It makes a fairly good point:

Quote:
By their extraterritorial nature, film festivals the world over have always permitted works to be shown and for filmmakers to present them freely and safely, even when certain States opposed this.


The point being that, if you're a filmmaker who has broken some law — say, you made a film criticizing your own repressive government and you had to go into exile — you may no longer be safe. The many directors who signed the petition are probably not taking a stance of "PEDOPHILIA YAY!" so much as being worried about the precedent set by the particular manner of Polanski's apprehension.

I read it, and maybe someone less ignorant/lazy/unskilled with Google can give me an example of this extraterritorial nature. I can't, off the top of my head, think of an example of a festival inviting a criminal or international fugitive as a guest with the tacit or explicit co-operation of the host government. In fact, hasn't Polanski historically declined a great many festival invitations because governments would not provide such assurances and this would give the U.S./California authorities the definite time and place they needed to request he be picked up?

Certainly, as soon as I saw that position, my mind went to the artist persecuted in the homeland for his political views, and I hate the idea that extraditing a child rapist will likely make festivals more cautious with filmmakers making important works in and about repressive regimes. Still, I think that in those cases, the festivals and governments can work to handle political exiles differently than, well, Roman Polanski.

Part of the trouble with having principles is that you don't get to choose when you want to defend them; maybe a bunch of the people on the list would, if asked privately and anonymously, say that this is absolutely not the guy that they want to go to the wall for. I have my doubts that they have to do so, though.
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 04, 2009 8:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alex Paquin wrote:
Edit: Tell you what: I'll look into writing something for the Court of Public Opinion. The stuff I'm reading in the French press is too good to let it go to waste. Even there an intellectuals/public divide is appearing.

Even if you don't do it as "Court of Public Opinion", I for one would like to read it.

One thing I just thought of - Wes Anderson's name is one of the first on the petition, more due to alphabetic order than anything else. Anyone else think that someone from Fox News (or some similar organization) will pounce on that when the release of Fantastic Mr. Fox gets a little closer?
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 04, 2009 10:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think that petition is well beyond 100 names now...

http://www.sacd.fr/Tous-les-signataires-de-la-petition-All-signing-parties.1341.0.html
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 06, 2009 3:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Swiss courts have denied Polanski bail.

I can't imagine why. Still, I'd love to have seen his lawyer try to keep a straight face during the proceedings.
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 06, 2009 7:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here, by the way, is the letter Harvey Weinstein wrote in support of Polanski. (I wonder if I could have gotten away with writing about the "so-called Holocaust" or the "so-called Manson family").

(Also, did anyone notice that the Court of Public Opinion logo is misspelt?)
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 07, 2009 4:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The guy that quit the site three years ago has written more than I have lately. That's messed up. (Nice work and welcome back, but still. Messed up.)
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 07, 2009 11:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alex Paquin wrote:
Here, by the way, is the letter Harvey Weinstein wrote in support of Polanski. (I wonder if I could have gotten away with writing about the "so-called Holocaust" or the "so-called Manson family").

(Also, did anyone notice that the Court of Public Opinion logo is misspelt?)


"...so-called crime..."? Geez, Harvey, you're kind of a bastard. I read on another site that artistic endowment shouldn't be considered when deciding if a man should pay for a crime or not...after all, Charles Manson could play the guitar and Hitler could paint.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 07, 2009 2:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Also, if some of you want to practise your French (or your BabelFish ninja copy-paste skills), this link is also quite interesting.

http://www.maitre-eolas.fr/post/2009/09/29/Quelques-mots-sur-l-affaire-Polanski

The first link in the text is to the US-Swiss extradition treaty of 1990.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 07, 2009 8:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alex Paquin wrote:
(Also, did anyone notice that the Court of Public Opinion logo is misspelt?)


Eek.

CharlesTatum wrote:
and Hitler could paint.


But he couldn't get the fucking trees.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2009 1:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah, how the worm turns:

Quote:
France’s new culture minister, Frédéric Mitterrand, who has defended the filmmaker Roman Polanski against extradition charges for statutory rape, was attacked on Wednesday for his admission in a 2005 autobiography, “The Bad Life,” that he “got into the habit” of paying “young boys” for sex in Southeast Asia despite “the sordid details of this traffic.” Mr. Mitterrand, who is a nephew of former President François Mitterrand, faced calls for his resignation from the far-right National Front.


