Polanski and the cultural defense

Pál Nyiri wrote a short post on the Roman Polanski  affair on the Culture Matters’ weblog, examining the use of cultural relativist arguments in court cases:


I was intrigued to find out from today’s New York Times (Michael Cieply, “In Polanski case, a time warp”) that a report by two probation officers who, in 1977, made a recommendation against a longer gaol term (as compared to the 48 days  he got) in Polanski’s case of unlawful sex with a 13-year-old, they made the argument that while foreign filmmakers “enrich[ed] the community with their presence, they have brought with them the manners and mores of their native lands, which in rare instances have been at variance with those of their adoptive land.” Implicitly, they were making a cultural argument in favour of a lenient sentence. Lees verder