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Roman Polanski Should Return to Face Prison

February 27, 2003

One cannot help but feel sympathy for Samantha Geimer's request ("Judge the Movie, Not the Man," Commentary, Feb. 23) that she be permitted to move on with her life without being periodically asked about Roman Polanski. However, the justice system exists to punish and deter criminals, even where the victim may not agree with the punishment.

The judge had every right to conclude that the sentence Geimer agreed to was insufficient, and Polanski had no right to flee the country to escape punishment. (Indeed, Polanski commenced a relationship with a teenage Nastassja Kinski soon after arriving in France, indicating that the fear he posed a danger to other children was reasonable.)

And it is entirely proper to continue to demand that he return to serve a prison sentence, to deter other wealthy criminals from going on the lam. The cases of Marc Rich and Andrew Luster have recently demonstrated that this is not a speculative concern.

Dilan Esper

Los Angeles

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Reading Geimer's commentary was better than watching "The Jerry Springer Show." Her grace is impressive. Polanski needs to return to the United States to take his lumps. No doubt he remains afraid, perhaps as much as a child being coerced; but he may well be another sad example of a victim turned victimizer, albeit culturally aided.

I can't believe he would have spent 50 years, or anything like it, in prison. The appeals process would have certainly benefited him and, face it, whatever the rich suffer in the way of prejudice is more than counterbalanced by the privileges their money can buy.

Ronald Webster

Long Beach

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