EDIT: Oh, and another gem: Jonathan Rosenbaum in the New York Times: "It’s his fame that fuels this event and discussion, not the specifics or the morality of what he may or may not have done some 30-odd years ago."

I think I'll remain on top of this and add new evidence as I read about it.

FURTHER EDIT: And here is a quite fascinating quote which has been making the rounds lately (though I heard about the essay it's in while reading a completely unconnected book yesterday, and now fret that I can't say it's an original find):

Quote:
If Shakespeare returned to the earth to-morrow, and if it were found that his favourite recreation was raping little girls in railway carriages, we should not tell him to go ahead with it on the ground that he might write another KING LEAR.

That's George Orwell on Dali.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2009 8:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For those still interested in this story:

Polanski called some of the support he received "counterproductive".

Meanwhile, French President Nicolas Sarkozy supports him.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2009 9:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

French President Nicolas Sarkozy wrote:
But I add that it is not a good administration of justice to do this 32 years after the facts when the person concerned is today 76 years old.

Wow. If only the nation of France could have done something to allow for a more timely administration of justice.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2009 10:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, it's what makes the case particularly interesting. And I always like to compare this to Maurice Papon, the WWII war criminal whom the Republic had no problem with incarcerating at the age of 89. Bernard-Henri Lévy would have let Papon die in jail, even at age 96; now he spearheads the petition to release Polanski on the grounds that he's too old, and it's been so long.

Granted, not of the same magnitude, but a crime's a crime.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2009 1:27 pm    Post subject: More Favoritism for the Famous Reply with quote

"...so-called crime..."? Geez, Harvey, you're kind of a bastard. I read on another site that artistic endowment shouldn't be considered when deciding if a man should pay for a crime or not...after all, Charles Manson could play the guitar and Hitler could paint.[/quote]

He's not "kind of a bastard" - he's moral filth with legs. I thought Hollwood was Liberal. Isn't Feminism part of Liberalism?

As for Whoopi..geez. Where to begin?
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 08, 2010 3:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

MP Bartley wrote:
Sorry, Rob, I don't agree.

He had sex with a 13-year-old girl, plied her with drink and quaaludes that promote euphoria and drowsiness and then fled justice.

She doesn't want it all dragged back up? I don't blame her one bit and I wouldn't either, but the justice system isn't about what she wants necessarily.

This is the right thing that's been done.


She just want to keep away from all these hassles.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 12, 2010 7:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not wanting to troll here like timtim, but I was reading Polanski's recent reviews for his latest movie and also how he was doing in Switzerland.

Still in house arrest I gather.

the vitriol here seems to be the same from all over, however, there's one thing that i've noticed that its really bothering me here regarding this case and I sensed it even then when Alex wrote his column.

This whole issue with Polanski, the way its been handled by the media, and the reactions from people from both sides about either him being a changed man to people wanting to throw him in jail and be made an example. The vitriol is such, that in all honesty, I can't see any sense of a demand for justice. This whole debacle reeks more like asking for revenge rather than justice. People want blood, they could give two shits about the victim who by the way, wants this case to be dropped. No, they don't care about that, they want to see a famout guy who raped this woman in jail or hanged by the nearest tree.

Justice and vengeance. is there a difference?

Oh, and on a sidenote, a congressman here in Utah admitted to sitting naked in a hot tub with an underage girl, strongly denying anything happened (Really? I mean, seriously, REALLY?), and he got applauded for that. That's right, here in old conservative Utah, he got applauded for that. For this thing that's like 25 years ago.

http://trueslant.com/saralibby/2010/03/12/kevin-garn-cheryl-maher-hot-tub-utah/

Where are the Polanski bashers here denouncing this vey man, ruining his career, and asking for his resignation? There doesn't seem to be a sense of desiring justice here, now is there? Is justice such a volatile thing? Or is it really due to our blood boiling desiring "justice/revenge" that we suddenly demand it?

Considering all the attacks and all the crap that Polanski has gotten from blood-thirsty people desiring the absolute worst for him, and seeing this case here as counterpart, I fail to see anyone who really wants "the right thing" to be done. I think what's going on here is that they want Polanksi to be (and in some ways he already is) their favorite poster boy for everything that is wrong about society, or in this case, child rape, simply because he's this world known famous director and has more recognition than some jackass congressman from Utah. Since that's more often than not turning out to be the case, I rather have them drop the whole fucking case and simply say "forget about it, you had your chance, you blew it, now go bother someone else."

