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Roman Polanski - Justice at what price???

Special Note:  This article was previously published in another online publication.  After a few hours up with lot's of views and some very good comments it was removed from their site because a senior editor thought my opinion was inappropriate for a business audience.  What do you think???

I know this column is supposed to be about stocks, investing or the economy but sometimes something really gets under my skin. Well maybe it is about economics and the way we let money creep into our justice system. There is a big divide in this country between the way the courts treat 'po folks and the way they treat left coast, left wing, Hollywood liberals. The system is supposed to be blind to race, religion, ethnic background and oh yes, money; but is it? Left coast celebrities can get away with murder: OJ & Robert Blake aka. Baretta included.

When I taught law, students often voiced the opinion that the punishment didn't fit the crime. They thought the judges should be more like GOD. The old "What would Jesus do?" school of thought. GOD has different tools available to him. If GOD were the judge, the victim would be whole again as if nothing ever happened and the perpetrator would be punished severally and would never commit that crime again. Our judges only have the tools of time and money. They can take away your freedom for a period of time or they can fine you and take away your money. The victim is still damaged and the 'perp can do it again. Nothing else is at their disposal.

This Polanski thing isn't about fair trials or pedophiles, it's about our system of justice and how we treat bail jumpers and fugitives with money. Now I know sometimes money and justice is an issue. If a guy fails to show up for a speeding ticket in Arizona and 5 years later is caught driving on a suspended license in Massachusetts we don't lock him up and have deputies from Arizona come and extradite him back to stand trial for a $75 traffic ticket.

All across the country we have guys, sometimes very stupid guys, who may have served many years in prison and then one day just weeks before release, jump the chain gang. People on probation, might have been model citizens but missed a few probation meetings or stayed out too late one night and have their probation violated. We use every resource available to make them pay.

People love watching that bounty hunter "Dog" chase bail jumpers down and give them a tongue lashing and a sermon and tell them to step up and be a man.

In this case, Roman Polanski plead guilty, bought off the victim and skipped the country instead of stepping up and being a man.

People are following this closely and there is a great divide in opinions. This should be about equal justice for all. How will we treat criminals who refuse to do their time by running away?

If you're black and poor you will do the time and we will do every thing we can to knock you down and make you tow the line -- no matter what it costs. If you are a left coast, left wing Hollywood liberal with lots of money and lots of talent then you can have Whoopie Goldberg and Debra Winger plead your cause.

This may not be about investing, but it is about how the courts treat the economic classes differently. I still believe in truth, justice and the American way. Why doesn't Hollywood?

Jim Van Meerten is an investor who gives his financial opinions, and sometimes other things on Financial Tides, MSN Top Stock Blog and Seeking Alpha. Please share your opinions below or email to