Monday, September 28, 2009

Famous fugitive finally found!

My apologies for the desperately poor alliteration, it must be the beer. Roman Polanski has been arrested in Switzerland. All we've had thus far is uproar from supporters and well-wishers, including some famous people and some politicians, such as France's Interior Minister Bernard Kouchner.

Have I missed something? He pleaded guilty to underage sex (with a 13-year-old girl), was remanded on bail for a sentencing hearing, and decided he'd rather do an extended Grand Tour of Europe than an extended custodial stretch, if it's all the same to you, Your Honour.

The intervening period, and alleged about face on a plea bargain may well give rise to some good article 6 points, especially in light of American "fugitive provisions" about appeals, but why on earth wasn't he arrested before? His location has never been a secret, so why now? Have the Americans really being trying their utmost to nick him for 30+ years, only to be foiled on every occasion by some dastardly cunning?

Friday, September 18, 2009


"On September 25, 2007, at about 4.45pm, Judge Sharon Keller, presiding judge of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, received a telephone call from a member of the court’s staff.

He told her that lawyers acting for Michael Richard, a prisoner facing execution that evening, were asking if the court could stay open to accept a petition to stay the sentence. Judge Keller replied: “We close at five.” Richard was executed at 8.20pm. The extraordinary judicial misconduct proceedings heard against Keller last month should result in her dismissal from office."

Full story here.

I was truly lost for words when I saw this, hence the rapid succession of posts. For the record, I am very much opposed to the death penalty. This isn't the place to rehash the debate, but I'm sure that even those in favour of the death penalty can see the problem with the system when this sort of person is allowed to participate.

"Judge Keller gave evidence at the disciplinary hearing that she had left work early to meet a repairman at her home. She explained that the request for the court to stay open late did not fall within the rules: “I think it’s a close call, but I think that’s right,” she said of her decision. “I was doing exactly what I was supposed to do.” She confirmed that she would not act differently if faced with the same circumstances again."

This is the worst sort of administrative legalism, and when the State is imposing the ultimate penalty, should be avoided at all costs.

"The Attorney-General and Harriet Harman in illegal immigrant tax break stripper shocker!"

Or so ran the headline in my caffeine-deprived brain this morning.

It has been remarkably quiet of late, and having learnt from an early age that it is better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt, I have held my tongue.

But those two stories were too good to pass up. The AG hiring illegal immigrants to clean her house? Couldn't make it up. Then, I see that Harman has business men in her sights for claiming back taxes on visits to strip clubs.

So, the AG -- negligent employer, or honest mistake? Can we expect to see the Met kicking down her front door?

As for Harman, does she really think that the bankers' worst crime and biggest failing of the last few years is sticking a bill from Stringfellows on their expenses and tax returns?

Or could it just be a dismally ineffective attempt to be seen to be doing something? Perish the thought.

For what it's worth, I have an extremely low opinion of those who feel that their clients' intelligence is such that paying a young girl to undress in front of them will make them forget the merits of the deal, and sign on the dotted line. I just don't get it. Perhaps I should conduct some research into this area. Harman's department must have some cash set aside for this sort of thing...