Pfft, who knows? Maybe I'm tired of hearing about this god damn case everytime a new Polanski movie pops up.

Anyways, that's my 2 cents. Debate away if you wish...
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 13, 2010 3:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think that the key to the Polanski debate, as outlined by at least one article from the time of his arrest, is your nefarious culture war. The problem I have with it is that the same side never fails to claim the moral high ground, even though its actions are no less vicious than those perpetrated by the "great unwashed" it so ardently opposes.

One side would gladly hang Polanski if it could lay its hands on him; the other jumps through hoops to excuse him. That's where the whole "revenge" thing comes in, and yes, it bothers me, especially since I sided with those supporting his extradition.

I could hardly make an argumentation more complete or concise than that which was posted in a Newsweek blog, or add much beyond what I already wrote in my article here, but I'll go about it this way:

-There is little doubt that Polanski committed the act for which he was extradited. Polanski himself confessed to it. The only possible way to claim otherwise would be to pretend that he was the victim of a frame-up so extensive and convincing that he was better off by plea bargaining instead of reasserting his innocence; and as far as I know, nobody claimed that much. Not even Polanski.

-Several of the people who supported Polanski invoked the rights of the artist, and even the extraterritoriality of film festivals such as the one he was meant to attend; except that film festivals are not exempt from laws, and the entire debate over artists' rights is moot here, because he was not arrested in relation to the content of one of his films. It's a thorny issue, but here it is neatly bypassed by the circumstances of his crime.

-It exposed the double standard exhibited by those involved who supported him. Bernard-Henri Lévy was by far the most interesting target, he who would let a dying Maurice Papon expire in jail, but who objects to an apparently healthy Polanski, more than a decade younger, being extradited. In comparison to Polanski, Papon's crimes are of the most serious magnitude -- he was in charge of deporting Jews to concentration camps in Vichy France -- but the reasons Lévy gave against Papon also matched the particulars of Polanski's case. Polanski never expressed any guilt, and revisionism is already affecting his case, as exemplified by Weinstein and even Jonathan Rosenbaum. Worse, Papon himself had fled to Switzerland; the Swiss handed him back.

(Lévy's credibility is probably at its nadir right now, after he published a book on philosophy in which he unwittingly quoted from a hoax essay on Kant's sex life, attributed to a fictional author named Botul. Lévy's suspicion apparently wasn't even aroused by Botul allegedly having given rise to a school of thought named Botulism. Worse, he backtracked by saying it didn't matter, as the hoax article was compatible with what he was thinking of Kant anyway.)

-Whether the victim now wants the charge dropped is also irrelevant. It's a criminal matter now, and in fact all that is left to do isn't even the trial, it's the sentencing. Callous as it may sound, the administration of justice is something that goes beyond the wishes of the victim. Not pursuing the matter means you tacitly approve what Polanski has done (not the statutory rape, but his escape from justice). Especially since he was able to flee and find shelter in France because (1) he was French; (2) he was famous. Would a common criminal have received the same welcome in Paris after breaking the law in the US? I doubt it. And by the way, "unlawful sex with a minor" applies whether the victim consented to it or not.

That's why my approach ended up being at odds with what I found in most of the American public opinion. I supported his arrest, but on egalitarian grounds -- in this case, equality before the law. Both sides seek to make him an exception, one by giving him preferential treatment, the others by making him, as you said, a whipping boy. Your American Right is seemingly incapable of discerning between "Law and Order" and a certain "if we can nail an artist, let's do it" that lurks underneath it. Which just makes it easier for your oh-so-compassionate Left to step in and claim Polanski is being artistically persecuted.

I was not aware of that politician's case until you mentioned it. His story seems to be bullshit, but I suspect it's just a matter of political orientation. Had he been a Democrat (remember Clinton?), these Polanski vultures would have been at his throat already. Hypocrites? Yes, but not totally unexpected -- and it would most likely work both ways: I'm sure that if you stuck a microphone in front of Harvey Weinstein on this issue, we wouldn't get the line about the "so-called crime" again.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 13, 2010 9:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It depends I guess on where exactly the court stands regarding the judgement. Apparently there are no more hearings scheduled. If the trial were still open, and the victim willfully withdrew the charge and seeked to drop it, the state would have no case and the charge would be dismissed. But since all testimonies are already in the log there is a verdict to be made. Problem is, Polanski is fighting extradition. I don't think because he knows he's guilty (in all reality, he probably is), but if he turns himself in, he'll lose any form of rights he may have as a private citizen and perhaps his ability to defend himself and his already shaky reputation. That's one theory; you know the other.

