We have written extensively about the gross miscarriage of justice in the decision of the Los Angeles Superior Court in its insistence that director Roman Polanski be extradited from Europe to face a longer prison sentence than he already served for his 1976 guilt plea in a statutory rape case.
There was no question of Polanski’s guilt. But there is also no question that Polanski served the sentence agreed to by prosecution and defense attorneys in his 1976 plea bargain, a deal approved by the Judge Laurence J. Rittenband.
Nor can there be any doubt that the judge reversed himself after the director served his time at Chino state prison.
Our previous posts and our appearance in the Marina Zenovich’s superb 2008 documentary, Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired, make clear, the judge backed out after all conditions of the deal had been fulfilled, including that time behind bars,
And even though the judge is dead, the court still insists on Polanski’s return, where he would face the prospects. . .of what? A longer prison sentence than he already served?
There’s no question of Polanski’s responsibility for the actions he admitted, nor is there any question that his flight was a reasonable action, considering utterances by the judge to his country club pals.
A corrupt judge tries to save face
The judge was embarrassed by criticism he received after the deal was finished, and he violated the canons of judicial ethics in consulting at least one journalist [your truly], as well as an assortment of powerful folks at the Hillcrest Country Club, his home away from home.
But the judge’s unethical and probably illegal conduct seems not to bother a succession of elected Los Angeles District Attorneys, who figure they can snatch a few votes by exploiting a celebrity.
In their unrighteous zeal, the prosecutors have already forced Switzerland to place Polanski under house arrest for ten months six years ago, ending when the Swiss high court ruled that extradition “would be in breach of the Swiss ideals of truth and credibility.”
And now the Polish high court has made the same finding in yet another extradition request, upholding a lower court finding that because Polanski had already served the agreed sentence, there was a high probability that he wouldn’t be treated fairly if forcibly returned to Los Angeles.
More from BBC News:
Poland’s Supreme Court has rejected a request by the country’s justice minister to have film-maker Roman Polanski extradited to the US.
Oscar winner Polanski is wanted in the US over a decades-old case involving sex with a minor.
A Polish district court rejected a US extradition request last year.
But Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro revived the case in May, appealing to the Supreme Court to overturn the lower court ruling. He said he wanted to “avoid double standards” and that nobody should be above the law.
Polanski grew up in Poland and, although he now has homes in France and Switzerland, he visits his homeland often.
The case has led him to cancel plans to film in Poland.
The Los Angeles Times notes:
The new decision means that Polanski, who resides primarily in France and is a citizen of France and Poland, is free to travel to Poland without fear of being arrested and sent back to the U.S. Though the director was born in Paris, he grew up in Poland, where as a young boy he survived the Holocaust before going on to become an accomplished filmmaker.
Poland’s ruling also means that American officials have virtually exhausted their options in a four-decade attempt to bring the Polanski back to the U.S. In 2010, Switzerland declined the U.S.’s request to extradite Polanski after he was arrested in Zurich the year before on his way to a film festival. The director spent several months in prison and under house arrest.
The L.A. district attorney’s office didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Let us hope that this brings an end to case, an end desired by the woman at the center the case and anyone who values the rule of law over whim.