The whole thing about dropping the charge, I ain't necessarily saying that if the case drops, you're condoning his actions. I'm simply saying that this case should have been resolved years ago. Due to the amount of time it has passed and ensuing hoopla over the years, it is very hard to make a proper judgement nowadays because of it, because yes, you may want the law to be applied with due dilligence, but will the verdict be just? Who knows...

As for the whole thing regarding France taking him in, well, that also has its share of controversies. France as you know values "citizens of high importance to culture" and its patriots. THe French Connection for example, the main baddie behind that specific part of the connection, Jean Jehan, was actually a WWII hero, and because of that, despite the fact that he was caught red-handed with a car full of heroin in New York, when the US Authorities asked for his extradition, the French Government denied it for this very reason.

So, I don't know exactly what the French 's guidelines are regarding the protection of its citizens, but apparently, there's more to the story than what we can understand.

That, plus the fact that I believe that a female is considered an adult after what? 12-13 years of age, If I remember correctly. And believe it or not, some states in the US have similar laws as well.

I'm with you however in the thing about the cultural war. It's just sickening, especially watching assholes posting comments condeming Emmanuelle Sagnier that she's playing victim through this whole ordeal, when she's simply saying that she misses her husband and their KIDS, their KIDS miss their father. Just makes me pissed off seeing the amount of spineless assholes that are on the internet.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 13, 2010 11:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Slyder wrote:
As for the whole thing regarding France taking him in, well, that also has its share of controversies. France as you know values "citizens of high importance to culture" and its patriots. THe French Connection for example, the main baddie behind that specific part of the connection, Jean Jehan, was actually a WWII hero, and because of that, despite the fact that he was caught red-handed with a car full of heroin in New York, when the US Authorities asked for his extradition, the French Government denied it for this very reason.


Jean Genet stayed out of prison for much the same reason. But that argument has a tradition over here too. Lifelong criminal Jack Henry Abbott got paroled after his essays about prison life impressed Norman Mailer, who then talked the authorities into letting him out to pursue a career as a man of letters. Something else happened instead. Six weeks after release, Abbott stabbed a waiter to death during a stupid argument at a restaurant.

I don't know how much attention this is getting elsewhere, but in L.A. everyone's following the trial of serial killer Rodney Alcala, a wacko who's trying to avoid being executed for killing a bunch of women back in the '70s. Some commentators are saying that a big part of the reason Alcala got away with it for so long is that the culture back then had an incredibly cavalier attitude toward sex crimes. The guy served TWO YEARS in prison for raping an 8 year old girl. He was pronounced rehabilitated; instead, he went out and killed more women than they literally can count. I'm not surprised that Polanski thought he was entitled to a light sentence, but that's not really an excuse for his actions.

If you ask me, which nobody did, no one should be above the law. That so many celebs think otherwise is another depressing reminder of the amoral, bottom-line mentality prevalent in Hollywood: as long as you're considered valuable to the community, no one especially cares if, say, you get caught fucking dead chickens in the middle of Sunset Boulevard. (And if you're not valuable to anyone--you saw The Player, didn't you?) People internalize this philosophy and get it in their heads that they're exempt from the rules and regulations that bind mere mortals.

And The Pianist is overrated.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 14, 2010 9:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Slyder wrote:
So, I don't know exactly what the French 's guidelines are regarding the protection of its citizens, but apparently, there's more to the story than what we can understand.


I was wondering that, myself. But apart from a limited extradition treaty, I'm not sure there's any ready explanation; it's probably done on a case-by-case basis.

There's an exemption in French copyright law, for example, for authors who have "died for France"; instead of their works being covered for seventy years after their death, they get thirty years more. The application of it is pretty straightforward in the cases of official combatants in WWI, WWII, the wars of Indochina and Algeria, or peacekeeping missions (that's killed at the front or as prisoners of war, and victims of accidents or of illnesses contracted during military service), but then you get the addition of civilian victims who died in the wars, which meant Jewish authors who died in the camps (even those who never bore arms for France) could be included, and members of the Resistance who served in a purely intelligence capacity.

What is also interesting is that it doesn't seem to cover someone like Jean Jaurès, the pacifist politician who was assassinated for political reasons in the days before WWI.

Quote:
That, plus the fact that I believe that a female is considered an adult after what? 12-13 years of age, If I remember correctly. And believe it or not, some states in the US have similar laws as well.


But not in California.

Quote:
I'm with you however in the thing about the cultural war. It's just sickening, especially watching assholes posting comments condeming Emmanuelle Sagnier that she's playing victim through this whole ordeal, when she's simply saying that she misses her husband and their KIDS, their KIDS miss their father. Just makes me pissed off seeing the amount of spineless assholes that are on the internet.


I read earlier today about how the National Enquirer might be making the Pulitzer Prize shortlist (!) for its John Edwards affair story. Nothing illegal in it as far as I know (like Letterman's or Woods's extramarital affairs), but now the guy's political career is toast. Presumably, it's all a question of circumstances that made it worse: He had a child with her, while his wife had cancer. Still, I'm wondering where those people who blame Polanski's wife stand on this issue.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 12, 2010 12:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, he's free.
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 13, 2010 1:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Was not able to get into that page, but had access to other sites.

One says that the extradition was denied due to possible political agendas in part of the Los Angeles DA Stephen Cooley.

http://www.merinews.com/article/roman-polaskis-plea-for-extradition-to-us-rejected-latest-detail/15826072.shtml

Another (from LA Times), says that the reason the extradition was denied was because DA Cooley failed to submit all the proper documentation needed for the hearing.

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/movies/2010/07/roman-polaski-wont-be-extradited.html

BBC says that the US simply did not have convincing arguments to warrant an extradition (this is kind of like the Sean Bell case). It also says at the end that the decision is unappealable. Pfft.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment_and_arts/10609084.stm

Great, this case is once again going to drag itself for probably another 20 years or until Mr. Polanski expires or fucks it up and enters a US extradition treaty country by accident. Or Special Forces kidnap him and put him in an oxygen box and smuggle him back to LA (Mexico once did this with a banker that ripped off millions of dollars from a goverment owned bank, they found him in Indonesia and they gassed him to sleep and smuggled him back to Mexico).

Dunno what your source says Alex, you got any more info over there with your french speaking powers? Wink

Also, talking conspiracy theory here, I know the Swiss are famous for their neutrality, but is there a possibility that the Swiss owe a few favors to the French Nation?
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That was the Financial Times, and I didn't have any problem accessing it when I posted the link. Now it's requiring me to register, for some reason.

I haven't looked at the French press yet; I'll post any interesting tidbit, and maybe update the feature I wrote at the time if I really, really feel like it.
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 13, 2010 9:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Best article so far; Apparently the Swiss court wanted access to Polanski's sealed testimony in order to determine if full sentence had been served. LA Courts denied this request, and therefore, the extradition was thrown out.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704288204575362520214857914.html?mod=igoogle_wsj_gadgv1&

Part of me thinks that this time the blame of this recent fumble lies squarely on the American side. You could say that all the facts are already known, but Polanski's original deal apparently laid within those transcripts, and one would like to know what they say. If the Justice Department couldn't submit them, they just pretty much shot themselves in the foot.

It's a serious blunder from the Justice Department now that I think of it thoroughly, and (conspiracy theory) it makes me wonder if in the end, the reason they refused to submit that testimony is because it would reveal some sort or irregularities in their part during the entire process. Hard to say for sure, but it's highly plausible. If that were the case, then the Justice Department, and the LA DA's office would end up with a big egg in their faces and as a consequence, strengthen Polanski's case and possibly vindicate it, in the sense that there WAS foul play regarding the judge's decisions and the like. So it's better to seal the records and still play the "he's guilty and you guys let him free" trump card.

AFAIK, court documents are a matter of public record. You as a resident or citizen have a right to "file a discovery" in which the court will provide you with your file, containing all reports and the like.

I know that juvenile crime records are sealed, and are only released after the suspect has expired, but as far as I know, that only applies to juvenile delinquents and not the victims.
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Slyder
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I saw more movies at Sundance than Ben Lyons did!!!

You can tell me that I've got no class, look around you and see who's laughing last - Rush
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